Time to look at repeal

The United States of America is again reeling from the unimaginable violence of a mass shooting this week after a young man opened fire taking the lives of many innocents.

America again stands to face a so-called freedom guaranteed to it by its founding fathers in the American constitution. President Obama alluded to it in a memorial speech in the small town where the shooting took place just yesterday,

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” — President Obama

Lawmakers were quick to react to the tragedy, with the bitter divisions in American politics all too raw in the wake of tragedy. “It is time to rein in this industry of death and glorification of violence,” said one Congressman in Washington. “While most use them for weekend recreation, the very few that abuse them and succumb to their dark influence destroy communities,” said another.

The deeply partisan divide shows that the view is hardly unanimous. While one Senator is proposing legislation to ban production, distribution and possession, industry lobbyists and their bought-and-paid-for representatives in Washington express a different tone, “These are inanimate plastic and metal objects, produced by hard-working Americans that are my constituents. We must address the root causes. We must address mental health.” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Is America ready to repeal the first Amendment and regulate Hollywood and the video game industry? Free speech absolutists point to their peaceful enjoyment of action-packed Blockbuster movies where protagonists of those films are often portrayed slaying hundreds of people in simulated scenes of violence.

Yet, journalists are broadcasting America’s call for an end to the tragedies through the regulation of this so-called freedom that has already killed too many. “The debate is long overdue. The mass-killing perpetrated by America’s free-speech culture is our hottest story today,” said one network reporter. “Adam or Ryan Whats-His-Name was just another face. The real problem that must be addressed is America’s sick love affair with unsanctioned ideas and unfettered access to violent imagery.”

The founding fathers could not have imagined high-capacity mass-communications networks when they wrote the Constitution. Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer, not a mass merchant of kill porn on iTunes. Indeed, in the age of quills and parchment, Thomas Jefferson could not have imagined tweeting, or using the cable news industry to launch into the superstardum of American’s celebrity culture overnight.

“I’m a free speech moderate,” said one New York Times reporter reflecting upon the recent tragedy, “I’m in the news business because of free-speech. But, I’m also here to make a difference. If, because of this overdue regulation, it becomes more difficult to speculate wildly about the identity of the shooter based on an intern’s cursory scan of social media, so be it.”



  • NiagaraNext

    Is the second part supposed to be satire or what?

  • kenn2

    Violence in media is one of the usual suspects hauled in and put into the line-up after every such tragedy, but most observers seem to agree that in this most recent massacre, media violence probably wasn’t much of a factor here. So I’m pretty sure there will be no resultant First Amendment clampdown, though there might be some self-censoring for a while.

    The top two actual controllable factors were the public access to large-magazine,multi-round assault weapons, and the failure to detect and intervene in mental illness. Public ownership of assault weaponry is indefensible, and Republicans might for once be in the mood to defy the NRA and restore the lapsed ban on large-clip, semi-automatic assault weapons. More important is the need to raise US national awareness of mental illness, and to try to improve the odds that people will get diagnosed and treated before going over the edge.

  • Kathy Shaidle

    Comments like yours make me tremble for the future of the Western world.

  • Kathy Shaidle

    I agree with what you said about mental illness. However, ‘Assault weapons’ are typically just scary looking guns with add ons like pistol grips.

    Also, they are already banned in CT

    Every time a weapons ban is even hinted at, legal gun purchases rise btw.

  • NiagaraNext

    It won’t be the “Western” world anymore if it doesn’t include one of the most important tenets of Western capitalist democracies, free speech. I find it hard to believe that was a serious suggestion. The idea that movies or video games are killing people are beyond the fatuous and puerile and have been refuted frequently since Columbine.

  • Kinetic

    “public ownership of assault weaponry is indefensible”. You are going to have to include shotguns in that as well, since, especially in the case of small enclosed places like schools and theatres, shotguns would probably cause more carnage. Same thing with handguns when loaded with hollow points. So, instead of beating around the bush, why not take the REAL logical plunge and say ALL GUNS. And while you are at it, we will need to take a very hard look at fertilizer, cars and trucks, and airplanes.

    And yes, if England is any guide, we will have fewer guns deaths. And violent crime will skyrocket, just like it has in England. In fact, our culture is quite different than Englands, and I would imagine our violent crime would in fact turn into something much worse, especially once we have to start actually living within our means, and the GimmeDat people take a handout hit. Just imagine what the inner city folks will do when they know evil whitey out in the burbs isn’t armed………..

