ACLU's Gag Reflex When It Comes To Criticism

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Reader John Gilmore sends word of the ACLU's latest cause: stifling internal dissent.

From a NY Times account:

"Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement," the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals.

"Directors should remember that there is always a material prospect that public airing of the disagreement will affect the A.C.L.U. adversely in terms of public support and fund-raising," the proposals state.

Given the organization's longtime commitment to defending free speech, some former board members were shocked by the proposals.

Nat Hentoff, a writer and former A.C.L.U. board member, was incredulous. "You sure that didn't come out of Dick Cheney's office?" he asked.

"For the national board to consider promulgating a gag order on its members–I can't think of anything more contrary to the reason the A.C.L.U. exists," Mr. Hentoff added.

Unexpurgated bit here.

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  1. And so…

    JMJ

  2. This shocks who, exactly?

    The ACLU has done this with regard to the 2nd Amendment for years. ACLU members/lawyers who don’t toe the line wrt the ACLU’s belief that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms have been told to pipe down for quite some time.

  3. Mr. Hentoff clearly didn’t belong on the board if this is indicative his understanding of what the concept “free speech” is meant to represent. It sounds like a sound internal policy to me, and I’d be surprised if the Times didn’t have a similar policy.

  4. Exactly, MP. The point here is to have a united front on behalf of the issues at hand, free from the internal machinations of the sausage factory that is law.

    Idiots, however, wil find a way to spin this against the ACLU, because slovenly morons like to scarpegoat the ACLU (and teachers unions, and defense attorneys, etc) because it does the dirty work of supporting the constitution no matter what.

    JMJ

  5. I think this is analogous to not airing out a family’s dirty laundry in public.

    I don’t see the problem with asking for internal disagreements to not be made public — that hardly qualifies as a “gag reflex when it comes to criticism”. They aren’t stifling criticism, just asking the internal disputes stay internal. And it makes sense. There is a whole slew of people who hate the ACLU and would use comments from individual board members as ammunition against the organization or a position the organization is taking.

    I doubt anyone would be outraged of Pfizer asked the same of its board of directors, so why is it problematic for the ACLU?

  6. I couldn’t tell if I was reading the description of an ACLU board meeting or the plot of a teen-oriented drama.

  7. Idiots, however, wil find a way to spin this against the ACLU, because slovenly morons like to scarpegoat the ACLU (and teachers unions, and defense attorneys, etc) because it does the dirty work of supporting the constitution no matter what.

    The notion that the ACLU defends the consitution no mater what is absurd. They’d drop dead before they defended economic liberties, and they happily attack such liberties. There is a reason they have a C in their acronym.

  8. I doubt anyone would be outraged of Pfizer asked the same of its board of directors, so why is it problematic for the ACLU?

    Because the ACLU claims to be “our nation’s guardian of liberty” as it sets down the gag order.

    I think it’s the irony factor.

  9. Utterly shameful — and counterproductive, to boot.

  10. And don’t overlook this little gem from that article:
    “Take hate speech,” he [ACLU head Romero] said. “While believing in free speech, we do not believe in or condone speech that attacks minorities.”

    Not condoning hate speech — fine. Not “believing in” it? Sounds like yet more of the ACLU’s latter-day belief that group rights (like some alleged “right” not to be offended) trump actual, real rights (like the right to free speech).

  11. sally,

    There is no irony when one recalls that “liberty of contract” means that the contracted entities (i.e. board members) are subject to the T&C of the contract.

    JMJ,

    The ACLU is riddled with hypocracies and still sux. This issue, however, is not one of those hypocracies.

  12. dammit…sigh…

  13. “Idiots, however, wil find a way to spin this against the ACLU, because slovenly morons like to scarpegoat the ACLU (and teachers unions, and defense attorneys, etc) because it does the dirty work of supporting the constitution no matter what.”

    Yeeeeeah booooy. Like how they stand up for the 2nd Amendment.

    Geeze, Jersey, could you at least once try to be something other than a straw man with a pulse?

  14. I’ve been an off-again on-again member of the ACLU for some years now. This issue is symptomatic of the larger problem at the organization. Many of the board members have a broader view of civil liberties than the ACLU currently exhibits–more centrist-libertarian than left-libertarian, if those words have any meaning. A lot of the membership thinks like the board, too, but a good chunk of the big funding sources are very much on the left of the political spectrum. As a result of the money coming from where it does, the ACLU employees and officers often dip quite deeply into partisan politics, which hinders both the effectiveness of any campaign and the general mission of the ACLU.

    I still vaguely support the organization as one of the really tireless defenders of liberty. They may lean towards some partisanship, they leave a lot of critical issues on the table, and they’ve sold out on some very important matters (e.g., hate speech legislation, allowing harassment laws to trump free speech). . .BUT they still are one of a handful of effective defenders of civil liberties out there. Reno v. ACLU (striking down the Communications Decency Act) was a case that might’ve gone differently without the ACLU’s involvement.

    I’d like to see some changes there before I start sending any money again, but I might give in if the current trend towards expanding government power at the expense of freedom continues. The ACLU could probably triple its funding if it would act a little more balanced–defending free speech a little more absolutely, fighting for free exercise of religion with the same zeal it fights improper establishment of religion, doing more on 4th and 5th Amendment issues (in the latter case, including fighting eminent domain abuse), and maybe occasionally seeing the free market as a positive 🙂

  15. Oh, yeah, the Second Amendment, too. Could greatly increase their support while consistently defending Constitutionally protected rights if they threw that in to their charter 🙂

  16. PL, if the ACLU threw themselves behind the 2nd Amendment, I would immediately purchase a membership.

  17. “I doubt anyone would be outraged of Pfizer asked the same of its board of directors, so why is it problematic for the ACLU?”

    Most advocates of free speech believe that open discussion is generally a good thing in a variety of contexts, for the same reason it is a good thing for society as a whole. Private organizations get to chose how they handle internal dissent but that doesn’t make those policies immune to criticism, particularly by those who have a stake in the organization’s success. If you’re concerned about civil liberties and think this is a bad policy that will ultimately hinder the ACLU’s mission, then you’re right to complain.

    So, given that the ACLU’s board’s members can be prominently involved in the discourse over civil liberties issues and telling them to keep quiet when they disagree with the board’s majority is deleterious to the actual advocacy of civil liberties in general and the policy, which is obsenstibly aimed at preserving good PR, is resulting in plenty of negative PR, I’m going to criticize it.

  18. MattXIV,

    Don’t conflate “open discourse” with “free speech”. The concept of “free speech” is specific to an open political discourse, i.e. the absence of governmental speech regulations.

  19. Oh, yeah, the Second Amendment, too.

    Agreed.

    However, there’s even a half-measure they could take that would increase their popularity with gun-owners without fully supporting the right to keep and bear arms. Eight states and several large cities/counties (I.e. Maryland, Hawaii, NYC, Los Angeles County) have “discretionary” gun licensing schemes that produce outrageously discriminatory results which on any other subject would give the ACLU hissyfits.

    Simply opposing those discriminatory policies would work wonders for their image.

  20. An advocacy organization probably should respect a more open forum than, say, a for-profit corporation. For obvious reasons–how else can members change the organization, otherwise? I know few people who don’t think the ACLU is broken in some way or other.

  21. Memo from George W. Bush:

    The point here is to have a united front on behalf of the issues at hand, free from the internal machinations of the sausage factory that is law.

    Mmmhmm.

    The simple fact of the matter is the ACLU has never really believed in a general palette of civil rights- but a more nuanced approach– rights which the organization feels protect a certain few with a given agenda. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have an organization fighting for civil rights, even if they cherry pick one or two and somewhat unevenly defend them than none at all. With enough of these organizations, they may actually fully cover all ten amendments of the Bill of Rights.

    Between the ACLU, the Institute of Justice, and the Center for Good Things that People Want, I think we’re doin’ ok.

  22. “They may lean towards some partisanship, they leave a lot of critical issues on the table, and they’ve sold out on some very important matters (e.g., hate speech legislation, allowing harassment laws to trump free speech). . .BUT they still are one of a handful of effective defenders of civil liberties out there. Reno v. ACLU (striking down the Communications Decency Act) was a case that might’ve gone differently without the ACLU’s involvement.”

    So, they thnk its okay for the government to take away your guns and silence anyone who says something it deems racist or “harassment” but they are effective defenders of liberty? Liberate forgive me if I don’t see it that way.

    It is a free country and they can make whatever rules they want. But, it sure seems to me that if I had an organization that was truely committed to free speech and liberty that I would want it to be a racous one in which everyone was welcome and not everyone agreed or got along all the time. Isn’t airing dirty laudry what free expression is all about?

  23. Pro L:
    I’ve been an off-again on-again member of the ACLU for some years now. This issue is symptomatic of the larger problem at the organization.

    I was just getting to this. The ACLU has been notorious for having on-again off-again members due to this very issue. When the ACLU stumbles and swerves into occasionally protecting the larger concept of free speech (Illinois Nazi’s) instead of the typically nuanced version to which they usually adhere, they lose and gain members as those winds change.

  24. PL, if the ACLU threw themselves behind the 2nd Amendment, I would immediately purchase a membership.

    This is a concept I don’t quite get.

    It’s one thing to say that you don’t support/believe in what the ACLU is doing, but I find it a bit unfair to attack them because their priorities don’t align with your priorities. People seem to denigrate the ACLU because “they dont defend the 2nd amendment the same way as other amendments. (not that you are specifically doing that mediageek, I just used your quote as a reference — but others have expressed the opinion that the ACLU sux because they don’t support the 2nd Amendment enough) It seems a little wrong headed to me.

    Many people seem to think that protecting the rights of free speech are more important than defending the right to own assualt weapons, for example, and last I checked, the NRA seems to be defending the 2nd amendment just fine. There is no void there.

    Yet the ACLU deserves criticism because they aren’t defending the 2nd amendment??

    Who else is defending much of the civil liberties that the ACLU is defending? If the ACLU were to stop tomorrow, who would fill that void? Show me these other perfect organizations that line up with their supporters beliefs 100% and are never hyppocritical or prioritize how they will use their finite resources.

