1997-06-15 - Re: Do reporters have special rights the rest of us don’t have?

Header Data

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
To: “William H. Geiger III” <whgiii@amaranth.com>
Message Hash: 5f7dc5cb1388edcd69b0219e7d6fcd5187ad3114ae2c086dfe0158c6bf6de9f7
Message ID: <19970615082454.12999@bywater.songbird.com>
Reply To: <19970614230152.15019@bywater.songbird.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-15 15:33:38 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 23:33:38 +0800

Raw message

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 23:33:38 +0800
To: "William H. Geiger III" <whgiii@amaranth.com>
Subject: Re: Do reporters have special rights the rest of us don't have?
In-Reply-To: <19970614230152.15019@bywater.songbird.com>
Message-ID: <19970615082454.12999@bywater.songbird.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Sun, Jun 15, 1997 at 01:47:14AM -0500, William H. Geiger III wrote:
>Well Kent we must be reading from two different dictionaries:
>infringe: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of
>encroach: to enter by gradual steps or by stelth into the possessions or
>rights of another.

No, that's essentially what my dictionary says.  The issue isn't
"infringe".  The issue is exactly *what* is being infringed upon --
what does it mean to "keep and bear arms", and who is being referred
to by "the people", and what is the meaning of the clause about a
"well *regulated* militia" (my emphasis).

>By the above definition this is exactly what the government has been doing
>with it's ever increasing restictions on the possesions of guns by it's
>citizens and what the founding fathers wished to posses. If they had
>wanted the government to have the power to control and regulate the
>ownership of guns then they would have said so.

I believe they did.  There are numerous other clauses in the 
constitution that grant powers to congress to regulate various things 
in broad and general terms -- those adequately cover guns.

Furthermore, the constitution only covers the federal government.  
State governments have a whole other level of control over individual 
ownership of guns.

A nearby town recently passed a hotly contested city ordinance
forbidding the sale of "junk guns" in the city limits.  Such
ordinances are fairly common -- this case was unusual because it went
to a popular vote.  Perhaps it will be appealed, but I believe that 
an appeal will lose.

>The Bill of Rights were not added to the Constitution to give the
>government more power but to restrict their power.

Here are some interesting clauses from the constitution, listing certain 


    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and
    naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of
    the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia,
    and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the
    Service of the United States, reserving to the States
    respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority
    of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by

[note: ..."suppress Insurrections"]
[note: the mention of the "Militia", and how they have a clear idea
       of what it is and how it is to be used]

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
    into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested
    by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in
    any Department or Officer thereof.

>The whole purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to provide a final check & 
>balance on the government. 

My reading of the constitution and supporting documents does not
support this claim.

In fact, William, though it may not appear so, I am relatively 
impartial on interpretation of the second amendment -- I own several 
guns, my family has always owned guns, I was a member of the NRA at 
the earliest possible age, back when their focus was responsible use 
and not advocacy for large gun companies.

My beef with you and Tim and the other gun advocates on the list is 
precisely this issue of responsibility, not ownership of guns per 
se.  Guns are not toys.  They don't belong in the hands of children.
[Do you think the constitution guarantees that two-year olds should 
be able to carry guns, BTW?  If not, why not?]

>Our founding fathers were all too aware that it
>was manditory that the population must be well armed inorder preserve
>their freedom against an unjust government.

I refer you again to the "suppress Insurrections" clause above.

>An unarmed people are just so much sheep waiting for the slaughter.

Perhaps true.  However, that does not imply that every single 
individual therefore must own a gun.  Saying "the people are armed" 
is not the same thing as saying "every single individual has a gun".  
"The people" includes babies, the blind, quadraplegics, psychopaths, 
convicted felons in jail, Quakers.

Kent Crispin				"No reason to get excited",
kent@songbird.com			the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55