  • perera6

    There, there, NiagaraNext: please calm down. Stephen Taylor was satirizing the Left’s contention that the Second Amendment is “outdated,” as the Founding Fathers never envisioned modern weapons. The point of his satire is that, since they could not have foreseen the rise of electronic mass media, with the mind-warping impact they can have on the less mentally robust members of the public, either, that line of reason could be used to rescind all of the liberties–from central government control–recognized by the Bill of Rights. Mr. Taylor is not seriously proposing that this be done.

    As an aside, I should point out that several of the Founders, including James Madison, the main intellectual force behind the Constitution, made it quite clear that the individual right to keep and bear arms was necessary as the ultimate check on central-government tyranny. It has nothing to do with hunting or self-defense. The individual weapons kept by the militia, which, in this context–as the _Federalist_ makes explicit–refers to the full body of citizens fit to bear arms, must be weapons apt for military use; at present, that means at least a semi-automatic rifle.

  • NiagaraNext

    Ok, well that’s what I originally thought/asked, just wanted to confirm because it was such a goofy and hamfisted satire. Most often I can agree with Mr. Taylor, but way off here. Also it hardly matters what Madison “thought”, only matters what is written. And what is written is:

    Constitution of the United States of America, Article V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article, and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of it’s equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    So, an amendment removing an amendment is a repeal.

  • David Beach

    “GimmeDat people” 10

  • murrayw

    Switzerland has required ownership of assault rifles (Sig 550) and required ownership of a Sig 220 9mm Handgun. They do not have an army just the compulsary citizen Malitia. They get a triple bonus. 1. They have a very low murder rate (.7 per 100,000 pop.) What criminal will attack someone they know has an assault rifle and handgun. 2.They have never been invaded. 3. They save all the money other countries spend on a military resulting in a lower tax rate.

  • kenn2

    Y’know, if you truly believe that public ownership of assault weaponry is defensible, you could have maybe, defended it, instead of disappearing up your own arsehole. Figuratively speaking, of course.

  • kenn2

    You forgot:

    – compulsory military training in the use and storage of said armaments
    – a culture of responsible citizenship, including a nationalized rail system to die for
    – awesomely cool pocket-knives, also to die for

    So if you’re saying we should be like the Swiss, and that includes responsible citizenship, nationalized rail that actually works, compulsory military training and owning assault rifles… I’m IN. This is what you’re saying, right?

  • oldwhiteguy

    if we cannot defend ourselves are we just supposed to roll over and die???

  • Bob

    I would say that the fixation with the term “assault” is a little deceptive. What do you consider “assault” weaponry. Define it for everyone. It will most likely devolve into a list of weapons that are banned… and the list will grow longer, and longer, until… they add handguns to the list. Which is what the dems and libs are going after.

  • cambo

    Gun control means using two hands.

  • kenn2

    Well, the US government managed to define “assault weapons” in 1994, so it’s not an impossible task. I think the current sentiment is against the large magazine semi-auto firearms that have no other purpose than to wound/kill many people quickly.

    …and the list will grow longer, and longer, until… they add handguns to the list. Which is what the dems and libs are going after.

    That’s not true, it’s just crap the NRA tells you in order to block ANY weapons restriction, no matter how reasonable.

  • kenn2

    In CT, magazine size is not restricted. So, when shooting small children in CT, you don’t have to pause to reload.

    btw, any publication or website with “truth” in the title usually doesn’t contain much of it.

  • kenn2

    The Second Amendment was mainly intended to keep King George at bay. The only “to the letter” application of the Second Amendment’s invective against “central-government tyranny” I can think of was the US Civil War, and we all know what that was really about, and how it turned out.

    Otherwise, not ONCE has an armed citizen militia risen up to oppose the US Federal government. The Second Amendment’s main use is as a fig leaf to protect a booming gun industry.

    Wealth, not arms, is the new hedge against central-government tyranny in the US. If you don’t like the central government’s direction, buy one that you prefer.

  • Right on the left coast

    Do gubmint regulations ever shrink? Think about it.

  • kenn2

    Has the 2nd Amendment EVER been put to the test? Has gun ownership by citizens EVER changed the course of the US Federal government? (I mean other than being unduly influenced by the NRA). Think about that.

