Monday, July 28, 2014

Giving up Rights for Politicians' Fear is Silly

According to Emily Miller, the famous investigative reporter, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson emailed her this message in reaction to the District Court finding that the constitutional rights of Americans did not stop at the District borders:
"Because of the District's unique national security concerns, the right to carry a firearm in public must be more heavily restricted than any place else in the nation. Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated by gunfire, and at least five others have been shot at, including Ronald Regan who was seriously wounded in 1981. Neither the Secret Service nor the Capitol Police will disclose all incidents where they have recovered firearms, but we do know that just two years ago someone hit the White House with gunfire, and there are frequent threats on the foreign diplomatic corps."
Consider the preposterous assumptions inherent in that statement.  It comes down to two.

1. Americans have to give up their rights to add some highly questionable measure of unproven protection to politicians and foreign diplomats.

2. Politicians are so much more important than other citizens, that no sacrifice on the part of the people is too much, if it makes the politicians feel a little safer.

This turns the core values of our constitutional republic on their head.  Politicians are there to serve *us*.   We do not exist to serve *them*.     There is no lack of politicians.   For every powerful politician, there are dozens; no, hundreds; no, thousands; of people just as able, that would love to have the opportunity to serve.  They should assume the position in full knowledge that they assume some risk.   They should realize that they serve *us*, and if a little more risk comes with the service, so that our rights are protected, that is something that every soldier already accepts.  They should have to accept it as well if they want to represent *us*.    Every single one of them has volunteered.   All have fought hard for the position that they are in. 

Politicians are plentiful and easily replaced.   There is a virtual unlimited number of them.   Our rights, however, are fragile flowers, constantly under assault by politicians.   Once degraded, they are not easily built back up; once destroyed, it takes enormous effort, blood, and treasure to restore them.   A great many Americans gave their lives to protect our rights.   It is not too much to ask that politicians take a little risk to preserve them.

Life is risk.  To live is to be at risk.   Politicians, as public servants, should be willing to shoulder as much risk as the ordinary pizza delivery person or soldier.  Most do.  In return, they get the perks and privileges of representing us and wielding power in our name. 

The Imperial accouterments that we have given the President are shameful for a free people.   The Obamas' flagrant squandering of treasure for their ostentatious displays is more reminiscent of French Kings, Eastern Potentates, or Albanian Dictators, than a President of the United States.  

The security that we have lavished on presidents, but not on lower levels of government officials, is far more than it should be.  

Cut it back by half, and threats to the President will not be increased in any substantial amount.    Shutting down an airport so that a President can get a haircut should be a thing of the past.   Shutting down traffic in most of a city because a president is due to come that way, is insane. 

Let us have no more foolish talk of the People giving up Rights for insignificant increases in a politician's security.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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