Monday, April 14, 2014

God, Guns and Hitler

I have certain misgivings about hate crime laws, but we're reminded this morning -- the eve of Pesach or The Passover, and a week before Hitler's birthday, that people who belong to hate-based organizations and creeds, who post virulent hate messages and calls for extermination on-line, need their constitutional right to keep and bear arms infringed.

I feel quite protective of our guaranteed right to free speech and our right to think what we think, but speech that incites to violence, that creates a mortal danger to the public, is something else and that's been established for a long time. Frazier Glenn Miller is a founding member of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party.  That's not a crime, more's the pity, nor is shouting "Heil Hitler" from the back of a police car, but perhaps we ought to consider making it a felony to belong to groups who advocate murder because as far as I know, it's illegal for felons to own firearms.

I know -- penalties and restrictions don't prevent criminals and especially psychopathic criminals from committing crimes, but there's something wrong with Mr. Miller or Mr. Cross as he often calls himself, to own weapons.  There's something wrong if  the targets of hate groups need to arm themselves or to hire armed guards or to go about in fear because we elevate and protect a right to be armed above the right to remain alive.  We shouldn't have to wait for people like that to run amok before we do anything. Threatening violence against groups or individuals should be sufficient to disarm someone. 

Lest one think that being a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant is protection and a reason not to worry, Methodists were shot in this tragedy as well.


Frank Moraes said...

I share your concern about hate crimes. And I also share your wish to shut these kind of people and groups down. What bothers me is that it seems that if such groups were Muslim, the FBI would be all over them. But because they are white, there seems to be this idea that "whites will be whites."

I'm more than willing to be a first amendment absolutist. But the country isn't. So we and up with this kind of Animal Farm mentality where everyone has free speech except for those that don't.

Think back to Sharron Angle and her "Second Amendment remedies." What was that but a call to arms? Yet if someone had followed her, she would have distanced herself from the act and never would have been held accountable.

So I'm willing to allow things like hate crime laws. Because the system doesn't allocate free speech evenly. A hundred years ago it didn't allow a socialist to encourage draft resistance. But last week, Miller was allowed to encourage people to murder minority groups? That's madness.

Capt. Fogg said...

I always enjoy your comments.

Even far more recently, it was dangerous in my youth to question the draft and the war to preserve colonialism in Vietnam and weren't we all called names for questioning the need to invade Iraq? I lived in Chicago in 1968 and just standing in a park with your mouth shut was cause to get your head cracked open.

Encouraging violence -- illegal violence -- damned well should be criminal but so many Americans think in terms of armed resistance to Government they're afraid of being prosecuted for advocating it. Many own military-looking weapons and fantasize about some imminent conflict. Sharron, if not one of them, knows how to enlist them and part of the opposition to hate crime laws comes from these folks.

They'll tell you that killing a minority shouldn't be more illegal than killing anyone else, but that of course is a distraction. Preaching violence against other Americans, whether for racial or political or psychotic reasons should damn well be open to prosecution and suspension of the right to own arms.