  • Brett

    btw, Any comment deriding a publication or website like that shows that you didn’t bother reading it, or have no idea of what you are talking about on that subject.

  • kenn2

    You’re wrong on both, sorry.

  • Dale Westhora

    Is anybody questioning the real reason’s behind this tragedy?? Quit the total focus on weapons and focus on his mental state which his Mother (rest her soul) alluded to. It appears the system of treating mental health problems failed in a very big way here. The same goes for our own Country. Governments simply refuse to take mental health seriously. It is a DISEASE of the mind after all.

  • Brett

    Wow. What a convincing argument. (cue slow clapping)

  • Brett

    You might want to read thin Kenn2

    Based on this the premise of your argument is wrong.

  • Elilla Shadowheart

    AR-15’s are the most common hunting rifle platform in the world. Protip: It’s a semi-automatic.

  • kenn2

    Most countries (excluding the US) impose restrictions on AR-15’s – they are either banned, or in a special restricted category and NOT legal for hunting, or restricted in other ways such as: not convertible to military-style/function, restricted clip size.

    I haven’t yet met a hunter who says they need a 30-round clip in a hunting rifle.

  • Brett

    This is where I have a problem with your so-called knowledge of weapons and that is the terminology that you are using.

    There is no such thing as a 30 round “clip”. However, there is such a thing as a 30 round magazine and in fact they even make them bigger depending upon the weapon. You are making the same mistake as the average journalist makes using terms that may sound good, but undermine any credibility you had on the subject. This article should clear up your confusion.

    For the record, I don’t believe a sport shooter needs more than a 5 round magazine. A collector may have a case for having a 30 round magazine for maintaining authenticity, but a sport shooter can’t make that case.

  • kenn2

    Actually, that’s my point – the 2nd Amendment as originally cast by the US founding fathers was to ensure a “standby” army, ostensibly to guard against tyranny of the central government, but in effect as standby army to keep the British from recolonizing. But THAT part hasn’t been tested.

    The 2nd Amendment has since been recast as simply a blanket right to possess firearms. But it is not absolute. Quoting from a recent SCOTUS decision (DC v. Heller):

    Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not
    a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner
    whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons
    prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues.
    The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding
    prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally
    ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places
    such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions
    and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s
    holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at
    the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the
    carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

    That last bit would seem to argue that a ban on large-clip assault weapons would not run afoul of the 2nd Amendment.

  • kenn2

    Thanks for the correction.

    Then you agree that a ban on large clips magazines wouldn’t be much of a problem?

  • Brett

    It already exists in Canada, as there is a 5 round limit on pretty much every long gun so no I don’t see it as a problem. However, I do have a problem with outright bans on gun because all that does is disarm the law abiding people as seen in the UK.

  • Brett

    Actually, in 2008 the US SC ruled “that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” In 2010, it also ruled that the 2nd Amendment also limits State and local governments to the same extent as the Federal Government.

  • RevnantDream

    It was the main reason used by the Japanese Military not invade to the American mainland. They felt they would face a gun behind every blade of grass. They would have happily to.

  • Elilla Shadowheart

    Apparently reading is hard. “Hunting rifle platform” simple modifications make the gun into an excellent hunting rifle.

  • kenn2

    Apparently, disinformation is rife.

  • Canadian Observer

    I predict that NOTHING will be accomplished on gun control after months of debating, arguing, name-calling and, quite probably, violence.

    Why?……because it is a partisan topic which recent history demonstrates nobody will dare concede anything to the “enemy”. Just look at the economic abyss the Americans have us staring into because the needs of the party usually trumps the needs of the people in politics.

    When was the word “compromise” removed from English dictionaries?

    Political parties and their hardcore sycophants are destroying western democracy.

  • DougM

    As someone who shoots constantly and spent a long time usng military weapons, anyone who hunts with an AR-15 is making a very poor choice. It is simply the civlianized very of the M-16 and the 5.56 mm round (or .223 if you prefer) is very small without much hittting power – the balllistics for the 5.56 and the old 7.62 NATO rds aren’t much different at 200 yards (normal battle range) but the 7.62 has far more hitting power. As well, the Tikka T3 Tactical rifle which was the choice of a good number of police forces for snipers, eventually went up to the .308 round (very close to the 7.62 X 39 Gr old NATO) for just that reason.