Sunday, January 9, 2011

The price we pay (cheaper than the alternative)

"...right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Well we all know the Main Stream Media loves irony, and any hard news editor with ink still left in their veins probably lives by the journalistic credo "if it bleeds, it leads;" thus the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a deranged gunman on Saturday morning (she is shown here only a few days ago reading the First Amendment) is getting a lot of ink, or bandwidth as the case may be.

Unfortunately politicians and pundits like to use compelling stories ripped from the headlines to push their political agenda. So now we're hearing talk about toning down the political rhetoric (directed at those evil conservatives of course) that is poisoning the public debate.

Sounds to me like an assault on the First Amendment.

As the ACLU would say, "The best way to deal with bad speech is with more, good speech--not censorship!" The First Amendment can--like life in the real world--be a tad rough around the edges.

But I find the thought of more government infringement far more nightmarish, as I envision the government's muzzle dangling over me like the Sword of Damocles.

Or perhaps it's a hangman's noose.

Bernie Goldberg agrees

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

And yes, it did not escape me or others in the MSM that one of the innocent victims--nine year old Christina Green (and my daughter Kira is nine)--was born on 9/11/01.

Let's hear it for USA Today, they know how to liveblog a press conference:

Update at 1:17 p.m. ET
: "The ubiquitous nature of the Internet means ... hateful speech more readily available than 10-15 years ago. That absolutely represents a challenge to us," Mueller said. He said the FBI is still doing an analysis of computers seized in the search.

Too bad Mr Mueller did not do his job in the months leading up to 9/11...

(For those of you new to my blog--and Google Analytics tells me that 23% per day are--click the Tag Label below "First Amendment" for previous diatribes.)


Anonymous said...

Leave it to you, Larry, to make this tragic event in Arizona about you.

LarryK4 said...

No, actually it's called my perspective. And that is shaped by my experiences and background.

And the reason people come here--even Cowardly Anon Nitwits like you--is exactly for, MY perspective.

Anonymous said...

I think that the anons get a big thrill out of frosting your Irishness.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, fortunately there's only one or two--but they are DEDICATED.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that this incident presents any danger to the First Amendment, i.e. your ability to shoot your mouth off unimpeded.

But, hey, nice try.

LarryK4 said...

Well certainly not for the likes of you. YOU are are a Cowardly Anon Nitwit safely ensconced under a Romulan Cloaking Device.

Anonymous said...

Is it too much to ask people, in political debate, not to use metaphors of violence that others might see as permission for violence?

LarryK4 said...

Yes, actually it is.

I had some former (now forgotten) heavy hitter Czar in the People's Republic try to have me arrested for using the ultra common metaphor "locked-and-loaded." (In the freakin 'Comments' field no less.)

Ed said...

The best part -- the perp is a pothead who flunked a military enlistment drug test and whose reading material includes the Communist Manifesto and other stuff by Karl Marx.

Yep, he really is on the right wing fringe, isn't he.....

Anonymous said...

It's simply not too much to ask (not demand or legislate) that the gun metaphors be put away, to go on the rhetorical ash heap with the now trite comparisons of just about anything and anyone with Hitler and Naziism.

It's not about curbing free speech; it's about pleading for some proportionality and perspective.

And I remember the Awad flap. A valid point was made, and could have been made without the "locked and loaded" reference, which then led to the nonsense from Anne's buddies about stalking. The gun metaphor added nothing but bravado and subsequent confusion. (OK, one should never ask Larry Kelley to dispense with the bravado, which is, after all, the core of his being, because, after all, unlike the rest of us, he has a core.)

A criticism of the tenor of the debate, much like Mr. Kelley's admonitions about the presentation of Vagina Monologues at ARHS, is not necessarily an attack on free speech.

Thus, an argument for moderation where moderation gets no respect. Never mind.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I think the nonsense about stalking came directly from Ms. Awad and her hubby Robie Hubley and was championed by her buddy--then SB chair, His Lordship, Mr. Weiss.

If you want "moderation" then feel free to start you own blog and enable Comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

No, Larry, there were others, although Anne DID revel in her apparent victimization.

Remember Mr. Ben-Ezra and his impassioned speech to Select Board on this topic?

The stalking crap became the predominant narrative for awhile.

My, how those crazy, stupid days of interminable SB meetings with the Quazy Quintet of Awad, her secret love Hubley, their protege Weiss, mad scientist Kusner, and Non Sequitress Greeney seem so long ago now, and we can thank Princess Stephanie and her step-sister Alisa for that. Seriously. But it was must-see TV much more frequently than it is now.

Give Ms. Gray and her buddies a chance and they can come again.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the return of the Harry Brooks show. Now, HE was entertaining.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it a terrible thing to draw a line in the sand between what is permissible and what isn't. The question is, where does the line get drawn and who draws it? Sometimes it seems that our First Amendment rights, as seen by many, are license to spout off whatever, wherever, whenever, with no thought to or consideration of the consequences. Doesn't this lead to at least the beginnings of anarchy? Do we not have a responsibility to be responsible, or is that too much of a kumbaya way of thinking? Can't we just be a little, just a little more reflective, a little more aware of how our speech and actions affect others, or are we truly living in our own pathetic little worlds in our own personal fish bowls, oblivious to the universal nature of our existence. We can't prevent all the Arizona-type tragedies and it may well be that mental illness played a part in what happened, but because we are so locked in to 'it's all about me,' someone, or someones didn't pick up on the fact, or chose to not acknowledge that this young man was losing his mind and could be dangerous. With all the brouhaha over Sarah Palin's crosshairs, maybe she wasn't directly responsible for what happened but not many people would deny that she and her gun-totin' lock'n'load followers certainly didn't hold back on their violent rhetoric.
Free speech? Yeah, right.

LarryK4 said...

Obviously you do not read sports writers, who also use the term "locked and loaded" as well as "sudden death" overtime or "drew first blood", etc.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't. But reading/listening to a sports writer is not terribly likely to snag a less than mentally healthy individual and spur him/her to violence. At least I don't think so. It may be a different story when two opposing parties are going at each other in the arena of politics. These days, anyway.

LarryK4 said...

These days? Obviously you don't read history either. Our Founding Fathers engaged in some some pretty heated exchanges and some of them were settled via a duel.