These and other similar examples are accurately summarized with the same language federal law employs to describe domestic terrorism. Generating maximum media attention, the weapons-brandishing displays are "intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population." Yes, the gun has been transformed from a sport and self-defense device into a tool of mass bullying. Like the noose in the Jim Crow South, its symbolic message is clear: If you dare engage in the democratic process, you risk bodily harm."Like the noose in the Jim Crow South..." Liberals do love their racism references, don't they? I grew up in the Jim Crow South, and let me say that Mr. Sirota doesn't have a freakin' clue. The real truth is that in their 40-year effort to demonize guns, the antigun liberals succeeded beyond their wildest expectations in one area...themselves. They drank their own Kool-Aid. I give you Matt Lauer on the Today Show, physically recoiling from the mere mention of a granny's gat; or Mr. Sirota, stunned into speechlessness at the mere sight of a firearm.
While the First Amendment doesn't ensure credibility or significance, it is supposed to guarantee freedom from fear — a freedom that is now under siege. Citing the Second Amendment and the increasingly maniacal rhetoric of conservative media firebrands, a small handful of violence-threatening protesters aims to make the rest of us — whether pro- or anti-health-reform — afraid to speak out.
Last time I read through it, I could find no reference in the Constitution to "freedom from fear." There's a reason for that omission, I suspect. "Fear" is not a physical thing like, say, "pizza." Rather, fear is an individual's response to an outside, or occasionally an internal, stimulus. The fear response is different for every person and indeed varies wildly for even the same stimulus. Let's roll out another barrel of racism references and see how it plays...many urban citizens, even liberals, respond with fear when they are walking down a long empty block between the walls of buildings and see a large group of young black men standing on the street corner dead ahead, laughing and horsing around. Never mind that it's an a'capella singing group getting ready for a competition...there's still that tensing of the gut, that first bead of perspiration rolling down the back, eyes cast at the ground...I am no threat...please please leave me alone!
So, does freedom from fear mean we should ban all gatherings of young black men?
Ludicrous (speaking of young black men), isn't it?
Your fear has nothing whatsoever to do with my rights, with me at all, in fact. Irrational fear can turn one's life into a living hell. Check out the TV series Monk, who's in desperate fear of germs, asymmetrical orderings of objects and milk. Even if large numbers of people fear milk, the issue is not with the milk.
Mr. Sirota, you need to deal with your fears, and the best way to deal with their is through education. We fear what we don't know or understand. The same applies to the phrase "threatened," as in, I feel threatened with I see a person with a gun. Again, the issue is your response, not my gun.
And lay off the Jim Crow references, since you clearly don't know what you're talking about.