    Instead of focusing on how they don’t do right by your pet cause, or prioritize things the way you do, why no look at the good things they do and support those things, instead of looking to knock them down because they aren’t what you think is perfection

  25. John, I didn’t say what they were doing was all okay. I stopped sending money because of some of the nonsense going on with the organization. Still, they have done some things right, and, without them, some liberties might not be as safe as they are today.

    Their “effectiveness” is limited to where they choose to fight, of course. Even if the ACLU was run by the Founding Fathers, they would have to pick and choose their battles to some degree, due to the reality of limited resources. I happen to think that that issue doesn’t explain away all of their cherry picking, but it is part of the problem. IJ fits my politics more than the ACLU does, but it has a fairly limited agenda (nothing wrong with that, of course) and begs the question of who will fight (on speech issues in particular) if the ACLU doesn’t.

  26. An advocacy organization probably should respect a more open forum than, say, a for-profit corporation. For obvious reasons–how else can members change the organization, otherwise? I know few people who don’t think the ACLU is broken in some way or other.

    But that doesn’t seem to be what the article is saying. It isn’t that the ACLU isn’t offering an open forum to present opinions and try and change the organization — instead it doesn’t seem to want the members on the losing side of the open forum to go to the press or the public about how wrong they think the organization is. They can have all the disagreements they want in meetings, forums, whatever, but the organization will be more effective if they present a united public face and not give ammunition to the numerous enemies of the organization.

    It seems quite sensible to me, and I don’t see what is so controvetial about not wanting internal politics spilling out into the public eye.

  27. I’m not trying to conflate them – the point I’m trying to make is that many of the arguments against government interference with speech rest on arguments about the virtues of open discourse.

    For example, open discourse promotes accountability. This doesn’t just apply with the government and free speech. Imagine a company where employees are punished for criticizing their bosses’ decisions vs one where they aren’t; there is no free speech issue, but the more extensive discussion at the second company will bring bad decisions to light faster. The companies are and should remain free to adopt the policy of their chosing but that doesn’t make it a good policy, and if I were a shareholder, I may become justifiably angry. Likewise, someone who contributes to the ACLU may be justifiably angry over the policy, especially since its decision makers should be familiar with the advantages of open discourse.

  28. This non-issue is a red herring on steroids.

    Private organization. Private members. Private policies.

    B.F.D.

  29. Tom, if the ACLU were neutral on the issue of the 2nd Amendment, that would be fine by me. But they aren’t.

    Per the ACLU’s FAQ:

    “We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government. In today’s world, that idea is somewhat anachronistic and in any case would require weapons much more powerful than handguns or hunting rifles. The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of gun ownership, such as licensing and registration.”

    I’m sorry, but nowhere in the NRA’s FAQ’s or bylaws am I aware of them calling for clamping down on, say, the rights of bloggers, or supporting McKang-Feingold.

    The ACLU’s position is completely and utterly anathema to the individual’s right to arms, as well as the 2nd Amendment.

    Surely you can see the difference between an organization that cherry-picks it’s civil rights interests (NRA) vs. one that picks a few and shows disdain for others.

  30. Pro,

    See mediageek’s point. If the ACLU cherrypicked causes and were neutral on everything else, I would agree with you. But, they don’t. They affirmative work for to support things like gun control and speech codes.

  31. ChicagoTom, the ACLU will whither and die if it keeps going the direction it’s going in. A good number of members are unhappy with the way things are going, and there are board members that want to reach out to them. In addition, there are a LOT of ex-members and potential members who want a way to justify to themselves funding the ACLU. If the organization openly demonstrates a willingness to consider ideas other than those it “officially” professes, that leaves the door open. If only the “official” view can be voiced, then I predict the increasing marginalization of the ACLU.

    Besides, I really do think that the marketplace of ideas is a worthwhile idea, especially in an advocacy organization.

  32. People who defend the ACLU, despite its hypocrisy, on the grounds that it is a private organization, are missing the point.

    The reason the ACLU is hypocritical is because it insists that other private organizations permit internal opposition to organizational policies, on pain of being sued by the ACLU, even though the First Amendment does not restrict private organizations. (The ACLU uses state constitutional and statutory provisions to achieve this result, as an end run around the federal Constitution’s First Amendment case law).

    Yet the ACLU refuses to apply this rule to itself, insisting that it and it alone of all private organizations has the right to restrict members’ speech, even though the dissenting board members it seeks to silence are those who are most faithful to the ACLU’s stated mission of defending free speech.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution only restrict the conduct of state actors. Private associations are thus free to condition membership on not publicly criticizing the association?s positions or leaders, and to require that members share a common religion or other characteristic (unless the characteristic is prohibited by an antidiscrimination statute that does not intrude too deeply on the association?s First Amendment freedom of association). This is called the ?state action? doctrine. It greatly limits federal courts? control over private institutions, promoting freedom of association and a free market economy.

    The ACLU, however, opposes the state action doctrine. It believes that private institutions, such as shopping centers and private colleges, should be subject to restrictions under the First Amendment, and that even the smallest businesses or associations should be subject to the Equal Protection Clause. For example, it argued in a Connecticut case that the Klan should be able to demonstrate in a private shopping center, overriding the property and free association rights of its owners, and recently persuaded the New Jersey courts to use the New Jersey State Constitution to force private housing developments and shopping centers to host political advocacy groups. Similarly, the ACLU argued that the boy scouts should not be able to dictate membership criteria, a position the U.S. Supreme Court rejected in 2000 on First Amendment freedom of association grounds in the Dale case. And it unsuccessfully urged the Oregon Supreme Court to hold that the owner of a small business violates the Constitution?s Establishment Clause, not just state law, by engaging in workplace religious proselytizing, in the 1995 Meltebeke case.

    However, there is one special private organization that the ACLU believes should be exempt from judicial oversight so that it can restrict its members? speech: the ACLU itself.

    The ACLU?s leader, Anthony Romero, has apparently created files on dissident members of the ACLU?s national board, who have criticized the ACLU for failing to oppose restrictions on politically incorrect speech, like anti-abortion ads. And he is pushing to forbid board members from criticizing the ACLU?s board or its staff, arguing that such criticism makes ?fund-raising? harder for the ACLU. This is a very ironic position for an organization that claims to be a champion of free speech to take.

    It is especially ironic given that the ACLU has repudiated far more limited speech restrictions it endorsed in the past. The ACLU continually depicts as a shameful cave-in to McCarthyism the ACLU?s own Post-World War II policy of excluding supporters of totalitarian movements from its board. That prohibition had the effect of excluding several communist ACLU board members who had backed Stalin?s dictatorship and previously supported the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact. Apparently, the ACLU believes in free speech for totalitarians, but not for First Amendment advocates.

    Romero justifies the proposed speech restriction by pointing to a supposed need to balance ?conflicting? rights. “Take hate speech,” he said. “While believing in free speech, we do not believe in or condone speech that attacks minorities.”

    This is a frequent ACLU tactic, to argue that free speech is overridden by a competing ?right? when the speech becomes inconvenient. The ACLU?s ?balancing? is applied in an inconsistent and unprincipled manner, based on how much it sympathizes with the target of the speech.

    For example, the ACLU successfully argued that Nazis advocating genocide should be allowed to march through the town of Skokie, home to many Holocaust survivors, saying that the Nazis? free speech rights outweighed the interests of the Holocaust survivors. And it later sued a private restaurant for refusing to serve neo-Nazis because they insisted on wearing swastikas while dining, trampling on the restaurant owners? freedom of conscience and their private property rights.

    But in another case, Aguilar v. Avis Rent-A-Car System, it filed an amicus brief supporting a state court?s gag order banning an employee from uttering even a single racial slur, based on racial harassment that was found to have occurred years earlier, even if no other employee ever heard the slur. The ACLU argued that such slurs could be banned because they were just ?verbal acts? of ?discrimination? against Hispanics, rather than ?pure speech.? The state court accepted the ?discrimination? rationale for restricting speech, even though federal courts have consistently held that a single slur does not constitute discriminatory harassment, either by itself or in conjunction with harassment that occurred long ago, and is irrelevant if other employees are not aware of it (and even though the employee accused of harassment was himself married to a Hispanic and the soccer coach of the very employees who accused him of harassment).

    ?Balancing rights? enables the ACLU to skirt principle to sacrifice fundamental civil liberties to reach whatever pre-ordained politically correct result it wants.

  33. mediageek,

    I see the difference, but I don’t see “The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of gun ownership, such as licensing and registration” as equivalent to clamping down on gun ownership, nor does it inherently seem as “disdain” for that right.

    In fact, I think that is a very reasonable interpretation of the 2nd amendment. Others may have a different interpretation, but believing that there should be limitations on the types of guns people can own does not seem to be denigrating the general belief in the right to bear arms. (Unless you believe that the only non-denigrating position is any and all guns for everyone no matter what)

    But even despite their stated beliefs / positions, they aren’t actively lobbying for gun restrictions, nor are standing with the state in support of them. They have a reading of the 2nd amendment and a position. This may not line up with yours and others, but that shouldn’t be used as a reason to attack the organization and to ignore all the good things it does.

    Choosing not to get in a battle is not the same as fighting with the other side. They have finite resources and have their priorities. As any organization they have to pick and choose their battles. They have other flaws too, but then again, the battles they do engage in are ones that, many times, no one else is willing to engage in.

    I’m not saying everyone should support the ACLU, nor are they a perfect organization. I just think we should give credit where credit is due, and attack what they do, not what they don’t do.

  34. Yeah, what Hans Bader said.

  35. “”The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of gun ownership, such as licensing and registration” as equivalent to clamping down on gun ownership, nor does it inherently seem as “disdain” for that right.”

    Hmmm. Let’s try a little experiment with find and replace:

    “We believe that the constitutional right to free speech is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to disseminate news and edicts to assure a populace that is well-informed on state issues. In today’s world, that idea is somewhat anachronistic and in any case would require tools much more powerful than movable type printing presses or word processors. The ACLU therefore believes that the First Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to express their opinions or beliefs nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of free expression, such as licensing and registration.”

  36. Pro L,

    I hear what you are saying, and I don’t necessarily disagree. I just think that an organization, such as the ACLU, which draws quite a bit of fire from opponents shouldn’t be faulted for trying to protect itself. Esp. when the ammo might be coming from its own directors.

