The recent massacre in Tuscon has once again stirred the political pot. What happened to Gabrielle Gifford and the others who were killed this weekend has revived our discussion of gun-control and the venomous nature of our political rhetoric.
Ed Kilgore’s sorts through some of this in a post at The New Republic. Here is a snippet:
But there is one habit of conservative rhetoric that is relevant to the events in Tucson, and it would be helpful to single it out for condemnation instead of indulging in broad discussions about the “climate of hate.” It’s the suggestion that Americans have an inherent “right of revolution” which entitles them to deploy violence when they are convinced that government officials are trammeling on their liberties, and that we are at a stage of history where such fears are legitimate.
This is the nasty underlying implication of Sharron Angle’s remark last year that “Second Amendment remedies” might be necessary to deal with policies supported by her Senate opponent, Harry Reid. And it’s been the subtext of many years of conservative rhetoric about how the Second Amendment is the crown jewel of the Constitution because it ensures a heavily armed citizenry that can take matters into its own hands if government goes too far. In combination with Tea Party militants’ open assertions that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and marginal increases in the marginal tax rate represent an intolerable tyranny, reminiscent of the British oppression that made the American Revolution necessary, this belief that Americans should be stockpiling weapons in case they have to stop voting against government officials and start shooting them is extremely dangerous. And yes, this is the sort of thing that could help motivate a nutjob like Jared Lee Loughner to exercise his own right to revolution against the socialist tyrant Gabby Giffords.
The invocation of the right to deploy “Second Amendment remedies” would probably get a different reception if radical Islamists or black nationalists went around saying they wanted to do so in order to prevent federal tyranny. But the situation is no different.