A voice of moderation in the gun control debate?
“Guns and Ammo Magazine,” a stalwart of gun rights advocacy, fired contributing editor Dick Metcalf after he penned, and the magazine published, an editorial advocating moderate gun control.
In his opinion piece titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” Metcalf wrote in part,
“Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be….All U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly.”
The Horror. You would have thought he had come out for legalized cannibalism. Readers attacked the editor and the magazine on social media, and threatened to cancel subscriptions. “Guns and Ammo” editor Jim Bequette posted an apology to readers on the magazine’s website, saying he should never have run the column:
“In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, ‘Guns & Ammo’’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either. I made a mistake by publishing the column,” he continued. “I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.”
Bequette not only announced that “Guns & Ammo” had fired the author, but also that he was leaving as well.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is…
Was “Guns and Ammo” unfair to fire Dick Metcalf for writing a moderate and thoughtful opinion piece advocating some gun controls? Continue reading
Ayo Kimathi, an African-American, is an acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( a section of the Department of Homeland Security), and has been, apparently without incident, since 2009. He also operates and authors a web site, War on the Horizon, which predicts an “unavoidable, inevitable clash with the white race,” and explains how to prepare for it.
The latter fact is none of the government’s business, nor yours, nor mine, and certainly not that of Sarah Palin, who in her own inimitable style of making ignorance catchy and cute, exclaimed on her Facebook page, “His side ‘job’ running the ‘War On the Horizon’ website was reportedly approved by supervisors. Really, Fed? Really? Unflippingbelievable!”
No, it’s not. You can scour the government regulations and ethics requirements all you want—I have (Palin hasn’t.) There is nothing in them that prohibits a government employee in the Executive branch from espousing any political position he pleases, or that bans outside activities that do not interfere with the duties of the employee or constitute a conflict of interest. Nor should there be. As I read the rules, Kimathi had no obligation to ask permission to run his website, because his supervisor had no authority to stop him.
It is called freedom of speech, my friends.
Deal with it. Or rather, cherish it. Continue reading
You know what Redskins really means, don’t you? It means standing up to political correctness bullies.
Via the usually rational reporter David Plotz, we learn that Slate has decided that the Political Correctness Gods will no longer allow the on-line magazine to use the name of Washington’s NFL team when it is reporting on Washington’s NFL team. This is, of course, presumptuous, arrogant, and lousy journalism. It is not the media’s job to re-make the world into what pleases them. Slate doesn’t like the Redskins name so it’s not going to publish it. This seems to be the current mode of operation in the media today–it is no longer dedicated to reporting and commenting on the news, but rather reporting and commenting on the news it doesn’t find “offensive.”
The Redskins, as a team nickname, is certainly the strongest case for those who believe in censorship of team names with ethnic or national origins. The NCAA has already gone way beyond any rational execution of that mission however, and even in the case of Redskins, an unquestionably racist term when applied to Native Americans, the objection to a sports team name with supposedly negative historical implication has a lot of the “a chink in the armor” nonsense about it. For in Washington, D.C. and in football bars and Sunday afternoon gatherings, Redskins is not a slur, and does not refer to native Americans. It is the name given to a squad of NFL players who play pro football in the name of Washington, D.C., and a franchise that is worshiped in the city. When the name is used, it is not aimed at Native Americans or intended to denigrate them. It does not refer to Native Americans, and not intended to give offense. It is intended to designate the football team, because that is the team’s name. How can someone be offended at the use of a name that is not intended and is not a slur in the context of the use in question? There two answers to this: 1) Most people, including rational Native Americans, aren’t, and 2) Because such people want to be offended.
The name “Redskins” was never intended as a slur, as I have explained here before. Continue reading
When you become a lawyer, Justin, don’t do it in Indiana. Ask Paul Ogden why.
He hasn’t been jailed like his teenaged, online-gaming counterpart, but Indiana attorney Paul Ogden is also facing government sanctions for what was an unequivocal First Amendment communication. In Ogden’s case, he may lose his right to practice law. His offense is insulting a judge…in a private e-mail.
Ogden represented a client before Superior Court Judge David H. Coleman, and was not happy with Coleman’s handling of the case. Neither were Coleman’s supervisors, who removed Coleman from the case for failing to act within an appropriate period of time, under the so-called “lazy judge” act. Attorney Ogden, who also blogs about politics, commented to a fellow attorney in a private email that Coleman “should be turned in to the disciplinary commission for how he handled this case. If this case would have been in Marion County with a real probate court with a real judge, the stuff that went on with this case never would have happened.”
Somebody, perhaps the original recipient of the e-mail, forwarded it to the judge (lawyers can be a back-stabbing bunch), and the judge, insulted, demanded an apology. Ogden refused (lawyers can also be stubborn and have a tendency to stand on principle even when it is going to get them in trouble). Because Ogden declined to grovel, Judge Coleman invoked Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2 and filed a grievance against him to the Indiana Attorney Disciplinary Commission. The Rule, which is essentially identical to the American Bar Association version, prohibits a lawyer from… Continue reading
Is it just my flawed impression, or are Americans increasingly less supportive of free speech, free thought, and artistic expression? If so, that is a worrisome development for our democracy and its culture, and if so, yes, I believe the willingness of our government and its leaders to maneuver around the Bill of Rights in “ends justify the means” conduct has fueled the trend.
Now Rolling Stone is the target. The Sixties magazine icon had the nerve to place Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaevon its latest edition’s cover, looking like a male model, and, we hear, the families of the victims are outraged and their communities prefer their sensibilities over liberty. Jumping on the bandwagon, retailers have decided to make all publications afraid to challenge its readers by announcing that they won’t sell the issue in Boston, and there are hints of an advertiser boycott.
Unfair, un-American, dangerous and silly. Continue reading
Here I was, naively thinking that the threatened jailing of a student for resisting a teacher’s efforts to make him remove his T-shirt with the image of a rifle on it was the most shocking proof of how imperiled free thought and expression are in today’s fearful, dim-witted and child abuse-rationalizing America. Then this jaw-dropping story came across my screen, and I realized that the situation is far worse than I imagined or could imagine—and I have a pretty good imagination.
Now the question is, I think, this: what are we going to do about it?
Nineteen-year-old Justin Carter has been in prison, since March. You will not believe why, or perhaps, being both paranoid and right, you will. A Facebook friend and video game pal described him in an exchenge as “crazy” and “messed up in the head,” and Carter replied, with sarcasm detectible by anyone who isn’t an SS officer. “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts. lol. jk.” A Canadian busybody read the exchange, and decided to report Justin to the Austin police, who then arrested him–he was 18 at the time—searched his family’s house, and charged him with making a “terroristic threat.” Continue reading