    Besides, I really do think that the marketplace of ideas is a worthwhile idea, especially in an advocacy organization.

    I agree with this completely.

    I think the key is to find a balance between having open discussions between directors, members and potential supporters versus directors who don’t like an outcome going to public forums (newspapers, talk shows) and attacking the organization because their view didn’t prevail.

  37. The ACLU therefore believes that the First Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to express their opinions or beliefs nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of free expression, such as licensing and registration.”

    Can I get a Whoop-Whoop!

  38. mediageek,

    I believe the fact that the text of the 2nd amendment starts with “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”
    makes a world of difference in the parallels you are trying to draw.

    I don’t believe that the rationale for their position ont he 2nd could apply to the first because of the wording of the amendments.

    But despite that, “that the First Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to express their opinions or beliefs nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of free expression”
    is also not unreasonable, if you replaced “such as licensing and registration.” with “such as yelling fire in a crowded theater”.

  39. “such as yelling fire in a crowded theater”.

    Or saying your political opponent is a wanker, and advertising that fact less than sixty days before an election.

  40. Tom. What part of”the rights of the people” do you not understand? Do you think the 4th amendment means that collectively troops can’t be quartered in peoples homes unless its just one or two and the gov. really needs too?

  41. Chicago Tom…

    Be careful.
    Mediageek is armed (it’s hidden under his shirt, but he’s got it with him…).

    Yesterday he accused me of being an irrational criminal because I disagreed with his assessment of the utility of concealed weapons (apparently hiding the weapons from the criminal makes them too scared to act).

    Can’t imagine what he would do with you questioning his interpretation of the 2nd more broadly…. SCARY…

  42. MainStreamMan, I ? your bigoted stereotyping of me.

  43. OH NOOOOEEEESSSS! HE MIGHT SHOOT YOU THROUGH THE INTRENETS!

  44. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.

  45. Tom,

    If the first amendment were prefaced with “Freedom of intellectual inquiry being vital to the maintentance of a free State,”, would the first amendment protections be modified? The clause you’re refering to is explains a motivation, not the specific nature of the restriction. The motivation may be anachronistic, but it still says what it says.

  46. “I believe the fact that the text of the 2nd amendment starts with “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”
    makes a world of difference in the parallels you are trying to draw.”

    Sure. The 2nd Amendment is a collective right. But only if you ignore the definition of what the “militia” was at the time of drafting the Bill of Rights.

    Oh, also there’s the bit where the Supreme Court has pointed out that the 2nd Amendment is an individual rather than collective* right. Off the top of my head, Dred Scott, US vs. Emerson. Then there’s also the bit where the Supreme Court said that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t belong to the government in US vs. Miller.

    To say nothing of the myriad state constitutions that include an explicitly individual right to keep and bear arms.

    So, you know, whatever. I guess you’re right. The 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms is the only “collective” right in the Bill of Rights despite the fact that neither the writings of the Founders, nor the Supreme Court have found this to be the case.

    *as if there could be any such thing as a collective right.

  47. “But despite that, “that the First Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to express their opinions or beliefs nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of free expression”
    is also not unreasonable, if you replaced “such as licensing and registration.” with “such as yelling fire in a crowded theater”.”

    1) It’s falsly yelling fire in a crowded theater.

    2) This test of free speech was later repealed.
    Also, I will note, that it applies to a situation where speech leads to imminent bodily harm. Regardless, the point is that speech that is meant to deliberately endanger others is not protected.

    As a thought exercise, I’m hard pressed to figure out how, say, even a belt-fed .50 machinegun deliberately endangers anyone without a malicious operator.

  48. On the ACLU, my reasons for joining are eminently pragmatic: I oppose the expansion of the federal government’s police powers in the wake of 9/11, and the ACLU, for all its faults, has been a strong and powerful advocate for reining in those exceeses.

    I disagree with them on many things, but they tend to be very active in the areas where I agree with them, while they are less active in the areas where I disagree.

    On the 2nd amendment: I am willing to believe, at least for the sake of argument, that if you read it with a dictionary from the 1790’s then it would be perfectly obvious that it protects gun ownership as an individual right.

    But the fact remains that for people who use modern American English it is difficult to interpret. The whole “well-regulated militia” thing certainly suggests one take, but the part about “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” suggests another take. I felt that way back when I was a big fan of gun control, and I feel that way now that I’m a big fan of gun rights.

    If it were up to me, the 2nd amendment would be replaced with a new amendment that would spell it out in modern English, one way or the other. It would say something like:

    “The right of self-defense being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear firearms, knives, and other personal weapons, including (but not limited to) all weapons available to law enforcement agencies, shall not be infringed.”

  49. As far as the ACLU’s internal politics, I don’t really follow that sort of thing. I send them checks and sign petitions to show my support for their efforts, but I know little about them as an organization.

    So, I would say that as a matter of principle they are of course free to set whatever policies they like, yadda yadda blah blah. As a member, and hence one who is freely associating with them and has a stake in their policies and actually helps fund them (and hence having full legitimacy to criticize, as far as libertarians are concerned) I would say that I think it would be smarter to tolerate more dissent. The whole goal should be to show that free and open debate can work, that society benefits from a free and open environment for debate.

  50. “I believe the fact that the text of the 2nd amendment starts with “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”
    makes a world of difference in the parallels you are trying to draw.”

    Except that after the part about the “well-regulated militia” it says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Not “the right of the militia.

  51. “Idiots, however, wil find a way to spin this against the ACLU, because slovenly morons like to scarpegoat the ACLU (and teachers unions, and defense attorneys, etc) because it does the dirty work of supporting the constitution no matter what.”

    Ehh? In what way do teachers unions do the dirty work of supporting the Constitution? Unionism — at least as it exists under the National Labor Relations Act — is about as antithetical to freedom and rights as anything I can imagine.

  52. Perhaps the schism between the ACLU and the NRA can best be understood by positing that the typical member of the ACLU has the combination of brains and testicular fortitude it takes to walk around unarmed, while the typical member of the NRA does not.

  53. As a thought exercise, I’m hard pressed to figure out how, say, even a belt-fed .50 machinegun deliberately endangers anyone without a malicious operator.

    It might go off if you bump it.

  54. “As a thought exercise, I’m hard pressed to figure out how, say, even a belt-fed .50 machinegun deliberately endangers anyone without a malicious operator.”

    It might have a dangerously incompetent or careless operator, but the gun cannot deliberately endanger because it doesn’t have mental states…. However, certainly malicious/incompetent use of arms is no more protected than “speech that is meant to deliberately endanger others.” IMHO the main cause of conflict in the wording of the 2nd involves the interpretation of “infringed.” At what point does regulating become infringing?

    “MainStreamMan, I ? your bigoted stereotyping of me.”

    Yeah, I thought you would. So now I am a bigoted criminal who hates rational discourse … Mediageek is such a good judge of character. Sorry, but I must continue to mock you for a while longer. You are just so reactively dour.

    “Except that after the part about the “well-regulated militia” it says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Not “the right of the militia.”

    Militia =
    1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
    2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
    3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

    i.e., Militia= the people. Another source of ambiguity. Nice try though. I believe that having people with stakes on both sides of the issue actively thinking about what is meant by the 2nd is the only way towards the appropriate balance. We can only pretend to know what the founders meant by the law. On the other hand, we can decide their intentions don’t matter so much, and determine what it means for us today.

    On balance, I think the ACLU is a positive and important agent in our society.

  55. “*as if there could be any such thing as a collective right.”

    Many would claim there is… for example, from Wiki…
    “The term collective rights refers to the rights of peoples to be protected from attacks on their group identity and group interests. The most important such collective right is often said to be the right of self-determination.

    In 1948 United Nations General Assembly ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, which is a declaration endorsed by modern nation-states. With the exception of the ‘right to self-determination’, all rights specified were based on the individual…etc.”

    These things are not settled, they are developing.
    If rights truly are natural, the surely evolve like other things in nature.

  56. Better discussions,if you are interested in thinking more about this…
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5357/ihr6a.html

    Here
    http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/Diana/fulltext/mcdo.htm

  57. MP,

    The concept of “free speech” is specific to an open political discourse…

    Wow. So what is your view of say speech which isn’t primarily or necessarily political? Say scientific speech or literature?

    thoreau,

    If it were up to me, the 2nd amendment would be replaced with a new amendment that would spell it out in modern English, one way or the other.

    The language is already quite clear as is the sources that it derives from (e.g., Blackstone’s Commentaries, etc.).

  58. The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of gun ownership, such as licensing and registration.

    Who exactly is claiming that the right is “unlimited?” Not second amendment scholars who take the individual right position. Hell, if such a claim is really a part of the ACLU’s stated position then they are clearly outside the loop of scholarship and historical understanding of this issue. I mean way, way outside the loop.

    Further, let us note that agreeing that “reasonable regulation” (the classic example being the regulation of concealed weapons) does not preclude the existance of an individual arms right.

  59. Legal clinic for T.

    “The right of self-defense being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear firearms, knives, and other personal weapons, including (but not limited to) all weapons available to law enforcement agencies, shall not be infringed.”

    Nice first draft, but if you are going for clarity, then you really should answer how big of a firearm I get to build in a Constitutionally protected manner. Can I have a firearm the size of the one that might have brought down Flt 800? Are bombs personal weapons? Landmines? Your amendment leaves this fundamental issue up to the Courts (not Brian). I don’t mind leaving things up to the Courts so much, but I thought your point was that you don’t want to do that.

    Unintended Consequences alert: the parity with law enforcement agencies is a good idea, but I think the executive response will be to repeal posse commitatus and do law enforcement using the military (which is presumably not limited by your draft amendment). Maybe Congress would stop that from happening by keeping posse comitatus in force, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe the courts woud interpret “law enforcement agencies” to include military acting in the guise of law enforcement, but I just don’t trust Roberts & Alioto to be that sensible. Neither should u!

    Dave W. Comment on the ACLU discipline

    I think it is wonderful that the policy is transparent and public knowledge. What burns my toast is when an organization feels that it needs to keep rulez like this secret from the prying eyes of te public. As usual the ACLU is doing the right thing, even when it flies in the face of received wisdom.

  60. Legal clinic for T.

    “The right of self-defense being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear firearms, knives, and other personal weapons, including (but not limited to) all weapons available to law enforcement agencies, shall not be infringed.”

