Comment of the Day: “Ethics Observations On The San Bernardino Massacre”

suspicion

I’m traveling today with scant access to a computer, so it was gratifying to see a substantive and interesting discussion by commenters on this post. Michael Ejercito wins this round with a Comment of the Day that begins by highlighting a disturbing quote by Nick Kristof, taking the hand-off from President Obama. I don’t know how liberals can read this stuff and not get chills considering where their ideology has led them. Once the heralds of freedom and democracy, their leaders and advocates are now calling for citizens to be robbed of core rights based on suspicion rather than due process. And whose suspicion? The party with members who advocate arresting climate change skeptics and expelling college students if there is a 10% chance that a rape accusation against them is warranted used to be willing to fight for liberty. Now it seems to believe liberty is too dangerous.

Here’ s Michael:

From Reason:

“Universal background checks would only compound this injustice by improving enforcement of rules that arbitrarily deprive people of the right to armed self-defense. Yet instead of reconsidering the absurdly broad excuses for taking away people’s Second Amendment rights, Obama and Kristof want to expand them. “We have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes,” Obama told CBS News, “but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm, and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.” Kristof concurs:

One man’s loophole is another man’s due process. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that the FBI’s so-called Terrorist Watchlist includes more than 1 million names. The ACLU describes the list as a “virtually standardless” dragnet that “ensnares innocent people and encourages racial and religious profiling.” Although the list is supposedly limited to people “reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity,” something like two-fifths have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”

Under current law, certain convictions, including many that have nothing to do with violence, result in the permanent loss of Second Amendment rights. Obama and Kristof think that’s a wimpy approach. In their view, mere suspicion, no matter the grounds for it, should be enough to disarm someone. Why insist on a conviction, or even formal charges, when public safety is at stake?”

If we are going to treat people as terrorists, based on mere suspicion, without even bothering dragging them before an Ex Parte Quirin style military tribunal, let alone a criminal court, then there are other things we could do in addition to keeping them from buying guns:

– Prohibit them from practicing law or medicine.
– Prohibit them from voting.
– Allow police to search them for any reason whatsoever without a warrant.
– Require them to wear distinctive armbands when in public

Or we could simply dispense with the pleasantries and just kill them all.

71 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Ethics Observations On The San Bernardino Massacre”

  1. Well if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it just might be a duck. I think it is highly unlikely that somebody said “Merry Christmas” to this guy and he got so mad that he drove back to his home and picked up his wife with their assault rifles and ammo and spontaneously decided to wipe out these celebrants. By the way, thousands of rounds were found by the police in his home along with pipe bombs. But Obama thinks it could be workplace violence.

  2. “Although the list is supposedly limited to people “reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity,” something like two-fifths have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”

    The ongoing danger of these lists — especially in this computer age — is that once a name is on it, it isn’t likely to come off. Ever. For any reason. They are essentially permanent blacklists, containing who knows how many lacking proof of or even support for suspicion of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Livelihood and life-destroyers. Anyone can be reported by anyone for any reason. Families and associates are branded as well.

    …. One of the commenters here was objecting the other day to the use of Hitler’s name in a modern day big-lie comparison as if that were a stand-alone situation. It isn’t. It’s only a useful model. If the model is understood, it cannot be overused: it works where it works. So it is with the word Fascist. And Nazi. The analogy is valid and imminent.

    As with Germany (and Austria — don’t forget Austria, home of the class-conscious authoritarian, provider of a large percentage of the most obedient and vicious SS officers; the first, worst and largest of the slave labor camps; and the largest Gestapo force outside of Berlin), in the United States today the opaque, untouchable, increasingly powerful organizations are the ones thriving in times of paranoia like this, overriding former government or legal or (certainly) popular authority by special dispensation granted since 9/11 by a terrified citizenry gone deaf, blind and dumb (in both senses of the word).

    The only way to prevent this further fascistic takeover and to begin yanking their tentacles loose, is to have a leader who believes in the democratic principles and knows how to apply them with the full cooperation of a bipartisan government. Not happening anytime soon. So it’s up to we-the-people to start talking to each other, to keep doors open until and unless it is reasonable to close them (and even then, never to lock them, between ourselves or our borders), to have the intelligence to recognize knowledge in others, the modesty to learn from them and discipline to learn for ourselves, so that we may be able to identify and defend incursions on any and ALL our freedoms (which means choosing the information medium least dependent on bribery or influence); to have the courage to stand up and speak out against those incursions,… and while we’re at it, to learn a lot more about ethical behavior instead of running to hide behind slogans and cowardly, lazy quick-fixes before we turn any further into “good-German” only-MY-life-matters monsters.

    “Universal”-anything that prohibits what is heretofore granted by our Constitution, should be anathema to a country where rights are honored and celebrated (little as they may be understood, shared or well applied). We need to comprehend, cooperate, rein in our biases, and … to begin with … Beware the Lists and the people who compile them.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.  ~Arthur Weasley

  3. So, are you saying we shouldn’t have a no-fly list?

    Given the risks of people getting on planes, I don’t find a no-fly list a terrible hardship. And I say that as someone who was once on the damn list, and was annoyed at having been caught up in the dragnet, it took months to get off it.

    Should such a list be better run? Sure. But the trouble with discussing rights as if they’re unlimited – like you and the ACLU – is you end up suggesting things like we should get rid of no-fly lists, because you can’t see a simple distinction.

    As far as extending a no-fly list to voting rights or medical licensing, I completely agree with you, it would be a travesty.

    But to extend it to buying guns? Absolutely! If there’s anything more dangerous than letting no-fly list people fly, it’s letting them buy guns.

