Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keep guns from terror suspects: A petition to sign

In the Issues Committee of our county Democratic Party we're proposing measures to keep assault weapons off our streets. I'm all for it. So I was pleased to see in my email inbox this petition drive on another aspect of the gun craziness that afflicts our country.

Check out the petition at http://www.closetheterrorgap.org/. I'd say it makes sense. The terrible slaughter at Fort Hood, as we're coming to see, was foretold repeatedly. And the suspect was a suspect before he got fully armed. How is this possible?

Further thoughts on this very disturbing event:
  • I don't see the Fort Hood shooter as a deranged madman. He was entirely too rational -- but only in the sense that he was following the rationale of a rigid ideologue whose twisted theology demanded murder to avenge the deaths of his fellow Muslims.
  • We need, in addition to strict gun laws, to ban hate speech. Yes, our beloved First Amendment needs to be brought up to date. Tell me the benefit we derive from letting anti-Semitic Nazis call for a new Holocaust. Tell me the benefit of letting Muslim preachers in our midst call for jihad against the World Trade Center. 
  • I have lived in countries where that kind of speech or publication is strictly illegal. They are democracies with plenty of civil liberties. But they recognize danger to society as a whole in letting citizens call for murder of whole groups. This is true in Israel. It's true in Germany. It's true in other countries. They have judges and courts to make the close calls as to what's over the line.
  • Spare me the inanity of that old chestnut that says: I hate what you're saying but I'll give my life for your right to say it. Not I! Free speech means something else to me. It stops well short of hate speech and incitement to murder.
Think about it. Meanwhile, check out that petition, which is also available at Mayors Against Illegal Guns. I believe I counted 35 Florida mayors as sponsors of that nationwide group including quite a few in Miami-Dade County and several members of our Democratic Executive Committee.

UPDATE: This also is featured above the banner on Daily Kos Wednesday morning. Let's roll with this!

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