I got the top spot in the list of responses
to this article thanks to my email to the author, which was
substantially similar to this blog post.
You'd think they could
have linked to my blog, since I provided a link with more information
on every single example I cited. I note that they didn't bother
to respond to my questions, either, and couldn't resist inserting an
editorial comment about the latest politically-incorrect firearm.
Here's the relevant portion:
I recently suggested that the National Rifle Association might
consider supporting free speech in exchange for anti-gun people like me
laying off their hallowed right to bear arms.
On that subject Matthew Hunter wrote: "The NRA has led the fight
against the unconstitutional Campaign Finance Reform Act, including
court challenges. Now it's your turn. Where were you when the assault
weapons ban passed and during the fight to block its renewal? Did you
oppose the .50-caliber rifle ban in California? (Note: He's talking
about a sniper cannon here). Have you written in opposition to the
proposed handgun ban in San Francisco? What about supporting the right
of firearms manufacturers to sell a legal product according to the law?
Why haven't you written an expose about the absurd process of buying a
hunting rifle in Washington, D.C.?
"Still, you've got the right idea. The left
and the right should stand united on the issue of constitutional
freedoms. The right has known this for years. If you're serious,
welcome to the fight."
So, can you see the NRA becoming a white knight for freedom of speech? Let me hear from you.
The problem, as far as I can tell, is that he wasn't
serious. He wanted to make some cheap points to readers who may
not realize that gun rights organizations generally support all our
Constitutional freedoms (while primarily focused on firearms issues, of
course). He didn't want to actually support gun rights, but if he
could dredge up some support for his own favored freedom, no
problem. Sorry; alliances go both ways.
I will eagerly await corrections on this assertion... so long as they
are accompanied by links to editorials opposing gun control by the same
Of course, some encouraging emails to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining how the gun-rights organizations have already stood up for the First Amendment might help with that too.
And as for that cheap shot about the "sniper cannon"... Mr. Bogert, the .50 rifle was originally designed for civilians, by a civilian. Ronnie Barrett wanted a highly-accurate long-range rifle for long-distance civilian
shooting competitions. Like many other firearms designed by
civilians, the military adopted it after seeing how well it
worked. More importantly, though, it is military weapons that the
2nd Amendment was intended to protect -- the muskets and Kentucky Long Rifles
that defeated the British were the latest in military technology at the
time, and in fact the rifles which many settlers owned
outperformed the standard British muskets handily.
Those Kentucky Long Rifles were the "sniper cannons" of their day, and
they bear a surprising resemblence to the modern .50 caliber rifles...
starting with their caliber (.40 to .50), and their length (42" or
longer). They were actually a smaller caliber and lighter weight
than their predecessor, the Kentucky Rifle.
Furthermore, it's no more a "cannon" than any other powerful hunting rifle. Rifles used during the Civil War fired larger bullets.
There are handguns today that fire .50 bullets (not the same
ammunition, at least not in widespread use, but the same size
bullet). The popular 1911 semiautomatic handgun fires a .45
caliber bullet, just a short way off from the .50. Hunters going
after big game use calibers like .454 or .475. There's nothing magical about the .50; it's a large, heavy bullet that
is presently near the top end of the performance envelope; that's
all. In fact, you can still get rifles that fire even larger bullets.
If you want to make allies, Mr. Bogert, start by being polite to them,
listening to their concerns with respect rather than mockery, and then
taking action to cement the alliance. So far, you've done none of
those things. Instead, you've engaged in political blackmail; you expect the NRA to actively support your cause in exchange for your agreement not to oppose
theirs. Unfortunately, that's not a fair exchange. Gun
owners will support your free speech rights, whether or not we have any
kind of truce or deal with you, but you won't support our rights --
you'll just "stop opposing" them.
And for that matter, how serious are you about free speech? What is
your position on the Campaign Finance Reform Act? As a member of
the Exempt Media, Mr. Bogert, do you feel that your special status
grants you more rights than ordinary citizens like me? Have you
written editorials opposing regulations on political speech on the
Internet, as well as on the hallowed pages of your publication?
Since he likely won't answer me this time either, I'll look up his last few columns.
Gee, what a surprise. Nothing written about campaign finance
reform. He writes 5 days a week, and nothing in the past 15
articles (at the time of this writing) deals with free speech at all, except for his solitary article begging the NRA for help he isn't willing to reciprocate.
Instead we have such gems as journalism contests, a retrospective on
the polio vaccine from 50 years ago, no less than two articles about
baseball, and something about building a fence. I don't think
we'd notice the help if he offered it.
This entry was published Sat Sep 24 10:43:35 CDT 2005 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2005-09-24 10:43:35.0.