I wrote two prophetic diaries toward the end of July: Political Rhetoric (4): "Gay-bashing?" "Hate crime?" STOP IT! "TERRORISM," please, prompted by a particularly horrific gay-bashing in Oklahoma (7/25), and Liberty, Civil Rights, and Second Amendment Rights, prompted by the comment threads after Aurora, particularly one that called the idea of any kind of gun limitation "liberty-squashing" (yes, this was from an RKBA member) Now, after the gun violence at a Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and the burning of a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, especially with the identification of both as incidents of domestic terrorism, I think it's time to revisit some of what I wrote and to expand on it, particularly since so few of you wanted to discuss these at the time.
First, about domestic terrorism and hate crimes. I wrote (slightly edited):
Here isBoth Oak Creek and Joplin are being investigated as acts of domestic terrorism. Oak Creek, we all know about by now (the comment threads on the two most most rec'd diaries were depressingly familiar from Aurora), and the three diaries on Joplin (here and hereand here) all observe that this was not the first attempt on the mosque, which definitely raises it to the level of terrorism.
the freakin' FBIthe FBI's page on hate crimes! I only need to quote the first paragraph here:
Investigating hate crime is the number one priority of our Civil Rights Program. Why? Not only because hate crime has a devastating impact on families and communities, but also because groups that preach hatred and intolerance plant the seeds of terrorism here in our country.
All I have to say after that is James Byrd, Jr. His experience got Rick Perry to sign a hate crimes act in 2001.
Thus, let's just start calling
thesehomophobic, racist, xenophobic and anthrophobic acts terrorism, and, while we're at it, acknowledging that rape is about power, add terrorism to the terms we use to describe that too.
The question becomes why so many right now? The murderer in Oak Creek apparently killed 6 Sikhs and committed "suicide by cop" in the process. We know this was the work of a white supremacist. The arsonists in Joplin? Probably not lone wolves, but like the traditional lynch mob, vanished into the night, somebody caught on a surveillance camera, and the investigation is backing off on the arson charge -- investigators aren't "sure" it was arson. We all know that lynching was terrorism directed at black people. Muslims and people with turbans? Fair game? TERRORISM.
Second, about gun rights, which came roaring back into the DKos discourse the minute anyone suggested that, so soon after Aurora, that maybe something should be done about putting some brakes on the proliferation of firearms in this nation. No liberty-squashing comments, but LOTS of attempts to deflect from the fact the murderer used a gun. Here's a typical comment of that nature:
Things I want to hear from President Obama:Attempts to get the commenter to explain what we do in the meantime failed. And diaries like this SHOW that RKBA isn't serious. A LONG list of controls and then the repeal of the Second Amendment is floated.
"My fellow Americans; lately we've seen a tragedy occur in Aurora Colorado and less recently, over in Arizona. While I think we should not push for more ineffective gun control laws, I believe this is a good time to address the root causes of crime. It will be slow. It will be hard. It will not fix everything immediately. We start with jobs (insert jobs plan here). We continue with a push for single payer health care that includes mental health. We legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol or cigarettes. This will have a side benefit of also helping to reduce crime in Mexico, making one of our neighbors happy. We improve our social safety nets. We will hit the root causes of crime and improve life for all Americans."
It's never the gun, is it? That's why Second Amendment rights, which no one wants to admit have been expanded over the past decade, are so sacrosanct. But of course gun owners want to think the FIRST amendment gets more respect than the Second Amendment. Here's what I had to say about that on the 27th:
Most of the documents I found that referred to an erosion of gun rights were from state chapters of the National Rifle Association, and they contrasted the precarious nature of gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment (Mark SumnerI still stand by that statement. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but please argue the facts I've presented. If you're a Kossack, you really shouldn't be quoting an organization like the NRA that was taken over by its right wing during the 1990s as if what said organization says is gospel.
makesthis emphasis VERY clear in his front page diary today) with the absolute sacrosanct nature of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The problem is that, within the First Amendment, several rights were understood to be limited when the amendments were written and others have been limited since then. For clarity, here's the First Amendment:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."No law respecting an establishment of religion" appears to be the most sacrosanct. The Supreme Court has itself violated the free exercise of religion when it told Conservative and Orthodox Jewish chaplains that they could not wear the head covering prescribed by Exodus and Leviticus indoors unless they were performing a religious service (Goldman v Weinberger, 1985). The freedom of speech and that of the press are limited by the laws regarding libel and slander. As for peaceable assembly, that right has been eroded most of all by requiring parade permits and in the constant negotiation over public and private property that we saw the Occupy movement dealing with on a daily basis last fall and winter. So I have to wonder why gun ownership under the Second Amendment can't, or shouldn't, be restricted in similar ways.
Let's also remember that when the Second Amendment was passed, a majority of American citizens couldn't even vote, and millions of Americans were owned by thousands of other Americans. The clearest expression of the individual right to own guns before 2008 is, ironically, contained in Dred Scott v Sandford (1856) as an incidental comment in the decision that said black people could never be citizens. In 2008, Heller v District of Columbia found an individual right (it doesn't matter that Scalia wrote the majority opinion, it's still the law) to keep and bear arms, and in 2010, McDonald v. Chicago extended the right to the states (Alito wrote this one). The decisions didn't discuss whether there were any guns that should be limited the way cop-killer bullets are. But there's one other constitutional provision we have to look at: the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth AmendmentAmendment XIV; Section 1.The theory behind the Equal Protection clause is what got all those subaltern people -- black men (15th Amendment), women of all races (19th Amendment) -- the ability to vote, and it's the section of the Constitution that protects the LGBT community in securing our civil rights.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
But, of course, it's not that easy. When the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that gay people did NOT suffer from a mental illness, the only state that had decriminalized us was Illinois. We were not thoroughly decriminalized until Lawrence v Texas in 2003, and, even now, we don't have the full panoply of civil rights all of you have. I can be fired simply if someone THINKS I'm gay in 29 states. I have to limit my job search to the 11 states in which my marriage will be recognized. I'd be very happy to have the liberties you have. And I know all about what it's like to have rights taken away from me. The Defense of Marriage Act was a preemptive taking away of rights, and Proposition 8 came close to being the same thing in California (it certainly was for the same-sex couples who want to get married but didn't manage to do so in the five-month window). LGBT people in Maine had marriage taken away from them by referendum too. Nobody attacks me for pointing that out, either.
"Liberty-squashing." Because you can't own a particular type of gun. Count your blessings if that's the only area in which you feel your rights are curtailed.
Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 6:33 PM PT: Thanks for a relatively polite discussion. I learned from it, but it mostly confirmed my suspicions about things. I at least got some of my questions answered. No more replies from this end.