Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Sit-down strike" against Bill of Rights in Washington

Note from a comrade today on Facebook:

Cop-loving politicians disrupt the People’s House, demand more denial of due process.

These liberal swine are trampling over all kinds of rights.

They want to take one unconstitutional list – the cops' secret racist ‘No-Fly’ list – and copy it to a ‘No Gun’ list. Both lists are based on the cops’ claimed “suspicion” that someone is a terrorist. But there’s no way to challenge their claim -- and the U.S. Bill of Rights outlaws that.

The Constitution also establishes the right of the people to elect representatives.



Another comment:

Democrats in congress are protesting to replace "Due Process" with "Secret List" in the text of the 5th amendment to the constitution. They are sitting in to demand an unprecedented expansion of the authority of America's secret police, the FBI, to decide who should be granted constitutional rights based on "suspicion of potential terrorist activity". It used to be that such conduct would conjure public fears of an Orwellian nightmare, but a great deal of my friends are cheerleading this sort of political theater as an act of bold heroism.

I'm very troubled by that, and I hope a few of those friends will take the time to read my thoughts on the matter. Because I'd like to earnestly defend the importance of protecting the bill of rights, including the "right of the people to keep and bear arms".

To be clear off the bat, I don't subscribe to any absurd vigilante myths about "good guys with guns". I don't want to live in the wild west, and I think what's promoted by those on my side of this argument is often profoundly irresponsible. I don't believe nor will I make the case that "lone wolves" with guns make anyone safer. Admittedly, public safety is not my chief concern.

I do care about the right and ability of a section of the population to *organize* armed defense of their communities, churches, assemblies etc without depending on a police force and federal government that has an enormous track record of ignoring such obligations. On that subject, I consider this book required reading:

The events of the civil rights movement are not the distant past. Communities under threat of vigilante terrorism have a right and obligation to take up the task of their defense and security. Such actions *prevent* violence, as they did during the "non-violent" movement for civil rights.

Today's victimized and threatened communities, Muslims for example, have a right and duty to organize for the defense of their homes and houses of worship, which will no doubt increasingly face the threat of vigilante terrorism and a failure of local and state law enforcement to adequately protect them. 

I also fundamentally believe that an armed portion of the population is a check and balance on the protection of all other civil liberties. All the comparisons to other "developed" countries are moot as far as I'm concerned, because such countries don't have anywhere near the scope of political space granted to US citizens by the bill of rights (which was won in a revolution). Such protections are unique in the world. I will not trade them in for a vague sense of security from something that was never going to happen to me anyway. 

If I can accept the probability that I may lose my life in a fatal car crash (I've witnessed far too many of such tragedies for comfort) as the price for my freedom of movement, than I can accept the much less statistically significant probability that I will be murdered by a lunatic as the price for the bill of rights.

It does not diminish my pain and outrage at senseless violence to hold that view. For a sense of proportion, 880 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean the same week as the massacre in Orlando. The United States government has accepted only 10,000 refugees of the over 2 million displaced by the war there, which has taken over 200,000 lives. Where is that outrage and sense of human solidarity? Where is the demand to open the doors? I can't help but feel that the difference is just a sense of fear that "maybe I'll be killed in a mass shooting but I'll never be a Syrian refugee". It mitigates my sympathy for the chorus against guns and it makes me doubt that such a fervor is rooted in a genuine outrage at senseless human tragedy. It strikes me that it's rooted in fear, and I will choose to remain an enemy of fear.

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