J.C. Moore Online
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Posts Tagged ‘first-amendment’

Responsibility and the Freedom of Speech

Fri ,14/01/2011

Democracy is based on the idea that in a free exchange of ideas, the truth will win out. Speech designed to mislead, misinform, or intimidate is an anathema to our purpose. We are guaranteed a right to free speech and we should use it wisely.

Free Speech: We won our independence from England and established a democracy that allows for a peaceful change of laws and leadership by ballot. The one time we tried another path, we had the Civil War, the most destructive war in our history. Recently, we seem to have forgotten our motto “E Pluribus Unum”. There are some who wish to divide us for their own purposes. Speech designed to mislead, misinform, or intimidate is an anathema to our purpose. Democracy is based on the idea that in a free exchange of ideas, the truth will win out. We are guaranteed a right to free speech and we should use it wisely. –

Free Speech And Responsibility: “It is absolutely the responsibility of every political figure, media personality, inclusive of all social media outlets and inclusive of all their respective contributors to use their freedom of speech wisely and in a manner that is considerate of the fact that there are delusional and unbalanced people in our midst who may interpret some statements too literally and seek to act upon them in a tragic way.” by Tom Vermillion

Discourage Hate Speech: There have been a number of articles and posts in the aftermath of Congresswoman Giffords being shot. Many wonder if it may have been the result of hate speech by some of our public figures and media entertainers. Whether the incident turns out to be caused by hate speech or not, now is a good time to try to put an end to hate speech. Several people have suggested things we may do. The one we can surely do something about is to stop using or encouraging hate speech ourselves.

The Americans United for Civility Petition below is a nonpartisan effort to encourage civility in our private and public speech.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED American citizens,

Mournful of the deaths of many at the hands of one in Tucson,

Inspired by the bravery of heroes who risked their lives to save others, and

Mindful of the present state of incivility which exists in public discourse;

Do hereby call upon elected officials, all media, and fellow citizens to:

Reflect upon the recent tragedy,

Examine their contribution to our present political climate, and

Commit to discourse that is civil and does honor to the United States of America.

.                                                                            by Stephanie Hampton

If you think this is a worthwhile cause, you may sign the petition online at: The Americans United for Civility Petition. And, please pass it on to others.

More You Can Do: No matter your affiliation, hateful, misleading, or disrespectful speech by our leaders and representatives is unacceptable. Write your representatives and ask them to go on record as condemning it. Let those who do it know it is not acceptable. Speak up when it comes up at town hall and campaign meetings. Point it out in letters to the editors or on your local newspaper’s web sites. Stop supporting candidates that use hate speech and let them know why. Refrain from using inflammatory language in your replies and focus on the issues and the facts. Our nation has many problems that need workable solutions. We must join together to solve them.

(C) 2011 J.C. Moore

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Science and the Second Amendment

Sun ,16/05/2010

My qualifications. You may think the title is unusual,  but science is about using observation and reason to understand the world.  I think some reason is needed in the Second Amendment debate.  I have some qualifications as I grew up in Oklahoma where camouflage is the unofficial state color and most everyone owns a gun, or two, or more. I own several and have hunted and shot targets since I was old enough, that’s 12 in my family. My dad thoroughly trained me in gun safety and I was warned if I ever violated a safety rule, I would be 21 before I ever touched another gun. I have  known many gun owners who are fine men  and women and I was an NRA member back in the days when it encouraged marksmanship, sportsmanship and gun safety.  The observations   are  significant events  chosen to illustrate that recent attempts to remove some restrictions on gun laws may be a bad idea.

Humorous Observations. I’ve observed a lot of use and misuse of guns in my life. For instance, I have a neighbor who shoots his AK-47 off his back porch into the lake. He doesn’t have a proper backstop and there are at least 20 houses in range of a ricochet. I’ve talked to him about that and the disturbance but he insists it’s his right and perfectly legal. I’m not sure that’s so as neither the bullets nor the noise stop at the edge of his property, but it’s not a good idea argue too much with a man holding an AK-47. I’ve learned to adapt, though I feel a little conspicuous wearing my orange hat when I go for a walk or work in the yard. I’ve noticed that guns tend to boost people’s egos, which might be a good thing. But it also seems to make some people feel invincible and take chances a reasonable person wouldn’t take. Some of my neighbors recently marched on Washington with their guns to “take back our country”. They either trust the government more than they let on or they have lost it. The government has tanks and planes and nuclear weapons.

Not so Humorous Observations. In Nevada recently, a Sheriff’s Deputy and National Guardsman just back from Afghanistan, was called to check on a domestic disturbance. He was gunned down as he stepped from his patrol car by a man wielding an assault rifle. Last year, two deputies in a small town in Oklahoma went to serve a man a warrant for a minor offense. The man opened up on them with an automatic rifle as they stood at the door, killing both and wounding a passerby across the street. A witness said the shots came too fast to count so I looked up the rifle. The ad says it is not good for hunting but might be useful for self-defense or to take to work.   Those officers never had a chance. In my hometown, a man got upset by an editorial a woman wrote in the local paper. He bought a handgun at the local pawnshop and the owner showed him how to load it and fire it. He then went to the cafe where the woman worked and shot her dead right in front of all the customers.

Politics. Unfortunately, the 2nd amendment has become a hot political issue and some of our politicians have used it to the limit – and then some. If one politician wants to allow concealed carry, another will see that and raise him an open carry, and another will up that by an open carry in bars. An important rule of gun safety is that guns and alcohol don’t mix. The Oklahoma Legislature has topped all that by passing a bill exempting the state from Federal gun laws. The Governor vetoed the bill and the override attempt failed, but the sponsors have vowed to keep trying – at least until the next election. A legislator who is a former state trooper, says that it is a “bad, bad, bill that will make law enforcement in Oklahoma a very dangerous job”. He’s right. The supporters must have forgotten that Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was stopped for a traffic violation but was held when the patrolman noticed he had a concealed  handgun loaded with Black Talon ammunition. McVeigh was still in jail when they traced the bombing to him.

Rights. We are guaranteed our Second Amendment rights and no one is really trying to take those away. While considering our gun rights, we need to also consider the rights and safety of our peace officers and our citizens. Registration of handguns, background checks, safety training, and a cooling off  period for buying handguns seem to be good ideas. No one really needs to own an assault rifle, high capacity clips, or bullets designed to  penetrate an officer’s safety vest. If we truly respect our officers, we will give them the regulations they need to prevent crime and have some safety in their work. Other amendments, such as the First Amendment, have reasonable restrictions to insure public safety and  protect the rights of others. It should be no different for gun rights.