    Nice first draft, but if you are going for clarity, then you really should answer how big of a firearm I get to build in a Constitutionally protected manner. Can I have a firearm the size of the one that might have brought down Flt 800? Are bombs personal weapons? Landmines? Your amendment leaves this fundamental issue up to the Courts (not Brian). I don’t mind leaving things up to the Courts so much, but I thought your point was that you don’t want to do that.

    Unintended Consequences alert: the parity with law enforcement agencies is a good idea, but I think the executive response will be to repeal posse commitatus and do law enforcement using the military (which is presumably not limited by your draft amendment). Maybe Congress would stop that from happening by keeping posse comitatus in force, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe the courts woud interpret “law enforcement agencies” to include military acting in the guise of law enforcement, but I just don’t trust Roberts & Alioto to be that sensible. Neither should u!

    Dave W. Comment on the ACLU discipline

    I think it is wonderful that the policy is transparent and public knowledge. What burns my toast is when an organization feels that it needs to keep rulez like this secret from the prying eyes of te public. As usual the ACLU is doing the right thing, even when it flies in the face of received wisdom.

  61. Legal clinic for T.

    “The right of self-defense being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear firearms, knives, and other personal weapons, including (but not limited to) all weapons available to law enforcement agencies, shall not be infringed.”

    Nice first draft, but if you are going for clarity, then you really should answer how big of a firearm I get to build in a Constitutionally protected manner. Can I have a firearm the size of the one that might have brought down Flt 800? Are bombs personal weapons? Landmines? Your amendment leaves this fundamental issue up to the Courts (not Brian). I don’t mind leaving things up to the Courts so much, but I thought your point was that you don’t want to do that.

    Unintended Consequences alert: the parity with law enforcement agencies is a good idea, but I think the executive response will be to repeal posse commitatus and do law enforcement using the military (which is presumably not limited by your draft amendment). Maybe Congress would stop that from happening by keeping posse comitatus in force, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe the courts woud interpret “law enforcement agencies” to include military acting in the guise of law enforcement, but I just don’t trust Roberts & Alioto to be that sensible. Neither should u!

    Dave W. Comment on the ACLU discipline

    I think it is wonderful that the policy is transparent and public knowledge. What burns my toast is when an organization feels that it needs to keep rulez like this secret from the prying eyes of te public. As usual the ACLU is doing the right thing, even when it flies in the face of received wisdom.

  62. This is how the ACLU is scape-goated by the knee-jerks of the idiot right who fail to understand the mission of the ACLU:

    Juggler says,

    “The notion that the ACLU defends the consitution no mater what is absurd. They’d drop dead before they defended economic liberties, and they happily attack such liberties. There is a reason they have a C in their acronym.”

    Yes, Juggler, the protection CIVIL liberties are the mission of the ACLU. Economic liberties can and do fall under that scope, but I get the distinct feeling that you are more concerned with the “right” to be sleazy con artist, legally, at the expense of the right to sue sleazy con artists.

    How libertarian of you.
    ____

    Mediageek reminds us of the most important issue for people who have no idea what an important issue is – the right to sell guns illegally to street gangs:

    “Yeeeeeah booooy. Like how they stand up for the 2nd Amendment.

    Geeze, Jersey, could you at least once try to be something other than a straw man with a pulse?”

    Yes, geek, lord knows the right to sell guns illegally to child killers is a vital one.

    And what other right under siege needs standing up for? Religion? Commerce? The media? Hey – here’s a thought for you – how’s about worrying about a right that IS actually under siege? Like privacy? No? Still worried about rights that are so entrenched and safe only a paranoid moron would worry about them? Get a life.

    Let me say this to all you libertarians out there:

    ONLY A COMPLETE AND UTTER MORON WOULD THING THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS UNDER SIEGE.
    ____

    Hans, here, strains to redefine the mission of the ACLU so as to point out a preconceived hypocrisy:

    “The reason the ACLU is hypocritical is because it insists that other private organizations permit internal opposition to organizational policies, on pain of being sued by the ACLU, even though the First Amendment does not restrict private organizations. (The ACLU uses state constitutional and statutory provisions to achieve this result, as an end run around the federal Constitution’s First Amendment case law).”

    Hans, if you think that’s what the ACLU does, then you’re the type of guy who, while working at a gas station, asks the customer what type of sandwich he would like at the pump. Get a friggin’ clue. The ACLU stands up for the constitutional rights of citizens, not the right to disagree with your boss, genius.
    ________

    Dusty has some lint between the ears:

    “Ehh? In what way do teachers unions do the dirty work of supporting the Constitution? Unionism — at least as it exists under the National Labor Relations Act — is about as antithetical to freedom and rights as anything I can imagine.”

    They teach. As for the right to organize – if you think that shouldn’t be a right, then you?re a fascist pig.
    ____

    All I can say is thank God for Dave W!

    JMJ

  63. Ya know, if you HAVE to have a sentence where you type in ALL CAPS, and in that sentence you are calling other people morons, I THING you might want to check your spelling before you hit the post button.

  64. Wow. So what is your view of say speech which isn’t primarily or necessarily political? Say scientific speech or literature?

    My point was that “free speech” is shorthand for “the concept of free speech as an enumerated right in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States”. I’m in no way saying that non-political speech is substandard. I’m saying that “free speech” implies the rights (or lack of) that the Government, as a political body, has.

    Who exactly is claiming that the right is “unlimited?”

    I certainly am. The evolution of technology was not forseen by our forefathers, or if it was, it wasn’t taken into account in the drafting of the text. There’s nothing in the text of the 2nd amendement that implies that citizens can’t own cannons. Thus, there’s nothing that implies that citizens can’t own nukes. If you don’t like that, feel free to amend it. Just don’t project your wishes onto the written words of the Constitution.

  65. MP,

    I’m saying that “free speech” implies the rights (or lack of) that the Government, as a political body, has.

    What the hell?

    There’s nothing in the text of the 2nd amendement that implies that citizens can’t own cannons.

    The term “arms” as it was understood at the time does. Please see: William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 300 (1765).

  66. How about this wording from the Pennsylvania Constitution: Sec. 21 “The right of the citizen to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

  67. Those “shocked” members remind me of the anarchist military units in the Spanish Civil War. The ones who used to take votes among the ranks to decide on battlefield actions.

    They lost, btw.

  68. Creech,

    By last count (of mine) forty-two states have an individual arms right in their constitution. Another seven recognize a right to self-defense. Only one state – Massachusetts – states that no individual arms right exists.

  69. Alt. PL is correct–the term “arms” pretty clearly meant “small arms”. So no nukes.

    Forgetting about the mixed up line of cases on whether it’s an individual right or not, the logic of the Founders on this matter was that an unarmed citizenry is in more danger from its government than an armed one. Sure, these days we’d be in trouble if we were fighting F-22s with rifles, but the reality is that if revolution ever rears its head here again, the military would likely be split and attempts to maintain control would be much harder with a generally armed citizenry.

    I don’t think violent revolution is coming, mind you, but I do appreciate the logic. Of course, you could carry that too far and say that we each should have nuclear weapons 🙂

    As for the ACLU, my quibbles have grown into objections over some of the fights it has engaged in. It has also become pretty partisan, which is a terrible idea. I think that got worse when old man Bush made his foolish crack about Dukakis being a “card-carrying member of the ACLU”. Like being in the ACLU was the same as being a Red.

  70. What the hell?

    Phil,

    When someone is commenting on the right to free speech, are they saying they should be free to say anything they want anytime, anywhere, or are they saying they should free to say anything they want in a public forum free from persecution of the Government? “free speech” implicitly implies the First Amendment, and thus implies freedom from persecution.

    And yes, Blackstone is on my “someday I really need to read this” reading list, so I’ll defer to your analysis. I don’t have the speed reading skills of Jennifer or Hakluyt.

  71. “Perhaps the schism between the ACLU and the NRA can best be understood by positing that the typical member of the ACLU has the combination of brains and testicular fortitude it takes to walk around unarmed, while the typical member of the NRA does not.”

    Yeah, all those cowardly wheelchair bound motherfuckers. Why don’t they just learn Kung-Fu if they want to defend themselves.

  72. Why are you all still talking? Hans Binder has clearly ‘won’ this thread already. His has a post worthy of applause.

  73. I said:

    “Geeze, Jersey, could you at least once try to be something other than a straw man with a pulse?”

    Joisey McNoisy responds with:

    “Yes, geek, lord knows the right to sell guns illegally to child killers is a vital one.”

    Now that’s premium, Grade-A Comedy Gold.

  74. “Yeah, I thought you would. So now I am a bigoted criminal who hates rational discourse…”

    Hey, you’re the one who started out ascribing wholly criminal and/or nefarious intent to anyone who would dare to get a concealed weapons permit.

    Goose –> Gander

  75. Perhaps the schism between the ACLU and the NRA can best be understood by positing that the typical member of the ACLU has the combination of brains and testicular fortitude it takes to walk around unarmed, while the typical member of the NRA does not.”

    I’m five-three, weigh 105 pounds, and live in a neighborhood that’s not exactly the “hood,” but does have more than its share of violent crimes. Last week the cops found a dead body in front of a church a few blocks away from me. No clue yet who killed the guy, or why. And you’re claiming that it’s stupid for me to want the means to protect myself?

    Here’s an idea: if anybody tries to attack me, I’ll just yell “I don’t need any means of self-defense because I’m extremely intelligent! I have the IQ test results to prove it! I challenge you to a spelling match!”

    Yeah, that’ll keep me safe. If not, maybe I could use one of my Shakespeare books to give the guy a really bad paper cut.

  76. Mediageek

    “Hey, you’re the one who started out ascribing wholly criminal and/or nefarious intent to anyone who would dare to get a concealed weapons permit.”

    I didn’t ascribe criminal intent to people who hid their guns. I questioned your statement that the reason you hide the gun is for the benefit of those who feel uncomfortable with you carrying a gun (“I am just being polite”). That attitude may be patronizing, but it is not criminal. I also stated that carrying concealed does not deter criminals because criminals are risk takers, so the logic of hiding the gun to deter them falls apart at first blush. Given that, there must be some other reason to carry concealed. My conclusion, based on the people I know who are responsible gun owners, is that those who feel the need to hide their gun are doing it for reasons of self-esteem (again, not criminal, just creepy and maybe a tad paranoid).

