What if we applied the claims to other Bill of Rights guarantees?
A student here at the Univ. of Arizona has some interesting thoughts, reproduced in extended remarks.
[Hat tip to Joe Olson]
Daniel Greenberg is a junior at the University of Arizona. A Bexley, Ohio native majoring in political science, Daniel wonders what would happen if the very same shrill words and claims about the Second Amendment from both Handgun Control Inc./Brady Campaign, and anti-gun politicians and news organizations, were applied to another amendment in the Bill of Rights -- the First Amendment. Here is Daniel's humorous look at how such a Brady Campaign press release would sound:
NEWS RELEASE: Announcing The Brady Campaign to Prevent Communicational Violence.
Did you know that extreme organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Associated Press constantly abuse their privileges? For decades, their corrupt lobbying has attacked common-sense legislation they don't like, such as the banning of modern high-capacity pens that hold far more ink than quill pens did in the 1700s. Yet, the danger runs even deeper.
The Internet Threat --
The Internet clearly provides criminals with the means of exchanging information that endangers the safety and privacy of the average citizen, and crimes of libel often go unpunished in this "communications Wild West." Many also believe that the obscenities available for viewing online are so repugnantly immoral that the Internet not only destroys decency but threatens the mental and sexual health of all exposed to it. Furthermore, the internet serves as a breeding ground for thieves who can easily use it to steal money, credit card numbers, private information and even the identities of innocents.
Internet crime also increases exponentially; each year the increase rises a few percentage points. 2005 saw an 18.6 percent increase in internet crime just from 2004, thanks in part to radical media efforts to defend the "press" loophole. Experts have gauged America's social costs from the internet to be $440 to $520 billion. Aside from mental and emotional damage rampant among Internet users, financial costs accumulate rapidly due to a variety of fraudulent offenses, including auction frauds, re-shipping schemes, counterfeit check schemes, hacking and computer intrusion attempts, and child pornography web sites.
A Web of Lies --
The Framers of the United States Constitution had no idea that advances in technology would produce the assault press (a common term for the automated printing press, which is capable of printing thousands of papers an hour), let alone personal computers, PDAs or the Internet; therefore the outdated First Amendment clearly does not apply in this case. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled many times that the privilege of "speech" is not an absolute right, and most of the modern, illegal forms of communications are not speech at all and would make the Constitution a self-contradicting anachronism.
Some critics of sensible speech control measures claim that the First Amendment protects the broad right of anyone to communicate anything. Such a misleading theory is divorced from legal and historical reality and is only part of the ACLU "mythology." In truth, "freedom of speech" is not an individual right at all but a collective right held by government press officials. The First Amendment also only limits certain federal actions. The Courts and state and local governments certainly are not barred from passing reasonable speech regulations for public safety and the common good.
Our Liberty of Safety --
Leading Americans and concerned organizations weigh in.
Former President William Clinton -- "When we got organized as a country we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans. There's too much personal freedom. When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) -- "Banning the Internet addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe. The White House Press Secretary fulfills the press role mentioned in the First Amendment. Citizens no longer need to protect the states or themselves with speech."
Rep. William Clay (D-MO) -- "We need much stricter controls on public speech, and eventually should bar the ownership of ink."
Los Angeles Times -- "Why should America adopt a policy of near-zero tolerance for private computer ownership? Because it's the only alternative to the present insanity. Without both strict limits on access to new computers and aggressive efforts to reduce the supply of existing computers, no one can be safe."
Sarah Brady, Brady Campaign Chairperson -- "To me, the only reason for internet connections in civilian hands is for online gaming purposes. I don't believe public speech users have rights. The First Amendment has never been interpreted that way. I don't think its a constitutional right that they have, and every court case that's ever come down has shown that."
The Bottom Line --
The Brady Campaign Against Communicational Violence, and a new initiative -- the Brady Campaign Against Illegal Speech -- seeks to stop criminals, gangs and demagogues dead in their tracks by defending Americans from evil propaganda. In addition to seeking a ban on dangerous high-capacity pens and registration of PDAs, among our first initiatives will be the regulation of unnecessary keyboards capable of being altered into the extremely dangerous full-QWERTY configuration.
Please join us and donate today. Do it for the children.