Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just words

I've been linked by a couple of Leftie sites (including ThinkProgress) about the TJIC situation.  Unsurprisingly, they all support his guns being taken.  The common thread there is that he "threatened to assassinate Congress" or words to that effect.

He didn't, and while IANL, I believe that I can show this pretty clearly.  I'll keep it simple, so I don't lose the Lefties, who need to do some work on their Intellectual abilities.

The "he threatened to shoot Congress" argument

No he didn't.  Here's what he wrote:
1 down and 534 to go
Not "I'll finish what that crazy dude started", not "I'm a better shot than he is an I'll prove it".  He also wrote:
It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”.

Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.
For those of you who slept through English class in high school, this is written in the second person imperative - he's not talking about himself, he's telling his readers what to do.  So the Arlington PD should confiscate his readers' guns, not his.

In short, actual analysis of his statement (as any court would do) says that he did not threaten to shoot congress.

Well, he's inciting other people to do it.  You just said this yourself.

No he's not, at least not legally.  Hess v. Indiana tells us what actual incitement to violence is:
The Indiana Supreme Court placed primary reliance on the trial court's finding that Hess' statement "was intended to incite further lawless action on the part of the crowd in the vicinity of appellant and was likely to produce such action." At best, however, the statement could be taken as counsel for present moderation; at worst, it amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time. This is not sufficient to permit the State to punish Hess' speech. Under our decisions, "the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969). 
The Supreme Court established this as settled law in 1973.  Your opinion, while interesting, seems (legally) irrelevant.

Furthermore, this is in a long line of such statements.  Will Rogers said that there should be one day that was Open Season on Senators.  Others have said something similar, or worse.  Should they have their property seized.  If not, why?

There's a lot more on this from Eugene Volokh, and it's very settled law.  And Aretae, as is his wont, brings the smart about a post TJIC put up explaining his position (before the police stopped by):
Borepatch rounds up the I am TJIC support team. Of course, if anyone were even marginally thoughtful, rather than being powerhungry bastards...their reading TJIC's discussion of why it's not time to start shooting:
So, the proposed question was “answer the damn question, TJIC: do you endorse a revolution right here and now in 2011?”, and my answer is “no, I do not endorse shooting at politicians in 2011″.
Pretty clear position, pretty obvious on the blog. Not dangerous at all. Of course, his blog is down now, so I can't link it.

Well, we have to do something, we can't just let this sort of thing go on after the Tucson murders.

No we don't, and yes we can.  Just because an atrocity was committed doesn't mean that the Constitution is suspended.

I've said before (regarding the "we have to do something" part) that if TJIC is a threat to the members of Congress, he should be in jail.  He's not, so the Arlington Police Department doesn't think that he's a threat to the members of Congress.  Duh.

So what is happening?  Well, JayG has an information-rich post about the situation with firearms licensing in Massachusetts, but this is the relevant part:
I don't know what Mr. Ellis knows of MA gun laws; the "suitability" clause is vague, applied capriciously and arbitrarily, and is absolutely unconstitutional - if you are denied a Class A or B LTC, you cannot own a handgun or a "large capacity" longarm in MA. IOW, you are denied the very tools given to our military, in clear contravention to the 2nd Amendment. There are court cases currently being argued against this policy - Alan Gura and the SAF are spearheading efforts in conjunction with Comm2A, a local advocacy group, because of the inequality in how these are handled as well as the capricious nature. Let's not lose sight of the fact that TJIC was not charged with a crime, something that gets lost in the shuffle. His actions did not warrant criminal charges, yet he faces the prospect of permanent revocation of his Second Amendment rights.

On its face, this action should scare the hell out of any freedom loving American. We have a citizen who has committed no crime, yet is being punished by the government by revoking an enumerated right. That's the core of what's going on here, and it's why I support TJIC.
They're just words.  We think people should be able to speak their minds (even when you disagree with them).  We look at Campus Speech codes (all pushed by the Left) where people get sanctioned by the authorities for saying things that are unpopular or offensive.  We don't get the feeling that the Left stands up for free expression any more - at least free expression by people on the other side.

And now we get to the heart of what I believe the argument is: Large portions of the Left think that all firearms owners are potentially unstable, and will seize on any excuse to take those firearms away.

That's why statements like "Of course we won't take your guns" have no traction with gun owners.  Here we have an example of what the Left advocates (licensing at the discretion of the government), and we see the government take the guns.  No charges filed, just give up your guns.  Over some words.

That's why we stand with TJIC.


TCA said...

Quote of the Day: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

Josh Kruschke said...

Well put this has been my point all a long.


Anonymous said...

That's why statements like "Of course we won't take your guns" have no traction with gun owners

Yes, that and the fact that numerous politicians, activists and pundits have gone on record as saying that every new law is but a step to a total ban.

Divemedic said...

Well, if a person can have his second Amendment right to arms suspended for speech like that, then everyone who was in this movie should have their constitutional rights removed:

Midwest Chick said...

Well said!!

doubletrouble said...

Yep, the BP brings the whoop-ass in this one.
Good job!

Shy Wolf said...

One problem with all these anti-Second Amendment people is they'll bitch and whine and piss and moan about our having guns should not be allowed, yet not one of them will allow their First Amendment rights to be negated, just those of people who own firearms.
And none of them will defend our rights, but expect us to defend theirs.
So screw them and the broom they rode in on.

bs footprint said...

Bravo, Borepatch. Well reasoned and said.