    These are assertions you may disagree with (or even be offended by), but I did not ascribe malicious intent or criminal behavior to those who carried concealed weapons.

    Your reaction to these suggestions was “the only possible explanation for holding such beliefs is that you or your friends are criminals” and a claim that the above arguments did not constitute rational discourse.

    Then I started making fun of you. Makes me an asshole, maybe, but of a different species than your goose.

  77. “I didn’t ascribe criminal intent to people who hid their guns. I questioned your statement that the reason you hide the gun is for the benefit of those who feel uncomfortable with you carrying a gun (“I am just being polite”).”

    Ok, so you’re claiming that if people are going to carry, they should be required to carry openly. Yet in many states that still have legal open carry, others who are ignorant of the law routinely call the cops when they see someone openly carrying a firearm.

    Maybe people choose to carry concealed because they’re tired of those ignorant of the law calling the cops and reporting a “man with a gun.”

    Then the cops have to show up.
    And detain the person who is legally carrying a firearm.

    And go through all of the stuff that such a stop entails.

    So maybe it’s not wholly a matter of easing the minds of the ignorant, and maybe part of it has to do with the desire to be left alone.

    But I guess not wanting to be hasseled by the cops for completely legal activities is “creepy” and “paranoid.”

  78. “Your reaction to these suggestions was “the only possible explanation for holding such beliefs is that you or your friends are criminals” and a claim that the above arguments did not constitute rational discourse.”

    Neither did your assertion that those who wish to carry should be required to do so openly.

    You’ve never, not once, explained how it’s yours or anyone else’s business as to whether an individual chooses to carry a defensive implement.

  79. ..or the method that they choose to carry such implement.

    Tina, come learn how to use preview! Gosh.

  80. ..or the method that they choose to carry such implement.

    Tina, come learn how to use preview! Gosh.

  81. My conclusion, based on the people I know who are responsible gun owners, is that those who feel the need to hide their gun are doing it for reasons of self-esteem

    But if you think that gun owners must have something to prove, or have self-esteem issues, then wouldn’t displaying the gun be more likely to increase one’s self-esteem? “Badass with a gun coming through! Check me out!”

    Your logic is like saying “rich people who keep their wealth hidden have self-esteem issues; the truly self-confident brag about their wealth every chance they get.” Or “people who never watch television but don’t talk about it have self-esteem issues; the self-confident ones always say things like ‘I don’t even own a television.”

  82. “Yet in many states that still have legal open carry, others who are ignorant of the law routinely call the cops when they see someone openly carrying a firearm.”

    We went over this. Whether it is legal or not, it is atypical. This creates conflict as the behavior is outside of the community standards of behavior. Reason for this… most people don’t feel the need to brandish a deadly weapon. Most people are rational in this way.

    There is something about taking responsibility for your decisions. It involves understanding the consequences of your actions. If carrying your deadly weapon into Burger king (our first example) is likely to result in the cops being called, then maybe you should leave it in the car. If Burger King is so dangerous that you need your gun, maybe you should eat at In&Out Burger where you can feel safe leaving the gun in the car.

    If there are no places in the world where you can feel safe without your gun. You are paranoid.

    I had a roommate who always took his gun with him when he worked (as a truck driver, alone on remote hiways in NM). A rational precaution. When he got home, he locked it up. When we went out as a group, he didn’t feel he needed the gun. He realized that for most daily activities in most places, there is no need for a deadly weapon (and, just in case you don’t know, NM has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country).

    It is the failure to discriminate between dangerous situations and safe that causes the problems, not “ignorant” minds that find your behavior aberrant.

    Like I said. Carry a gun. It is your right. But carry it openly so rational people can decide whether they want to freely associate with you.

    “You’ve never, not once, explained how it’s yours or anyone else’s business as to whether an individual chooses to carry a defensive implement.”

    Free association requires lack of deceit.

  83. “Then I started making fun of you. Makes me an asshole, maybe, but of a different species than your goose.

    Comment by: MainStreamMan at May 25, 2006 11:38 AM”

    fine. he’s a goose. you’re an asshole. now that’s clear, we can resume. (heh, grin)

  84. “We went over this. Whether it is legal or not, it is atypical. This creates conflict as the behavior is outside of the community standards of behavior. Reason for this… most people don’t feel the need to brandish a deadly weapon. Most people are rational in this way.”

    Again, you are ascribing nefarious intent to those who carry.

    “It is the failure to discriminate between dangerous situations and safe that causes the problems, not “ignorant” minds that find your behavior aberrant.”

    Last time I checked, those with criminal intent don’t send an engraved invitation.

    “Oh, but it’s such a safe neighborhood! We would have never expected such a tragedy to occur here!”

    That’s a victim’s refrain so common it’s become an utter clich?.

  85. “Like I said. Carry a gun. It is your right. But carry it openly so rational people can decide whether they want to freely associate with you.”

    No rational human being would have a problem associating with a person carrying a weapon, concealed, open, or otherwise.

    Well, except for criminals. For them I suppose it’s in their rational self-interest to avoid those with the ability and means to fight back.

  86. Jennifer,

    You’re doing it again. Where did you learn to summarize?

    Self-esteem is a private, internal state. While some may boost their self-esteem by showing off… others do it in other ways.

    Some even do it by recasting other’s arguments on the internet.

  87. JMJ suggests that I misunderstood the ACLU’s mission when I pointed out its hypocrisy.

    I pointed out that the ACLU hypocritically advocates forcing other private organizations to tolerate dissenting speech from their employees and members, under threat of lawsuits, but refuses to tolerate such speech from its own board. He is quite wrong to deny this hypocrisy.

    The post he criticized is reprinted below. An annotated version of my post, with links to supporting evidence, is found at the Open Market blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute at http://www.ceiopenmarket.org/openmarket/2006/05/what_free_speec.html.

    POST ON THE ACLU’S HYPOCRISY:

    The ACLU, self-proclaimed champion of free speech, doesn?t believe in free speech when it?s aimed at the ACLU itself, even though it believes that other private organizations should be compelled by law to tolerate dissent in their ranks or face a lawsuit.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution only restrict the conduct of state actors. Private associations are thus free to condition membership on not publicly criticizing the association?s positions or leaders, and to require that members share a common religion or other characteristic (unless the characteristic is prohibited by an antidiscrimination statute that does not intrude too deeply on the association?s First Amendment freedom of association). This is called the ?state action? doctrine. It greatly limits federal courts? control over private institutions, promoting freedom of association and a free market economy.

    The ACLU, however, opposes the state action doctrine. It believes that private institutions, such as shopping centers and private colleges, should be subject to restrictions under the First Amendment, and that even the smallest businesses or associations should be subject to the Equal Protection Clause. For example, it argued in a Connecticut case that the Klan should be able to demonstrate in a private shopping center, overriding the property and free association rights of its owners, and recently persuaded the New Jersey courts to use the New Jersey State Constitution to force private housing developments and shopping centers to host political advocacy groups. Similarly, the ACLU argued that the boy scouts should not be able to dictate membership criteria, a position the U.S. Supreme Court rejected in 2000 on First Amendment freedom of association grounds. And it unsuccessfully urged the Oregon Supreme Court to hold that the owner of a small business violates the Constitution?s Establishment Clause, not just state law, by engaging in workplace religious proselytizing, in the 1995 Meltebeke case.

    However, there is one special private organization that the ACLU believes should be exempt from judicial oversight so that it can restrict its members? speech: the ACLU itself. The ACLU?s leader, Anthony Romero, has apparently created investigatory files on dissident members of the ACLU?s national board, who have criticized the ACLU for failing to oppose restrictions on politically incorrect speech, like anti-abortion ads. And he is pushing to forbid board members from criticizing the ACLU?s board or its staff, arguing that such criticism makes ?fund-raising? harder for the ACLU. This is a very ironic position for an organization that claims to be a champion of free speech to take.

    It is especially ironic given that the ACLU has repudiated far more limited speech restrictions it endorsed in the past. The ACLU continually depicts as a shameful cave-in to McCarthyism the ACLU?s own Post-World War II policy of excluding supporters of totalitarian movements from its board. That prohibition had the effect of excluding several communist ACLU board members who had backed Stalin?s dictatorship and previously supported the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact. Apparently, the ACLU believes in free speech for totalitarians, but not for First Amendment advocates.

    Romero justifies the proposed speech restriction by pointing to a supposed need to balance ?conflicting? rights. “Take hate speech,” he said. “While believing in free speech, we do not believe in or condone speech that attacks minorities.”

    This is a frequent ACLU tactic, to argue that free speech is overridden by a competing ?right? when the speech becomes inconvenient. The ACLU?s ?balancing? is applied in an inconsistent and unprincipled manner, based on how much it sympathizes with the target of the speech.

    For example, the ACLU successfully argued that Nazis advocating genocide should be allowed to march through the town of Skokie, home to many Holocaust survivors, saying that the Nazis? free speech rights outweighed the interests of the Holocaust survivors. And it later sued a private restaurant for refusing to serve neo-Nazis because they insisted on wearing swastikas while dining, trampling on the restaurant owners? freedom of conscience and their private property rights.

    But in another case, Aguilar v. Avis Rent-A-Car System, it filed an amicus brief supporting a state court?s gag order banning an employee from uttering even a single racial slur, based on racial harassment that was found to have occurred years earlier, even if no other employee ever heard the slur. The ACLU argued that such slurs could be banned because they were just ?verbal acts? of ?discrimination? against Hispanics, rather than ?pure speech.? The state court accepted the ?discrimination? rationale for restricting speech, even though federal courts have consistently held that a single slur does not constitute discriminatory harassment, either by itself or in conjunction with harassment that occurred long ago, and is irrelevant if other employees are not aware of it (and even though the employee accused of harassment was himself married to a Hispanic and the soccer coach of the very employees who accused him of harassment).

    ?Balancing rights? enables the ACLU to skirt principle to reach whatever pre-ordained politically correct result it wants.

    –Hans Bader

  88. MainStreamMan, here’s a question for you:

    What should the penalty be for someone who carries concealed?

  89. “Some even do it by recasting other’s arguments on the internet.”

