Law > Politics and Prejudices
|Politics and Prejudices ARCHIVES|
|More Law Stories|
Pot, pols and polls (10/6/2010)
War (on drugs) is over (9/29/2010)
News Hits gets punked (9/29/2010)
|More from Jack Lessenberry|
Shaming our state (10/6/2010)
Making real change (9/29/2010)
Bought and paid for (9/22/2010)
"... It is important to recognize that ... the right to keep and bear arms is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for any purpose." —Guess who
OK, now — which American-hating creep would write something as anti-Second Amendment as those words above?
Vladimir Lenin? Some whiny liberal like Debbie Stabenow? Or the worst traitor of them all, that Muslim B. Hussein Obama, the Kenyan radical who is occupying George Washington's sacred throne?
None of the above. Those words were in fact written by Samuel Alito, one of the most right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, one of George W. Bush's perpetual gifts to our nation. Alito was, in fact, the author of the majority opinion in the high court's ruling in McDonald vs. City of Chicago, a landmark decision handed down two months ago. By a narrow 5-4 ruling, the justices struck down a law banning handgun ownership in Chicago.
With this ruling the court seems to be saying that virtually all of us have a constitutional right to keep and own pistols for self-defense. Personally, I think that's terrible. (However, the court appears to have left intact bans on possession by criminals and the mentally ill. And even the court's conservative majority is indicating that there are places where even those allowed to have handguns should not be allowed to take them.)
My own view is closer to that of dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote — correctly, according to my reading of history — that "the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.'
Well, of course they didn't. They wrote what they did in a world where the nation had no permanent army. What they meant, in 1791, was that everybody had the right to hang a blunderbuss over the fireplace so the men could all grab them if the British or the Injuns showed up and had to be driven off.
Here, by the way, is what the holy words say:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Yet that has been perverted by the gun nuts to mean that everyone has the right to own any death machine and take it anywhere, no matter how powerful or inappropriate it is.
That's the position of a band of creeps called Michigan Open Carry, who went to the city of Royal Oak and demanded to be allowed to walk around carrying guns at the Arts, Beats and Eats festival, which is moving from bankrupt Pontiac to Royal Oak this year.
Guns have no place at festivals like this, which attract swarms of families with young children, and a few people drinking beer and hanging out. But state law says that those who can carry a gun can take their strap-on surrogates almost anywhere; Royal Oak commissioners feared a lawsuit, so they voted, 4-3, to lift the requirement that nobody carry guns at the festival.
At least one of them, to his credit, has a social conscience. Jim Rasor, who voted no, said, "I would rather have a gun advocate sue us than, God forbid, face a family whose child is hurt or killed at this event," which could easily happen if some trigger-happy Barney Fife drops his piece on the ground.
The commissioners did issue a bleat to Lansing imploring them to change the law. This was evidently noticed only by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who experienced a brief spasm of panic lest she be expected to do something. "I could initiate, but I'd get no support in the Legislature," she immediately said, before scurrying off.
L. Brooks Patterson, who is supposed to be less liberal, showed far more courage and made far more sense. Brooks, the Oakland County executive, was openly mad at the "gun-toting zealots."
Patterson knows that the controversy will cause people to boycott the festival, which was hoped to be a badly needed economic boost for both local merchants and the charities Arts, Beats and Eats supports. "If they want to carry guns, why don't they join the Army and get their asses over to Afghanistan?" he said.
Once again, there are lots of indications that even the conservatives on the Supreme Court (except for Clarence Thomas) wouldn't sanction guns at AB&E. To quote Sammy Alito: "We made it clear that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as ... laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places, such as schools and government buildings."
Michigan law currently says that any person over 18 who doesn't have a criminal record can carry a holstered hand cannon in public, "except at a bank, church, court, theater, sports arena," etc.
Had I been on the Royal Oak commission, I would have immediately moved to define the entire festival as an "outdoor theater." Oh, wait. That would have taken some courage, given all the characters from Michigan Open Carry lurking around.
The Rev. Harry Cook, a retired Episcopal priest who is more or less the closest thing Royal Oak has to a philosopher-statesman, has proclaimed his intention to wear a banana to AB&E, and then swagger up to any pistol-packing character and say "mine's bigger than yours."
I hope this doesn't get him martyred.
But I know that if he did that to our lame-duck governor, or any of his city's civic leaders, instant enuresis would result.
Yeah, you read that right. Now go look it up.
The mosque at Ground Zero, Part II: Last week I mentioned the so-called "Mosque at Ground Zero," which President Obama callously has refused to oppose, on the ground that there is indeed such a thing as constitutional rights.
Opportunistic politicians of nearly all stripes have been having a field day with this, of course, and the number of Americans who think BHO really is a Muslim has soared, to nearly one in five.
I said what I thought about this last week. But I forgot to mention two minor things. Specifically, it isn't a mosque, and it isn't at Ground Zero. Actually, as Nicholas Kristof has pointed out in The New York Times, "the building would be something like a YMCA, and two blocks away and apparently out of view from" the site where the towers stood before the Sept. 11 attacks.
What may be even closer to Ground Zero, however, is the Pussycat Lounge, where lap dances are offered. Now that's a real American way to show the scumbags how hard we really are!
Or, to quote Our Goddess of Ignorance yet again: You betcha.
Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Contact him at email@example.com.