Justice Harry Blackmun gave me one of my most favorite phrases, 10 words that both articulate my opposition to the death penalty as well as remind me that those of us in the legal profession can change lives, even in the smallest of ways, by internalizing the goal of no longer tinkering with the machinery of death. These are powerful, liberating words of a legal scion whose name needs to be better known in America.
But no, this diary is not about the death penalty. At least not the death penalty as applied by the state.
This is about the death penalty inflicted upon innocent victims by evil people. Sometimes, they are deranged and have absolutely no mental contact with Planet Earth, those such as Jared Loughner. Sometimes, they are driven by a raw hatred not commonly seen since the World Wars, such as Anders Breivik. Sometimes, they are driven by the righteous knowledge that their political views are the One True Path, the John Wilkes Booths of the world. Sometimes, it's religious hatred and zeal, the Al Qaedas and Aum Shinryokos and Phalanges.
But here, in America, this levers of the machinery of death are often operated by those who commit gun violence. Are there other ways to commit mass violence? Sure. But the fact that we cannot prevent every single act of mass violence does not mean that we shouldn't try to stop those that we can.
It is time to repeal or severely curtail the Second Amendment. I recognize that, as of today, I am in a small group within the Democratic Party. But, every popular movement has to start somewhere. Mine starts today.
I accept the Democratic big tent. I accept that, for the foreseeable future, we will need to run pro-Second Amendment candidates in many Western district. I am not going to fall on my sword as a single issue voter, casting pointless votes for far-left candidate solely because the Democratic candidate doesn't share my opinion on this issue. But it's time to begin moving that so-called "Overton Window."
I'm very tired but I'll do the best that I can to tend to this diary as long as I can.