    And others do it by projecting their paranoia onto others.

  90. “Some even do it by recasting other’s arguments on the internet.”

    And some do it by projecting their paranoia onto others.

  91. Self-esteem is a private, internal state. While some may boost their self-esteem by showing off… others do it in other ways. Some even do it by recasting other’s arguments on the internet.

    So how exactly am I supposed to parse your comment “My conclusion, based on the people I know who are responsible gun owners, is that those who feel the need to hide their gun are doing it for reasons of self-esteem”? The guy with low self-esteem keeps his gun hidden, while the guy who is secure about the size of his dick brandishes his gun for all the world to see? Funny, in my universe the exact opposite tends to be true.

  92. MainStreamMan makes a lot of good points. People should know the truth so that they can freely associate with only those they’re comfortable with.

    Homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to stay in the closet. If they’re going to engage in behavior that is out of the mainstream, they should have to do it openly.

    Maybe we could require that they all wear a pink ribbon around their upper arm at all times.

  93. “What should the penalty be for someone who carries concealed?”

    Hmmm… that is a good question. If we were to outlaw concealed weapons (which some states have done), it seems a reasonable course would be to have a two-tiered sanction.

    1) concealed with no other criminal behavior (assuming we defined concealing as criminal) would result in losing the gun… repeated offenses, lose the right to legally register a gun in the future. Or something in line with current sanctions for having an unregistered gun.
    2) concealed while during a crime, double the sentence upon conviction of the crime.

    Or some more well thought-out version of the above.

    The more tricky question involves how to balance said law with the 4th…

  94. Jennifer, it’s obvious that it has nothing to do with self-esteem.

    MainStreamMan’s assertion that it does is nothing more than a red herring. For whatever reason, he fears people who carry defensive implements, openly or otherwise.

    As a result, he feels justified in forcing everyone to conform to his edicts, under threat of losing their weapon, evidently.

    I cannot possibly fathom the mindset that would punish someone for choosing to carry their own property in the method that they feel (for whatever reason) most comfortable.

  95. Self-esteem is a private, internal state. While some may boost their self-esteem by showing off… others do it in other ways. Some even do it by recasting other’s arguments on the internet.

    So how exactly am I supposed to parse your comment “My conclusion, based on the people I know who are responsible gun owners, is that those who feel the need to hide their gun are doing it for reasons of self-esteem”? The guy with low self-esteem keeps his gun hidden, while the guy who is secure about the size of his dick brandishes his gun for all the world to see? Funny, in my universe the exact opposite tends to be true.

  96. Bible Thumper…

    A good point, actually, but not exactly germane since we are talking about issues of self-defense.

    A policy can make sense in one realm of social interaction and be ridiculous in another. The world is complex that way.

    I never advocated forcing people to carry openly, I suggested it was the more socially responsible, and wiser course of action…I think that being gay is something that people should feel comfortable being open about. Those gays who have the self-esteem to be open about it probably lead happier lives on balance…and, by the way,

    Jennifer,

    this is the sense in which I am talking about self-esteem and the need to hide a gun…hiding the gun may mean you are afraid that people might think you are a nut for needing to carry a gun… this shows a lack of self-esteem. An unwillingness to openly stand up for yourself and your decisions…

  97. Mediageek.

    You’re doing it again. I am not afraid of you or your gun. I don’t fear people in general. Might be why I don’t see a need to carry a deadly weapon. Might be why I question the self-esteem of those who are so afraid of the world that they feel the need to carry a weapon.

    And, by the way, you were the one who asked a question about what a law would look like. Now you attribute my response to your direct question as my advocacy of passing a law. That’s not a red herring, that’s downright dishonest

    I suggested a mode of social interaction that was open and honest. I am not trying to oppress you. I have asserted your right to carry your security blanket wherever and however you want multiple times in this discussion.

    So Mediageek, what should the penalty be for someone who questions the wisdom of your decisions?

  98. What does self-esteem have to do with getting stopped by the cops?

  99. this is the sense in which I am talking about self-esteem and the need to hide a gun…hiding the gun may mean you are afraid that people might think you are a nut for needing to carry a gun… this shows a lack of self-esteem

    Hiding the gun may also mean you don’t feel the need to brandish a weapon to be left alone. But I notice that when *I* made speculations about how people with proper self-esteem behave, you chastised me by saying that self-esteem is a “private, internal” state, yet you, who does not even own a gun, feels free to comment on how a person’s attitudes toward guns reflects upon their self-image.

    How can I become as important as you are? By which I mean, how can I get the right to insist that others meet certain standards of behavior which I myself routinely violate?

  100. “You’re doing it again. I am not afraid of you or your gun. I don’t fear people in general. Might be why I don’t see a need to carry a deadly weapon. Might be why I question the self-esteem of those who are so afraid of the world that they feel the need to carry a weapon.”

    You’re projecting again. You assume that people carry a gun out of some sort of fear. If it weren’t for the fact that your entire perception of why someone chooses to carry a weapon is completely and utterly off-base, you might conceivably have a point.

    But, well, it is and you don’t.

    “I suggested a mode of social interaction that was open and honest. I am not trying to oppress you. I have asserted your right to carry your security blanket wherever and however you want multiple times in this discussion.”

    Again, projections of fear and the need for a “security blanket.”

    See, here’s the thing, only someone who’s afraid of others would be so mistrustful as to advocate using the force of law to punish them for daring to act within their right to privacy.

  101. Might be why I question the self-esteem of those who are so afraid of the world that they feel the need to carry a weapon.

    As I mentioned before, I live in a bad neighborhood, and furthermore I am shorter and skinnier than the average woman, which makes me considerably weaker than the average man. And yet you are saying that it is “low self-esteem” which makes me suspect that if a criminal tried to attack me, I’d need more than just my muscles and fingernails to fight him off?

    You may call it “low self-esteem”; I call it “reality-based thinking.”

  102. Jennifer, you’re just paranoid. 😉

  103. Jennifer, you’re just paranoid. 😉

    Good point, mediageek. I keep forgetting that criminals are mythological creatures, like unicorns and Santa Claus. And even if they did exist, they would certainly leave me alone.

  104. “Hiding the gun may also mean you don’t feel the need to brandish a weapon to be left alone. But I notice that when *I* made speculations about how people with proper self-esteem behave, you chastised me by saying that self-esteem is a “private, internal” state, yet you, who does not even own a gun, feels free to comment on how a person’s attitudes toward guns reflects upon their self-image.”

    Simple! You just have to develop the same precognitive, psychic abilities that MainStreamMan uses to know when/where violence will occur before the fact. He uses the same ability to understand the reasons behind why someone would choose to carry a weapon.

  105. “I keep forgetting that criminals are mythological creatures, like unicorns and Santa Claus. And even if they did exist, they would certainly leave me alone.”

    well, then i suggest you read up on unicorns, Santa Claus, criminals, and the leather bound version of “Heather Has Two Mommies” (the edition with the sweaty pillow fight scene on page 69) before you embarrass yourself any further 🙂

  106. I also love MSM’s philosophical inconsistencies.

  107. Jennifer,

    I did not say that it was always unreasonable or a sign of low self-esteem to carry a weapon. I said it is unreasonable in most everyday situations. If you live in a bad neighborhood that is so dangerous that you need a gun to safely get home, then you are acting reasonably in everything but your choice of residence.

    But, if you are going to carry that gun for safety… you are smarter to carry it openly as it is more likely to deter the initial attack you are worried about. If the gun is hidden it loses its ability to deter the attack you are worried about. If you are hiding the gun, then you are not carrying it to deter the attack, you are carrying it to make yourself feel safer without, however, the added benefit of actually making yourself that much safer.

    The logic that says a concealed weapon will deter a criminal is not reality-based.

    Mediageek:

    “You assume that people carry a gun out of some sort of fear.”

    I assume this since you have stated that the gun is for self-defense. Not sure how this is off-base. Why would you defend yourself against things you don’t fear?

    Now you are telling me that you don’t carry a gun because you are afraid(i.e., for self-defense). What is your reason for carrying the gun then? At least Jennifer is honest that she is afraid of those more physically powerful than her.

    What is the other purpose of a gun besides defensive uses (i.e., to defend yourself against those you fear)? The only thing I can think of are offensive uses which you have clearly stated are not the motivation behind responsible gun ownership. I never accused you or others of having offensive use of the gun as your motivation for carrying. Are you saying I am wrong?

  108. You just have to develop the same precognitive, psychic abilities that MainStreamMan uses to know when/where violence will occur before the fact.

    If my psychic powers tell me that somebody will try to carjack me tonight, can I carry a gun without damaging my self-esteem? Or should I instead allow my self-esteem to be inflated by the criminal’s attempt: his attempt to steal my car shows that he admires my taste in automobiles, and his attempt to rape me proves that he thinks I’m a babe?

    (sings) I feel pretty. . . oh so pretty. . . I’m so gorgeous I’m gonna get raaaaaped! And I pity. . . any girl who isn’t me todaaaaaay.

  109. But, if you are going to carry that gun for safety… you are smarter to carry it openly as it is more likely to deter the initial attack you are worried about.

    If I carry the gun openly in a holster, that will make it easier for a criminal to sneak up behind me and grab it. It will also ruin the smooth, sleek, stylish lines of my clothes, which will damage my self-esteem.

  110. MSM, how do you feel about police officers who carry guns?

    Are they all cowardly and stupid?

    What about plainclothes officers who carry concealed guns? How dumb is that?

  111. The logic that says a concealed weapon will deter a criminal is not reality-based.

    Then why do crime rates go down in states that allow concealed carry? I always thought it was because the criminals could never be sure whether or not their intended victims were packing, but tell me, Mainstream Man: what is the real reason for this?

  112. “what is the real reason for this?”

    His inherent fear of those who are willing to take the responsibility to both defend themselves from physical attack as well as exercise their right to privacy.

  113. “What is the other purpose of a gun besides defensive uses (i.e., to defend yourself against those you fear)?”

    I dunno. Maybe to stop imminent endanger to life or limb.

    I guess we should all stop wearing seatbelts, too, because the only reason anyone would wear one is because they’re afraid they’ll get into a car accident.

    Face it, MSM, you’ve had your ass stomped into a mudhole and walked dry in this thread.

