"We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens," one petition reads. USA TodayNow, if I read this right, the petitioners are demanding that Morgan be sent back to jolly old England because he disagreed with their interpretation of the Second Amendment. In other words, they want to restrict his First Amendment rights because he dared to criticize the Second. I guess we know which amendment they hold sacrosanct. They say it is he who is undermining the Bill of Rights by hosting a forum to discuss and debate gun violence in America, which includes all sides of that debate. Seems a very Jeffersonian notion to me, but then the petitioners no doubt prefer FOX's "fair and balanced," where opposing views get cut short. "Thank you, Thomas Ricks!"
I've never been much of a Piers Morgan fan or viewer, but I did watch the episode last week when his guest was Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, and a staunch advocate for an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment. That is, anybody should be able to buy any weapon they want—no questions asked, no background checks, no registration. Sorta like what we have here in Arizona, where anyone can walk into the Phoenix Gun Show—felon, mentally unstable, terrorist—and walk out with a pile of assault weapons. It's NRA nirvana—land of the legislature that named an "Official Weapon" within a few months of the Tucson shooting. Real class.
During the interview with Mr. Pratt, Morgan made a few headlines by calling his guest "an unbelievably stupid man." Watching the show, I did not think Pratt stupid; he was skilled at deflecting questions, ignoring facts, and demeaning other points of view (or speaking over them). Like Wayne LaPierre, he kept saying that arming schools is "the only proven solution" for protecting children.
Two things: I don't know where they get this "only" bull. Look at other countries, which have all but eliminated gun violence in schools without turning them into prisons. Guns aren't the only solution (except in NRA speak). Second, most children who are victims of gun violence in America are not killed in schools. As much as Columbine and Sandy Hook grab our hearts and our attention, most kids are killed on the street or at home (statistically, about 20 children have been killed by guns in America just since Newtown). So unless Mr. LaPierre and Mr. Pratt are prepared to arm everyone (well, sadly, they are), barricading elementary students behind a platoon of SWAT-like guards won't come anywhere near stopping the murders of our children.
Piers Morgan is treating the petition with his usual smirky disdain, commenting on Twitter:
"Wanting America to ban assault weapons & high-capacity magazines isn't 'anti-constitutional'—it's called 'common sense."Sheesh, if these groups are upset at Piers Morgan, wait'll they get a peek at what Lawrence O'Donnell has been preaching! I imagine there are petitions circulating to pull MSNBC's license and send Mr. O'Donnell to Rikers Island. Because the Second Amendment always trumps the First. And common sense.