Yesterday we wrote about the "The New Turks" video (Have we reached the Tipping Point?), and today we read about yet another "Right Wing Nut" who brings a firearm to an Obama appearance.
Here is the link to the original news story (via Bloomberg):
The staff at Opposing Views wrote an article presenting both the legal facts (state law allowing "Open Carry") and anti-gun opinion. From Opposing Views:
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Armed protesters asserting their right to bear arms, including a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder, gathered yesterday near [emphasis added] a Phoenix convention hall where President Barack Obama spoke, a police spokesman said.
The protesters were taking advantage of an Arizona law that allows people to carry unconcealed guns, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Andy Hill said. Police made no arrests.
“Plainclothes police officers continually monitored the situation and no threats, either physical or verbal, were made,” Hill said in an e-mail.
The incident marked the third occasion in a week when guns have been linked to an Obama event. On Aug. 11, police arrested a man for having a loaded, unlicensed gun in his car near a New Hampshire school where Obama later held a health-care forum, USA Today reported. In a separate incident, another man outside that event displayed a gun in a holster on his leg, the paper said.
New Hampshire law allows people to carry unconcealed guns and the protester wasn’t arrested, said U.S. Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley.
The armed protesters weren’t a “cause for concern,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters today.
“There are laws that govern firearms that are done state or locally,” he said. “Those laws don’t change when the president comes to your state or locality.”
Is it the start of a disturbing trend that could end in disaster, or just people exercising their constitutional rights? People are beginning to bring guns to President Obama's events."Because He Could."
The latest incident was Monday in Phoenix, where a dozen people, including a man with a military-style assault rifle, openly showed their guns at a protest outside a convention center where Obama was giving a speech.
Arizona is a so called "open carry" state, where anyone who can legally own a gun can carry it around, as long as it is out in the open. A person would need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
There were no incidents at Monday's event, and no one was arrested. The man with the rifle told The Arizona Republic [link added] that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said.
Those three words should be cast in bronze and displayed in every governmental building and edifice across the country.
But wait! What about the "Opposing Opinion"?
But others say this is a disaster waiting to happen. "To me, this is craziness," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you're just making the situation dangerous for everyone. The more guns we see at more events like this, there's more potential for something tragic happening."
The "Opposing Views" article did a great job of presenting both sides of the controversy, in the "Fair and Balanced" sense which Fox TV supposedly strives to achieve, but rarely manages.
The really interesting part of the article, though, was found in the COMMENTS section of the article.
Pay attention now, because this is the real point of this article.
The free exchange of ideas and opinions in the COMMENTS section was a profound demonstration of the Principles of Freedom, as embodied in the U.S. Constitution, which makes this country great.
The dialogue there consisted of three parts:
- The 2nd Amendment is a right, and what can be wrong in exercising our rights?
- There is no excuse for carrying a firearm at a public political event, especially a Presidential Event, and only Right Wing Nuts and hot-doggers would do that.
- You're an Idiot!
But while the discussion occasionally dipped below the limits of polite dialogue, the people expressing their views did tend to stick to the subject and only rarely used (3) to support their viewpoint, the important thing is that there were hundreds (?) of people who got together to state their opinions. During this discussion, nobody was physically harmed, or even personally threatened. Even though group (2) obviously suspected that group (1) contained a fair number of intransigent neanderthals, nobody seemed frightened (or threatened) by the obvious fact that they were arguing vociferously with people who carried guns!
There must be a moral to this tale, although I'm not sure what it is.
Unless ... could it be? ... no matter how people may disagree on these important Societal and Cultural issues, in this country no man need live in fear because he has had the temerity to argue his case in a public forum.
There it is: Hope You Can Believe In.
I love this job.