    The reason for why someone chooses to exercise a civil right is completely immaterial, and your attempt to cast accusations of fear and paranoia on those who do only serves to air your own pathetic insecurities.

    You.

    Lose.

  114. endanger = endangerment

  115. Mediageek.

    Wow I didn’t realize I was discussing this with the arbiter of truth and the presenter of prizes.

    I have yet to hear you present evidence that concealed carry makes you safer than open carry. Jennifer’s admission that it ruins the line of her clothes gets me a lot closer to having sympathy than anything you’ve presented…including the whole “the cops harrass me” (whimper) line.

    “What is the other purpose of a gun besides defensive uses (i.e., to defend yourself against those you fear)?”

    I dunno. Maybe to stop imminent endanger to life or limb.”

    So you mean defend yourself … I was looking for a contrasting motivation. How does hiding the gun make it more effective in this hypothetical situation?

    I have a reasonable fear of a car accident when driving… so I wear a seat belt. In situations (like Jennifer described) where I fear an attack from bad people, I might reasonably want to have a gun…how is your analogy apt? How many situations are you in daily that require the potential protection your gun provides? How does hiding it increase its utility? Which should you fear more… death by car accident or death by violent crime?

    Jennifer: If the criminal is smart enough to grab the gun out of your holster… he can probably just hit you in the back of the head with brick before you can get your gun out of its hiding place… reality-based, yeah right.

    And as for the “reality-based” spectulations about crime rates going down in states with concealed carry, you need to do some research…

    Stevo D

    Well, I would imagine that the average police officer finds himself in enough person to person confrontations with dangerous individuals in a day that to carry a gun is a reasonable thing to do. Policing is also about the projection of force from the group to the individual. A gun is a nice symbol of that force…the right to bare arms is largely a balance on that force so that the state doesn’t get outta hand.

    As for undercover cops. They are also in a dangerous situation, with the added factor that they are already, by definition being deceitful… for the purpose of catching the bad people that Mediageek is so afraid of. Regularly inserting oneself into dangerous situations with dangerous people hoping to trick them into giving evidence may require a hidden gun. But undercover officers are hoping not to prevent the current crime… they are hoping to catch the criminal in the act and prevent future crime. Deceit may be an unavoidable element.

  116. Mediageek…

    The ass stomping thing is only a projection you got from the fact that there are some others on the board who support your side…but if it makes you feel better to hear people telling you that you’re correct… then more power to ya. The question is, did my questioning of your beliefs result in even a little bit of a dent in your confidence that you are right?

    I am certain that comments made here have enriched my thinking on the subject. Try not to be so dour… (“a mind not gifted to discover truth but tenacious to hold it”- T.S.Eliot”)

  117. hey MSM: dare to eat that peach.

  118. Well, I would imagine that the average police officer finds himself in enough person to person confrontations with dangerous individuals in a day that to carry a gun is a reasonable thing to do.

    What about ordinary civilians who have to regularly travel through, do business in, or live in, high-crime areas with a lot of those same dangerous individuals around, and often with rarely a police officer handy?

    (I have read that in some areas of New York City, around 30% of calls to the police receive no response at all. This was in one of two books by Bruce L. Benson, either The Enterprise of Law or To Serve and Protect; I’m sorry I can’t find a link.)

    Also, as you say, preventing future crime is better than trying to catch bad people after they’ve committed a crime. So wouldn’t it be better if the police concentrating primarily on deterring crime in the first place? I would suggest the following:

    1) Police should always wear the biggest, shiniest, most prominent guns on their hips as possible. Because this is what scares criminals into behaving, and there would be no need to be sneaky about it.

    2) But the police should not have bullets for guns.

    This would serve as a morally acceptable deterrent, with no naughty deceit necessary. There would be no possibility of a violent confrontation in which someone could get hurt. And it would let the cops demonstrate how brave they are, by wearing their weapons openly, but without any hidden bullets.

    It’s a win-win all around!

  119. Hans Bader =

    Wow, A+ contribution. I agree with some others that you pretty much hit the bullseye w/ your analysis. Glad you took the time to chime in.

    JG

  120. “Wow I didn’t realize I was discussing this with the arbiter of truth and the presenter of prizes.”

    No, you were just passing yourself off as it. Once again, if you’re going to make smug, opinion-based pronunciations then I figure I’m allowed the same.

    “I have yet to hear you present evidence that concealed carry makes you safer than open carry.”

    Because I don’t need to, any more than I need to present proof that strawberry icecream is better than chocolate.

    You and I can sit here, dreaming up scenarios where concealed carry confers an advantage over open carry, or vice-versa. Ultimately, and this is the point I’ve been trying to make all along, so I’ll put it in bold: It doesn’t fucking matter because it’s a non-issue. I have no qualms about people carrying openly or concealed.

    You, on the other hand, seem completely hung up on people carrying concealed, to the point that you absurdly call for punishing anyone caught carrying concealed. (Despite the fact that a majority of the states have provisions for shall-issue concealed carry, which, I’ll note, puts you right out of the mainstream.)

    “So you mean defend yourself … I was looking for a contrasting motivation. How does hiding the gun make it more effective in this hypothetical situation?”

    Gee, I don’t know, maybe because our hypothetical badguy wouldn’t have taken into account the possibility that the intended victim.

    Again, I will point out that open/concealed carry doesn’t necessarily have to confer some advantage in all situations. Such simplifications are the sort of criticisms aired by a close-minded simpleton.

    “I have a reasonable fear of a car accident when driving… so I wear a seat belt. In situations (like Jennifer described) where I fear an attack from bad people, I might reasonably want to have a gun…how is your analogy apt? How many situations are you in daily that require the potential protection your gun provides? How does hiding it increase its utility? Which should you fear more… death by car accident or death by violent crime?”

    And who’s to define “reasonable.” Is a rape victim who chooses to carry concealed at all times being unreasonable? How about their friend?

    The bottom line is this:
    What you think is “reasonable” or “unreasonable” is nothing more than your opinion. It is not *fact.* So long as the person carrying intends you no harm, I have to wonder, why in the world do you even care?
    Well, other than the fact that you seem to have an irrational fear of people who take responsibility for their own defense.

    “Jennifer: If the criminal is smart enough to grab the gun out of your holster… he can probably just hit you in the back of the head with brick before you can get your gun out of its hiding place… reality-based, yeah right.”

    Blah-blah-blah. Look, why don’t you just roll a 20-sided die to see whether he hits her with a brick or tries to grab the gun.

    You’re doing nothing more than engaging in idle scenario speculation. And bad scenario speculation at that. Maybe you think that Mr. Criminal will use a brick. Maybe Jennifer thinks that Mr. Criminal would try to grab her openly carried pistol.

    Who are you to make that call? Especially since you’ve never been there?

    Oh, right. *smacks forehead* I forgot, you’re psychic, so that excuses your petty authoritarian tendencies and bigotry.

  121. Stevo

    “What about ordinary civilians who have to regularly travel through, do business in, or live in, high-crime areas with a lot of those same dangerous individuals around, and often with rarely a police officer handy?”

    I do believe I said there are places and situations where it makes sense to carry a weapon… but having lived in high crime neighborhoods, I think the danger may be more apparent than real except in the most extreme cases. Most of the violent crime in any high crime area is between people who know each other well. The people in the neighborhood know who those individuals are and tend not to associate closely with them.

    ” So wouldn’t it be better if the police concentrating primarily on deterring crime in the first place?”

    Yes, that would be parallel to my main point that concealed weapons don’t help to prevent the situation that is feared… it is much better to deter the crime via well advertised signals to the criminal that it isn’t worth the risk (keeping in mind that criminals are risk takers, you can’t make the cues too subtle or they will miss them).

    As for your scheme:
    1) I like it if expanded into a more realistic plan, like an open and engaged presence in the neighborhood with clear signs that violent behavior is not tolerated. The engaged in the neighborhood part helps to prevent the harassment that Mediageek fears. The cops would know that he is a good guy and openly carries his gun.
    2) Just silly, but you know that.

    I didn’t realize that policing was about proving how brave the police were. Although given the cops I know, that may play a big role in why they choose their profession.

    VM: I love peaches. Particularly in a good cobbler.

  122. “The ass stomping thing is only a projection you got from the fact that there are some others on the board who support your side…”

    No, the ass-stomping you’ve received is due to fact that you are opining on an issue on which you are woefully ignorant.

    A majority of states in this country have shall-issue concealed carry permits. Obviously the masses have spoken, and all of the research bears out that people who have concealed carry permits are not criminals. In fact, people with concealed carry permits statistically have a far, far, far smaller propensity for crime than even the average citizen.

    You are statistically less likely to be shot by a citizen with a ccw than by a law-enforcement officer.

    And those with concealed carry permits are less likely to be the victims of violent crime.

    But you ignore all of these facts because you believe that carrying a firearm concealed is “deceitful.”

    Give me a break. At least stop being such a disengenuous, deceitful bigot and let us know why you really have such disdain for those who carry.

    “but if it makes you feel better to hear people telling you that you’re correct… then more power to ya. The question is, did my questioning of your beliefs result in even a little bit of a dent in your confidence that you are right?”

    Again, I will point out that the facts are indeed on my side. I have no need of you to question my beliefs because, quite frankly, I used to think like you. Then I started to question your “mainstream” wisdom and realized that it was shot through with fallacious reasoning.

    But never mind. Questioning your beliefs sure hasn’t gotten you to think about it. So I guess I’ll just toss the underhanded accusation of bigotry right back into your lap.

    I have no doubt that you will continue with your petty authoritarian belief that anyone who carries concealed should have their weapon confiscated.

    But hey, I guess they had it coming, right? After all, someone who carries concealed must have substandard self-esteem.

    So, again, I ask: Why do you fear a citizen with a concealed firearm?

    Unless you intend to harm them, your fear is utterly and completely devoid of any rational thinking.

    The facts bear me out.
    The belief in personal liberty bears me out.

    And you are nothing more than a petty wannabe authoritarian who just doesn’t like all those icky guns, and wishes he could put the force of law behind his irrational beliefs.

  123. To boil it down:

    MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  124. Mediageek.

    “You, on the other hand, seem completely hung up on people carrying concealed, to the point that you absurdly call for punishing anyone caught carrying concealed.”

