Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Virginia Gun-Rights Rally and the Media: When the Exercise of Inalienable Rights Goes Wrong

I need you to do me a favor this morning and answer a couple of questions this morning.  For one, what is this seemingly uniquely American fascination with guns?  And next, why does the media seem lose their mind whenever someone does or says just any old foolishness and blow it all out of proportion?

Nothing gets my hackles up any more than hearing someone say with any degree of emphasis, “I know my rights!”  If I were to gauge the numbers by the frequency of times I’ve heard this statement of late, you would think we were a nation of constitutional lawyers.

However, if you take the time to listen to the groans and supplications of these poor citizens whose rights are in danger of being trod underfoot, you’ll likely find either a person or group of people cloaking themselves in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as cover for some untenable position that either makes no earthly sense or that if they used any modicum of common sense, they wouldn’t be pursuing anyway. 

Witness this short clip from the gun rally held in Virginia on yesterday:


Did that gentleman just say“Oh, hell no!”?  Oh, hell no what?  Because I was thinking, “Oh, hell no!  Is he really wearing suspenders with a belt?”  You can’t do that.  That’s a major fashion faux pas.

But really.  What is all the fuss about?  What government is trying to enslave him and his compatriots there with him?  Isn’t that what he said?  Certainly this can’t be about guns because I have no recall of anyone threatening to take their guns from them or rescind their gun rights in the recent past.  In fact, President Obama just signed into law the order that allowed them to show up in the park with their guns in the first place.

Oh, I see now said the blind man.  This whole thing is only marginally about gun rights, but really, in the main, is simply part and parcel of a continued and deep consternation on the part of some citizens because they still have yet to accept that the country is being led by a black man.

That whole gun rally this was nothing more than a thinly veiled and somewhat inept threat of violence on the part of a group of people frightened to death of change and either unwilling or unable to admit and work their own individual hang-ups and foibles.  And I keep hearing, “We want our country back!”, but who is this “we,” and who has taken the country in the first place?

Furthermore, according to reports, there were only about a couple hundred protesters, at the most, present.  So why the horde of media?  From what I understand, there was perhaps more media people present covering the protest than protesters actually protesting.

Doesn’t the media understand that when they show up in droves to cover such an event, they only encourage other events of the type.  If the media doesn’t show up, it’s a bunch of paranoid nut cases parading around a national park with firearms.  But once the media arrives, it becomes a media event.  That’s almost like creating a story then falling all over yourself to cover it.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I believe that the United States Constitution is an absolutely remarkable document given the depth of thought and foresight displayed by the founding fathers so long again.

However, one thing the founding fathers left out was a sound caveat warning how wrong the rights might go in the hands of irrational fools.  
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