People are being allowed to carry guns, even a military style AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, to the various town hall protests that are popping up all over the country. Outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech some protesters have openly displayed firearms in the crowd. Advocates for people’s rights to carry arms say that these people are simply exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and their other right to protest. But it wouldn’t take much imagination to support the theory that this is little more than an awful disaster waiting to happen. It might be little more than a matter of time.
All of these gun wielding citizens were well within their rights. No crimes were committed. At least no crime on any books was broken. Still, the just because there isn’t a law doesn’t mean people didn’t have to exercise common sense. There may not be any legal responsibility to keep these guns and rifles out of the area, but what about the personal responsibility factor?
Because some idiots want to flaunt their right to bear arms, somebody else will come along and say that since these people are too irresponsible to exercise some good judgment, maybe we need a law to keep firearms away from these political protest when there is a very good chance that they can become tender boxes of passions that could easily be provoked into something a lot more serious. Gun wielders everywhere will protest people taking their rights away. All too often some of us forget that with rights comes responsibility. It’s not just a one way street that allows us to abuse rights without consequences.
From the moment it became obvious that Mr. Obama was a serious contender for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, a lot of people were openly hostile against his achievements. First, it was just people denying that he was a viable candidate because he had no executive experience. Then, people tried to rally the dominant community against Mr. Obama because he was a Muslim at a Christian church with a pastor that hated white America. And then, when that didn’t work, people tried to paint Mr. Obama as a racist because he called his grandmother a typical white woman. People attacked his wife and called Michelle Obama an angry black woman who never had pride in America. Soon thereafter it morphed into some claim that he wasn’t a United States citizen despite the fact that the state government of Hawaii has confirmed over and over again that Mr. Obama was indeed born there in 1961. Then, after Mr. Obama won the election, a lot of people rushed to the gun stores as if there was a book signing for a new Harry Potter release. After the inauguration, people started throwing tea parties in protest to Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan because suddenly they woke up and realized that as American citizens they had to pay taxes as if it never occurred to them before. And now, we have a debate on healthcare and people now want to show their disgust over the whole matter by brandishing guns along with signs suggesting that some time of altercation is just a moment away.
Taking a gun to a political protest is, in a very absurd way, a political statement. It is a very loud proclamation of frustration and bitterness and a hint of dangerousness. But people fail to realize that not putting up with people exercising their right to openly brandish their weapons is also a political statement that should be recognized for its own level of frustration, bitterness, and its own level of dangerousness. Instead of people content to allow a happy compromise to exist that accepts the fact that people are entitled to bear arms and some of us are in fact legally armed, we have to deal with people who prefer to throw caution to the wind and challenge our arrangement based on civil sensibilities.
People who are willing to push the envelope by taking guns to political rallies already proven to be emotionally provocative are putting us all at risk. These people forget that we live in a culture that tolerates such mindless regulations as nothing larger than a toothpick can be taken through a metal detector at the airport. Women were not allowed to take breast milk through a TSA checkpoint lest somehow they’ll use it to pull a MacGyver and convert it into some kind of explosives using their toothpaste and lipstick. The rest of us might not be inclined to take guns away from the majority of the public in mass, but we certainly will not tolerate everyone bringing their guns down to the city center just to make a political point.
At Republican Party conventions last year, before the election in November, there was a story circulating that some conservative convention goers were openly threatening the man who would become President. And now we allow some of these same conservatives to tote their guns at these political events. That’s just plain collective stupidity. It makes the situation dangerous for everyone involved. People assigned to keep the peace and our President safe now have another factor to worry about. And it’s only a matter of time before somebody who really wants to make a name for their self tries something stupid to go out in a blaze of so-called glory. After all, we all have the right not to exercise good judgment.