    I feel compelled to point out when you distort my position beyond recognition (as little good as it will do). I called for responsible gun owners to take the socially polite & responsible step of carrying their guns openly. I think you are arguing with someone else on that point. I do think that the constitution would allow for such a law, but I never said it was a good idea (seem to remember referencing the conflict with the 4th).

    “that excuses your petty authoritarian tendencies and bigotry.”

    You’re getting redundant. You’ve already called me a bigot for holding a different viewpoint than you. Although the petty authoritarian twist is new.

    So I am
    a
    smug
    petty
    criminal
    bigoted (x2)
    authoritarian
    friend of victimizers

    And this all started with me stating that I, as someone to the left of you, did not have a problem with responsible gun owners, and didn’t know many others who did either.

    Wow.

  125. MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  126. “I feel compelled to point out when you distort my position beyond recognition (as little good as it will do). I called for responsible gun owners to take the socially polite & responsible step of carrying their guns openly. I think you are arguing with someone else on that point*.”

    *Punishing those who have no malicious intent but choose to carry concealed.

    —————

    “1) concealed with no other criminal behavior (assuming we defined concealing as criminal) would result in losing the gun… repeated offenses, lose the right to legally register a gun in the future. Or something in line with current sanctions for having an unregistered gun.”

    Comment by: MainStreamMan at May 25, 2006 01:01 PM

    I win.

  127. “And those with concealed carry permits are less likely to be the victims of violent crime.”

    I would question that statistic if it had a source. How was this measured? Crime statistics are very tricky to gather.

    “Again, I will point out that the facts are indeed on my side.”

    Facts? When did you present any facts?
    This is the first post you’ve made that even pretended to present facts (but failed to… just statements I am supposed to take a face value…)

    I am pretty sure you never thought like me. You can’t even come up with a coherent statement representing my position, how can you assume it is similar to your previous position?

    Anyway.
    I am done.
    But let me know if there are any other names you want to call me.

    My list for you
    Paranoid
    Dour
    Twit.

  128. “I win”

    Dude… rational discourse is not a competition.

    Those are responses to a direct question from you about what a law might look like if it were implemented. I never suggested the law, I responded to your question regarding a hypothetical law. We’ve been over this.

    I guess I should add to the list…

    inattentive…

  129. MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  130. “Those are responses to a direct question from you about what a law might look like if it were implemented. I never suggested the law, I responded to your question regarding a hypothetical law. We’ve been over this.”

    That’s a cute attempt at a dodge, but I asked what you thought the punishment for non-malicious concealed carry should be.

    That was the answer you gave.

  131. And what facts have you presented?

    Oh, that’s right.

    None.

    MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  132. “But let me know if there are any other names you want to call me.”

    Spoken like a true statist. When all else fails, resort to slinging a list of names.

    Twit?

    Jesus, you’re not even terribly creative with your ad hominem attacks.

  133. Once again:

    MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  134. The whole exchange:

    “What should the penalty be for someone who carries concealed?”

    Hmmm… that is a good question. If we were to outlaw concealed weapons (which some states have done), it seems a reasonable course would be to have a two-tiered sanction.

    1) concealed with no other criminal behavior (assuming we defined concealing as criminal) would result in losing the gun… repeated offenses, lose the right to legally register a gun in the future. Or something in line with current sanctions for having an unregistered gun.
    2) concealed while during a crime, double the sentence upon conviction of the crime.

    Or some more well thought-out version of the above.

    The more tricky question involves how to balance said law with the 4th…

    Notice the “if” clause. And the final sentence questioning whether such a law could be balanced with the 4th…

    But I guess I fell into your little trap… damned Mediageek and his wiley ways.

  135. Well, it just really wouldn’t do to ask what the punishment for carrying concealed would be in a state where that it is legal to do, now, would it?

    So, if you were making the law, there would be no punishment for carrying illegally with no malicious intent?

  136. Once again:

    MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  137. An Aside For the Gallery:

    I find it not at all surprising that MSM has resorted to semantic hairsplitting.

  138. “So, if you were making the law, there would be no punishment for carrying illegally with no malicious intent?”

    Okay. To be clear. I don’t know that I would support a law against concealed carry due to conflict with the 4th… but IF I were given the task of writing up such a law, then, well, I think I have answered that question. See, if you define illegally carrying, without a punishment, then what’s the point?

    I still feel no onus. But what the hell.

    Two rooms. One with no guns. One with a gun hidden in your belt. By definition, I am in more risk of being shot (even accidently) in room two. Now add in a bad person without a gun. In room one, when he does something nasty, no one gets shot, even if bad things happen. In room two, I might be hit (accidently) when you (with your training and all) defend yourself with your gun. So I am at greater risk than I was in room one. Now give the bad person a gun. In room one, my odds of getting shot have gone up. But it is most likely that said bad person will use the gun to threaten, rather than harm as long as he thinks he is the only one with a gun. In room two, as soon as you pull out your gun, the odds of the bad person firing have gone up many times… and I still need to fear your aim in a stressful situation. Now let’s go to room three. You have your gun carried openly. Bad person walks into room without gun. He is less likely to cause trouble. If he has a gun, he might risk it and we are back at the situation we were in in room two… but there is a chance he might be carrying his gun concealed and decide not to risk it. So your open carry choice has provided the intended protection. Something it can’t do in room two.

    No need to find statistics… it is a thought experiment.

  139. “No need to find statistics… it is a thought experiment.”

    One which leads to a conclusion deliberately in contradiction to the known facts.

    But then again, even if facts were to be presented, the odds that you would actually change your belief are vanishingly small.

  140. Presuming you are in a room with another person who is armed, the odds you will get shot are zero provided they follow the four basic rules of gun safety.

    Rules which I, and every other gun owner I know, have memorized and follow.

    Your thought experiment only works presuming that the other person is irresponsible.

  141. Presuming you are in a room with another person who is armed, the odds you will get shot are zero provided they follow the four basic rules of gun safety.

    Rules which I, and every other gun owner I know, have memorized and follow.

    Your thought experiment only works presuming that the other person is tremendously irresponsible.

  142. MainStreamMan, the onus is on you to prove that concealed carry permit holders represent any sort of threat to you.

  143. “the odds you will get shot are zero provided…”

    You might be able to claim very low, but zero? They are only zero when there is either no gun, or the gun has no bullets.

    “Your thought experiment only works [i.e, only demonstrates danger] presuming that the other person is tremendously irresponsible.”

    I would agree for the conditions where there is no bad person. Otherwise I stand by it. Even if you are level headed, well trained, careful,etc… your introducing the gun into the situation increase the chances the situation will escalate towards deadly force. The weapon, particularly when hidden, does not do anything to move the situation towards calm resolution. I would hope your training involved that lesson. Mine did when I was trained on how to deal with violent students that might involve guns.

    FYI. In my career, I have had to take loaded guns off of students (1 JR High and 2 HS) who were very agitated. I am very sure that my having a gun would have made the resolution of those situations much less likely.

    Have a nice day.

  144. “You might be able to claim very low, but zero? They are only zero when there is either no gun, or the gun has no bullets.”

    Better get that hair dryer out of your bathroom, then, lest you get electrocuted.

    I’ve never once seen a gun jump out of a holster of its own accord and shoot someone.

    “I would agree for the conditions where there is no bad person. Otherwise I stand by it. Even if you are level headed, well trained, careful,etc… your introducing the gun into the situation increase the chances the situation will escalate towards deadly force.”

    So, someone who carries concealed, and chooses not to draw down on a bad guy is escalating the situation? As a result we should force anyone who wants to carry to do so openly?

    Also, if the only point of having a weapon is to escalate the situation, then why do cops carry them? Geeze, what a bunch of pricks, going around escalating violent situations all the time like that.

    “The weapon, particularly when hidden, does not do anything to move the situation towards calm resolution. I would hope your training involved that lesson.”

    You don’t draw a gun to bring things to a calm resolution. You draw it because you are completely out of options and the only response left is a lethal one.

    Duh.

    That said, statistically speaking, of those who draw a weapon when confronted with an attacker, 92% do not actually fire the weapon.

    But, you know, whatever.

    I have had to take loaded guns off of students (1 JR High and 2 HS) who were very agitated. “

    I find this hard to believe. After all, schools are gun-free zones. At this point, I have to admit that I do believe you are pulling my leg.

    “I am very sure that my having a gun would have made the resolution of those situations much less likely.”

    You don’t want to carry a gun?
    Great. That’s your choice to make, and one I’m not going to bust your chops over.

    But don’t begrudge or belittle those law-abiding citizens who come to a different conclusion.

  145. Mainstream Man, it seems like you’re now actually arguing for why concealed carry is a good thing. If you’re carrying openly, when caught in a stressful situation, you have no choice. The gun is obvious, and people will respond to it. If you’re carrying concealed, you have the gun if you decide you need it, but if you think it would just escalate and cause more trouble than it’s worth, you can keep it holstered and no one will know it’s there.

  146. Probably a dead thread by now,

    But Jadaqul: It is nice to have someone respond with an actual counter argument.

    Your point, certainly makes me rethink the advantage of the concealed weapon for the carrier. I am not sure it imparts protection on me, the third person in the room. For the one without a gun, there is a distinct advantage in knowing who has a gun. Also helpful is some signal about who is trustworthy and who isn’t… hence my preference that we have the good guys carry openly. I also wonder about the relative advantage of overtly not introducing the gun into the situation (i.e., you can see both that I have a gun, and am not acting like I am going to use it)… but I’d have to think about it some more.

    So, as far as policy goes. I continue to reject the argument that the concealed carry makes it less likely that criminals will act. Now, as to whether the advantage you cite confers an added benefit to society as a whole that would justify passing a law, I’ll have to think about it. As far as what that law would look like, I am in full support of the current regime that requires back-ground check, etc…

    Mediageek:
    Now I am a liar. Fuck you. After almost 20 years working with the most troubled of youth, I have indeed found myself faced with a loaded gun on three occasions. Knives, scissors, pointed sticks are more common. My approach to crime prevention has been to work with the kids most at risk for turning into violent criminals and to try and help them find a better career path before it is too late…a good educational system beats a concealed carry law any day.

    Twit: an annoyingly foolish individual.
    I think it is a pretty good description.

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