I could support the artfully-named Free Flow Of Information Act (actually I'm thrilled its sponsors didn't dub it Judy's law). There is a good case to be made that reporters' sources, who may or may not, be exposing government wrong-doing be protected, but the press must be held responsible at some point if it makes the decision to reveal government secrets that end up adversely affecting the national security.
That's something that the federal government hasn't had the stomach to address for decades. We mere mortals can, in some cases, be held liable for our irresponsible and damaging speech; the media's precious freedom of the press shouldn't be subject to a lesser interpretation.
The Buffalo News editorial board worked itself up into a regular lather over the Supreme Court's decision on the partial-birth abortion law, and, in the process, completely mischaracterized the Court's role in our government.
If the United States really wishes to protect vulnerable new lives
from some very rare acts of wanton destruction, there are reasonable
ways to do that. Wednesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, and the
abortion-limiting law that it upheld, are not among them.
to respect human life in all its forms, the federal Partial-Birth
Abortion Ban Act and the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding it in fact
show a stunning disrespect for the lives of American women and their
ability, acting under a doctor’s care, to decide for themselves which
medical procedures are necessary and proper.
The basis for
both, implicit in the statute and explicit in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s
majority opinion, is that women are such dithery and tender flowers
that it requires an act of Congress to stop them from taking an action
that they may come to regret, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but
soon, and for the rest of their lives.
In the end, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman's constitutional right to an abortion is not violated by this particular limitation on the medical procedure employed. The Court passed no judgement on the mental abilities of women and made no pronouncement on the morality of the procedure in question. Limits on partial birth abortion, it decided, do not run afoul of the Constitution.
Many disagree. If so, they should submit an amendment. It's their right and perhaps their moral duty. Whining about the supposed personal opinions of the court's members serves no particular purpose.
And there’s the rub. Sure, I could be trusted to walk around armed. And maybe you. But what about that guy down the block?
about the guy who regularly risks his life and yours with a 3,000-
pound weapon he drives right on your bumper before hopping lanes? Do
you trust him with a gun?
Or what about the Little League
parents who beat up coaches and team managers — and even opposing kids
— when Junior doesn’t get enough playing time or gets tackled too
roughly? Would you trust them with a gun?
“We can’t just have
everyone running around armed to the teeth, ready to do whatever they
think they need to do,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy
We'll leave the question of Mr. Watson's trustworthiness with a firearm for another post, but he is right that there are a lot of unstable and quick-to-anger people that we'd prefer not to own guns. The problem is that those people probably already do and if not, they can come into Buffalo tonight and pick one up on any of dozens of street corners without so much as getting out of the car.
Rod Watson and those who think like him would prefer that we law-abiding, non-violent types agree to serve as some sort of moral example and give up our right to own guns. But growing numbers of Americans are realizing what a foolish compact that would be and are demanding instead their moral right to defend themselves when someone threatens to harm or kill them.
Since I've lived on the West Side I've heard gunfire erupt from a car on the corner next to my house, I've had a 15 year old boy pull a handgun out of his pocket just to "impress" me and I've had to detour over one block coming home late one night when I saw some lunatic weaving down the middle of the street waving a pistol over his head. And now Rod Watson [and the police commissioner evidently] would deny me the legal ability to have a gun because they're not sure if I can be trusted?
When it comes time to lay blame for the deaths of 30 people at Virginia Tech, I hope the Virginia state legislature is on the list of perps.
A bill that would have given college students and employees the
right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in
the General Assembly.
House Bill 1572 didn't get through the House Committee on Militia,
Police and Public Safety. It died Monday [Jan. 31, 2006] in the subcommittee stage, the
first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.
The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on
behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable
Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill's defeat
other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.
I fully expect that by tomorrow morning we'll start hearing the appeals for more gun laws. But how many times over can we make them illegal? A few people would almost inevitably have been killed today; we can't eliminate guns any more than we can eliminate drugs. But we shouldn't be left as sitting ducks for the mentally deranged either. If one person in that classroom where so many died had been able to shoot back, the death toll might have been significantly lower.
And how's this for a regrettable statement?
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was
defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the
General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students,
faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
If enacted today, the ERA would have a number of effects that many
political liberals will deplore, including abolishing affirmative
action for women and cutting back on key aspects of Title IX. It might
also have some results that they would approve of, such as potentially
undercutting bans on same-sex marriage. To my mind, the effects that
liberals dislike are more likely to arise - at least in the short term
- than those they will applaud.
But that's probably only likely if we have a Supreme Court that has a conservative majority -- that is, one that considers itself bound by the letter of the law and not its, um, penumbras.