Saturday, May 20, 2006

Welcome, NRA!!

In a most eloquent column, Pat McIlheran says a great deal about the NRA's foundational philosophy and the wackos who can't stand to utter the letters "N R A".

Among the raspberries being blown at what amounts to a bunch of ordinary people who like hunting is the one from Josh Horwitz, head of something called the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. It used to be have a more direct name, The National Coalition to Ban Handguns, so you have a decent idea of where they fall on respecting the Second Amendment.

His argument is that by suggesting that people use guns to, say, shoot back at criminals sticking up their shops or invading their homes, the NRA favors the abrogation of the right to a fair trial.

[You can't make this up...]

Horwitz says it goes further, that the NRA is destructive to democracy by its insistence that, in the end, the point of the Second Amendment is that an armed citizenry is a check on tyranny.
“Government is the source of some of our very important rights,” he says. “I thought government was the embodiment of the people.”

Sorry, no. Governments are useful things, ...[b]ut they are merely instruments to secure rights that come from elsewhere — as the Founders put it, “their Creator”[.]

Horwitz’s contention that any notion of self-defense against civil tyranny is to be found in democratic institutions alone seems a little pale.

His bigger point, that in democracy we presume that the will of the people is paramount and that, therefore, the losers have no business regarding any of democracy’s results as tyrannical seems disconnected from our history as a nation founded on rebellion and constituted with the assumption there are many things the will of the people can’t do. Like ban free speech, even if they vote to do so.

“Your remedy is in the political system,” he says, but in the NRA’s most apocalyptic moments, it is merely saying the Second Amendment amounts to a silent reminder that even the political system has to remain within bounds.

An eloquent and civil response to someone who deserves far less, eh?

Thanks, Pat.

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