Monday, November 10, 2008

At what cost, freedom?

I am an American, for good or for bad, It is where I was born and the language that I speak. I happen to understand and speak a few extra languages too, but my primary language is American English. And here I am implementing my 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. BUT with every right that we are granted or promised, we must also promise to use these rights with some responsibility. As the 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, it is not meant to allow one to cause a stampede by screaming "fire!" in a crowded theater. This is a common example, and one that most people seem to understand. But let's look at this freedom from a different angle, where do we draw the line at the "right to know?"

In the last couple of decades the "investigative reporter" has become the great enlightener of our generation. They have exposed corruption and scandal in every quarter of government and business. They depend on the whistle blower and the confidential informant to get their stories and facts. They have done lots of good over the years, but at the same time, they may be responsible for much harm too. When exposing national security concerns to the public, is it truly wise to stress over and over again which ports are most susceptible to terrorist attack, or wouldn't it be more prudent to say simply that "certain ports" are still vulnerable? Let the bad guys do their own homework, and quit giving them easy directions. When I lived in Florida, the port of the city that I lived in was considered to be one of the easiest terrorist targets in the US. The local paper even published a study that they had carried out themselves Detailing the weaknesses of this port. Including the best targets, the police response times, the security holes and the best forms of attack. Why isn't this considered to be treason? "Here is your target, the best way to attack it, and the tools you need to do it!" Now it is truly my belief that one must be willing to sacrifice a certain amount of security in order to preserve freedom, but at the same time it seems that to simply hand out information to our enemies is foolish and irresponsible.

My personal favorite is the 2nd Amendment and the right to "...bear arms..." . This is a point of serious argument, both the pros and the cons, but the truth is that these debates can easily be argued as points of responsibility. The NRA (National Rifle Association for those who may not know) is a great argument for both sides of the fence. They are adamant that guns are everybody's right and there should never be a reason to give them up. They are against registration, or a gun census, and any restrictive legislation. To some extent I can agree with some of these points, but not all. What is the harm in a gun census? Unless you have something to hide, or you wish to do something illegal, you should have no reason to be afraid of your local law enforcement agency knowing how many guns you have in your home. Of course we all know that one or two can always be reported stolen, and kept in reserve when the "jackbooted thugs" come to collect your weapons. In Great Britain it is now illegal to keep a gun in a private home, they must be kept at a gun club, or a hunt club (or so I have read I can't say that this is truly a fact). But there are still illegal guns out in the streets. Not nearly as many as in the United States, but they are out there. I own shoot and carry pistols, rifles, and shotguns. In NY state in order to purchase a pistol one must have a "pistol Permit" and each county has different standards. My permit is a "carry/posses on premises" permit, and I am allowed by law to carry my pistol(s) anywhere that they are not expressly prohibited, and I generally do. Generally, but not always, and with consideration to where I am and who will be there. I exercise responsibility. I don't carry when there will be lots of children around, I don't carry when I will be drinking alcohol. I don't carry an exposed weapon into a convenience store. I have educated my nephews about guns, but when they are around I keep my guns out of reach and unloaded or even better, locked up. Why, because I wish to be responsible. I enjoy my freedoms and I wish to keep them and allow them to be passed on to following generations.

Guns and cars, 2 things that are more American than just about anything, while the liberals cry over and over how guns are killing so many people, they seem to barely take notice of the numbers racked up on America's highways.

Motor vehicles accidents account for more deaths than all natural disasters combined. In fact in the United States your chances of being injured in an motor vehicle accident is better than one in a thousand, in any one year.

If you wish to do the math, crime stats for murder can be found here. Yes, when weapons are involved Guns are the biggest offender, but they have to be employed by somebody, and most often are used With the intent to kill! Automobiles are killers by accident, by poor training and inexperience, by inattention, by bad weather, and who knows how many other reasons. But who ever heard of bad weather being the reason for a gun death? ( ok, ok, maybe a hunting accident, but be realistic...) Yet there is no big movement to outlaw Cars. ( Which BTW are NOT A Constitutional right! )

Many freedoms come with a cost, I will look at others in the future, but these 2 are on the surface recently.

No comments: