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Free Speech or the Right to Bear Arms

by Gary Janosz 2 months ago in controversies

Free speech dies as armed intimidation reigns supreme

Cartoonistarif and Mitch Barrie, Reno, NV, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Are you willing to speak up and stand your ground in the face of armed opposition? Someone toting an AR-15 might become alarmed by your words, feel threatened and decide to protect themselves — at your expense.

I don’t believe that firearms have a place in social protests. When protesters come to a rally armed, they come to intimidate. They claim that their point of view is more important because they have the weapons to back it up. Social protests are supposed to be an exercise in free speech. How can there be free speech when one side is intimidated by the other.

If you become too excited about expressing your point of view, you might get shot. The gunmen might feel threatened and feel the need to defend themselves. Never belittle or harass a man with a gun because he would much rather shoot you than possibly suffer the loss of his weapon, as the Rittenhouse verdict has clearly shown.

When you encounter a man with a gun at a rally or protest, be aware that if he can find any minimal justification for pulling the trigger, the conservative Right will embrace him, raise him to hero status, and probably fund all of his legal expenses.

Gun rights are seemingly more important than free speech in the US, so you can expect the intimidation to continue. Perhaps protestors on the left will decide on the necessity to arm themselves at future social protests. It could be a means to claw back a little of their free speech lost to the intimidation of the Right. With both sides armed to the teeth, perhaps a bit of free speech can be restored, but more likely, bloodbaths will ensue.

Is this the direction we’d like our country to go? Many people are angry, many people are armed, everyone looking to silence the opposition and claim they are right. This is so far from the country I grew up in I don’t even recognize it anymore. Every day I read the news and sink farther into despair.

Why do we condone murder? Our justice system is so myopic that it fails to see the big picture. The Rittenhouse verdict was focused on the narrowest avenue — self-defense. Nobody seems to wonder why a teenager was roaming the streets of a protest where he had absolutely no business.

As a parent, would you permit your seventeen-year-old son to drive to a neighboring town where a violent protest was brewing — with his AR-15? It would be hard to imagine any parent saying yes in this scenario. I think any parent who has lived through the teenaged years with boys can attest to this. It simply makes no sense on any level. Never are teenagers called in to back up law enforcement. If local law enforcement is not up to the task they call in the national guard, not round up kids hanging around the high school gym.

There's a reason that auto insurance companies charge the highest premium to insure male drivers between 17 and 26. This is a group that has been proven time and time again that it lacks sound judgement. Teenaged boys often act without thinking, at time in their lives when their bodies are brimming with testosterone. What a combination for disaster!

Sure Rittenhouse said he was there to guard property. He needed some excuse. But there is no way the maturity of a teenager is up to the task of discerning that fine line of when to apply force. I doubt that was even a consideration. I raised three boys. Maturity and sound judgment are not the strong suits of a seventeen-year-old. He was there for the excitement, all the time wondering if he could pull the trigger if he got the chance. He got the opportunity, the AR-15 performed as expected, and the court affirmed vigilante justice and put one more nail in the coffin of free speech.


Gary Janosz

Grandfather, educator, businessperson, writing to understand our world and to make it a better place

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