Some interesting developments/revelations regarding the tragic Gabrielle Giffords shooting:
As I predicted just last night, proposals for legal restrictions on free speech are already sprouting up like spring flowers (and it's only January). For example, a Democratic Congressman, Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), is planning to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to "use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress." In an interview with CNN, Brady referred to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in remarking, "You can't put bull's-eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official." Of course, as I showed in last night's post, she did no such thing. I suppose, under the proposed legislation, I could go to jail for posting this:
Oh, wait . . . I already did. My bad. It's not a cross-hair symbol, but you get the idea, right? ;-) Unless you're a pot-smoking, demented anarchist, in which case, please disregard this post. Please.
And as you might expect, South Carolina Dem. Congressman James E. ("Jim") Clyburn says that in the wake of the Tuscon attack, he "wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine." Curiously, Clyburn's daughter Mignon Clyburn is an FCC commissioner; it's reported that she took a stand on the issue during her confirmation hearings and said that she opposed such a policy in "any way shape or form."
We've also been reminded that after Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at an Army base in Ft. Hood, Texas last November, killing 13 people, legions of news media types and government officials issued statements imploring the public not to "jump to conclusions" that the shooting was an act of Islamist violence--even though, within hours of the attack, it emerged that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before he began shooting, visited violence-oriented Islamic websites, wrote Internet posts justifying Muslim suicide bombings, opposed American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Islam, and told a neighbor shortly before the shootings that he was going "to do good work for God." Now--despite steadily mounting evidence that Giffords shooting suspect Jared Loughner has been a paranoid leftist-anarchist and angry with Giffords for at least three years, before anyone south of Anchorage had ever heard of Sarah Palin--many of the same people are insisting that the shooting was an act of terrorism prompted by Palin's right-wing political vitriol, and are clamoring for limits on free speech. Where was all this righteous indignation when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were being hung, drawn, quartered and burned in effigy on an almost daily basis by left-wing zealots? Where were the calls for "better judgment" and "cooler heads" when Bush was being angrily blamed for everything from Hurricane Katrina to swine flu to economic collapse to Democratic failure at the polls--as he still is today?
Speaking of limits on speech, you might be surprised to learn that the father of nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, Jared Loughner's youngest victim, regards this terrible tragedy as part of the price of living in a free society, and does not want more restrictions on our liberties. I can't fathom this man's grief, or his nobility.
The lesson we need to take from the Tucson tragedy is Mr. Green's, not Rep. Clyburn's or Brady's. We must NOT let the violent act of a lone madman, acting for no one's twisted purpose but his own, become the excuse for a stifling of free expression by the powers of law or of political correctness. Everyone must speak and act with common decency and common sense. But we must not delegate to any governmental agency or social/political elite the power to decide in advance, for everyone else, just what expressions fall within and without those limits.