I was reading about Neil Helsin, whose son died at Newtown, being heckled by pro-gun supporters during his testimony at a legislative hearing. His son was gunned down while sitting in his elementary school classroom. Here is a man grieving for the loss of his little boy and he’s heckled by assholes who don’t even have the common decency to allow him that moment to express how he felt about his little boy being murdered along with 20 of his classmates. Who the hell are these assholes and what right do they have to add to this man’s misery?
I already know what they are protesting. They fear for their guns. They are afraid that their own little piece of security will be taken away. They scream “LIBERTY!” in their sleep because they are suddenly deathly afraid that Fox News and The Legion of Hate Mongers is right: Obama may actually be the anti-Christ. They shout “The Second Amendment!” from the rooftops and wave their little yellow flags. They vehemently attack anyone they even think is arguing against their right to shoot up some innocent person’s home or shoot their own damned hand off. I’ve heard all the arguments, but that’s not really what this post is about.
I read that story- about that man getting heckled while giving testimony about his dead child – and weep for this country.
There is plenty of talk about individual liberty and I can understand that. To a point. The “individual” becomes less important when the good of the whole is at risk. When someone’s “individual” liberty reaches out into the community and infects it with evil — like a fucking cancer — then the conversation needs to change. There is a huge difference in allowing someone the right to free speech and allowing them a weapon that will kill innocent people when the owner is either a psychopath or too fucking stupid to breathe.
And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy. Wait. Yes, let me get started.
Right now in Texas TransCanada is taking private land so they can build their pipeline. They’re doing this with government help– via eminent domain. The people who lose their land don’t want to give it up for corporate money, but the folks screaming “LIBERTY!” are not rising up against a violation of the Fourth Amendment. They call the people that own that land hippies and America haters. They whine that the corporation who is taking the land has a right to make the money. Individual liberty? Bullshit. Regardless of Citizen’s United, corporations are not people. Why do these people have to give up their land– their “Individual” liberty — for the benefit of the oil company. These defenders of the Second are sitting on their happy asses because they don’t give a flying monkey’s ass about that amendment.
These same people who are fighting so desperately for the Second Amendment were also heckling Occupy protest- specifically Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland. When the Oakland police brought out tear gas, RAID cannons and rubber bullets to shoot into a crowd of protestors, these Defenders of the Second cheered the police on. When it came out that the FBI had categorized the Occupy protestors as terrorists, that was fine with the Defenders. Because, you see, those were evil hippies and they deserved it. The First Amendment? Pshaw! That’s only for idiots heckling grieving parents in an administrative hearing. When local police departments were targeting Americans who were exercising their right to protest, well, fuck them.
Let’s not forget about voter suppression tactics. According to the Twenty-Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, poll taxes are illegal. That means that the government cannot charge money to people who are trying to exercise their right to vote. And yet these yahoos are screaming that voters need to pay for I.D.s in order to vote. They’re perfectly happy yapping that it’s not really that much or that people already have an I.D. or that if folks really want to vote then they’ll shut up and buy an I.D. The problem is that people shouldn’t have to pay to vote– period. Where are the defenders of the Constitution in this fight? Why are they not jumping up and down and demanding that I.D’s be free if they are necessary for voting? Why are they raging that the fraud must be combatted? Why are they not hold rallies to demand their state governments remove restrictions to voting? Because they’re full of shit. There are almost no instances of actual voter fraud1 but they are advocating for restrictions to a constitutionally protected activity.
How about the Sixth Amendment? Do they even know what that is? The right to a fair and speedy trial, for those who don’t know. Where were these people when Guantamo detainees were being held without trial? Those are different, of course, because who cares about those people. Probably terrorists or some shit. Sure they are constitutionally protected, but fuck them. Why weren’t they screaming when Bush signed the Patriot Act or when Obama signed it’s renewal? Where were they when NDAA was signed with language that potentially allows for indefinite detention of American citizens2? Why weren’t they pissing their pants about that?
I’ve had a few conversations with some of these folks. They attack in swarms on Twitter and Google+. One man, who wasn’t busy setting his hair on fire and wishing civil war on this country, actually didn’t know about the NDAA or FISA. He had no idea that local police departments are already arming themselves with military type weapons (think tanks and drones). He didn’t know that the government is permitted to read emails without a warrant and to listen to phone calls without a warrant. He argued that he needs his guns to protect against government tyranny. I asked him why he was fighting against it this whole time, but he really didn’t know. Because the Fear Mongers aren’t telling the whole story. They want to sow very specific hate and fear. The kind that will give them even more power. They don’t want the willfully ignorant to care about the rest of the Constitution. I don’t know if this particular man even bothered to look at the link I gave him about the tank that Tampa police brought out against protesters or if he read up on FISA. He went back to arguing with liberals and progressives on Twitter- happily waging what is probably the only war he will ever really be part of.
But aside from the other Constitutional “liberties” the Defenders of the Second ignore, I want to talk about the human rights they seem to absolutely abhor.
The right to clean drinking water, to clean air and to be able to eat foods that aren’t genetically modified3. Their idea of “individual” liberty doesn’t extend to the drinking water where they are. Are they in towns where the water is protected? I don’t know. I don’t really ask because they are on the side of the CEO who is making money instead of the poor schmuck who just wants to enjoy their land and live peacefully.
I am against fracking and, in general, the gas boom that seems to be running amok in this country. I see what it’s doing to my area- how it’s destroying the beautiful landscape and disrupting the peace of the people who live here. I read the stories of other communities around the country that are split down the middle between the almighty dollar and saving the only planet that we have. I mentioned the XL Pipeline a bit ago and I’ve had a conversation about that with one of these Defenders of the Second. His response was that “As long as it doesn’t hurt me, I don’t care.” Exactly. He doesn’t care. He also said “That’s what those people get for voting for the idiots that approved it.” Really? Couldn’t I say that about him and his precious Second? Well, no, because he would say he didn’t vote for the administration. I say the people that are most deeply hurt by the Pipeline and the fracking didn’t vote for the companies or the bureaucrats who are benefiting financially from these things. But they have to live with it. What about their liberty? If they pay for a plot of land, have a house on it and raise their family there don’t they have a right to enjoy it?
But it’s not about anyone else with these people. They stop caring as soon as the issue stops being about them. They want to be safe from the government, but are blind to what is already going on to destroy both their liberty and their way of life. While they ignore everyone else in their community– which includes this entire country because whether they like it or not we are not 50 individual states held together by glue — they ignore what is already hurting them. It won’t matter how many guns they have when there is no water. Their guns won’t stop drones and tanks. Instead of working with people who actually give a fuck about the whole picture they spend their days fighting with strangers on Twitter and heckling grieving parents.
This is our country. This is what we’ve become. Yay, us.