    These arguments scream out for a simple distinction, yet they’re always phrased in terms of absolutes. Absolutes means you make no distinction between using crude lists for non-lethal decisions like licensing, and terribly lethal decisions like letting someone fly or buy a gun.

    You say one man’s loophole is another man’s due process. Sounds great, but please – we have GOT to be able to start making simple distinctions. We all know when to apply a crappy list despite its crappiness, and when to back off said list. Gun buying belongs in the former category.

    • For those who think the country has moved left-ward in recent years, here’s Ronald Reagan in a 1991 NYTimes Op Ed:

      “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.”

      He added that if tighter gun regulations “were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.”

      What a commie.

      • Of course you leftists all think Reagan was senile while he was still in office, so by 1991 he would have been long gone.

        • I typically find that when someone responds to an argument by saying “all you [X] believe [X],” without addressing the actual argument made, it’s because that person has no coherent response to the argument being made, and instead feels more comfortable making assumptions based on partisanship.

          Is that why you posted the reply that you did?

          • No, it was just a cheap shot, that’s all.

            Reagan’s statement is reasonable. The difference is that he was trusted by gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. He was talking about reasonable regulations, and nobody thought he wanted to make guns inaccessible or ban them. Reagan was talking about cumulative statistics. When Obama picks specif shootings and says, regardless of the circumstances, we need to stop shootings like THIS, then he is really saying that we need to ban guns, because reasonable regulation won’t stop the Dylann Roofs. THAT and the fact that Obama is demonstrably anti-gun (even in national defense) and lies causes people who don’t think guns should be banned not to trust him. And they shouldn’t.

            • Yeah, and the other cheap shot was Charles attempting the subtle spin that reasonably light regulations from a Trustworthy source shows that America was far more left “back then” than it is now.

      • Lemme see, during his presidency, he was a defender of the 2nd Amendment. After his presidency he advocated for some curtailment of American rights.

        So, prior in time he was an ardent defender of American Rights, later in time, he mentioned curtailing some of those rights. So before, more to the right, after, more to the left. Another way of saying that is “the Country has moved left-ward in recent years”.

        Now of course that facile thinking is a bit too simplified, but it works given you made a facile statement consisting of cherry picking a single event and hastily generalizing it…

    • Charles. With absolutely no respect: Pull your head out of your ass. You don’t get to compare second amendment rights to the non-existent right of flying on a goddamn airplane.

      • I took some time to breathe.

        While that outburst may have soiled any future conversation, perhaps it would be beneficial to consider the other rights protected by the constitution, and what ramifications not allowing individuals constitutional rights based on extra-judiciary measures might have.

        Freedom of speech? Not if we think you’re a terrorist!
        Soldiers not allowed to be quartered in your home? Fuck no. You’re a terrorist!
        Prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure? Nope, you’re on the list.
        Due process? Juries? Cruel and Unusual Punishment? Man… Have you even heard of Guantanamo?

        Seriously Charles, I’m not even sorry. This is probably the stupidest thing you’ve ever suggested. And I’m disappointed in you.

        • HT, that’s a perfect example of the kind of absolutist thinking I’m talking about.

          The first amendment, since you mention it first, has never been held to be absolute. The classic example is you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.

          –There are legal limitations on free speech called “copyright law.”

          –There are laws against defamation and slander, not to mention incitement to riot.

          –Basically, the limitation on person A’s rights is usually defined as the point at where they impinge on person B’s rights.

          In the case of the second amendment, as I’m sure you know, it contains some of the most ambiguous language in the constitution, with that clause “a well regulated militia being…” hanging out there like a Wile E. Coyote who just ran past the cliff wall.

          To further suggest it’s relative not absolute, the Supreme Court itself, back in 1876, ruled unambiguously that “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.” [U.S. v. Cruikshank]

          So let’s back off the absolutist horror that anyone might tamper with gun rights. We tamper with absolutist interpretations of he First Amendment all the time. And as to guns, may I presume you might be OK with prosecuting someone who left a loaded handgun lying around a kindergarten classroom?

          This debate needs a little less absolutist outrage, and a little more thoughtful parsing of how to apply principles to the real world.

          And maybe a little less insulting language wouldn’t hurt either.

          • You know what the difference was between those examples you listed and a list of people the administration doesn’t like too much? Laws. You know who had to rule on all those exceptions before they became exceptions? The supreme court. Ass.

            You get respect when you earn it. You earn it by being less stupid.

            • And as an added fuck you… My point, which you so conveniently ignored, wasn’t that gun rights should be absolute. It was that constitutional amendments shouldn’t be tampered with by extrajudiciary means. You don’t get to bemoan an absolutist stance while ignoring what the conversation is actually about.

          • But Cruikshank is no longer good law, and the exceptions to the First Amendment all involve intentional and material harm using lies—destroying a reputation, causing a riot or panic, lying to create a fraud, or breaking contracts and pledges, as with revealing government secrets As it affects pure content, the First Amendment is very close to absolute. Copyright is property law, not speech….the First Amendment isn’t the issue.

            Badly written or not, the context of the second 1) relates to individual rights as contrasted with government control, 2) suggests that “militia” relates to right to be able to defend oneself against an oppressive sovereign. 3) That means self-defense, and thus that the government cannot limit the right to the point that individuals are at the mercy of the police and the military.

            • Jack, thanks for those comments; as a non-lawyer, they’re informative to me.

              Follow up questions: doesn’t saying that “Cruikshank is no longer good law” make the point that “the law” changes? Which goes to suggest even constitutional interpretation of rights are not immutable?

              Doesn’t your enumeration of exceptions – copyright law as property, exceptions for intentional and material harm – nonetheless constitute a meaningful “carve-out” of the first amendment? Making the point that even constitutional amendments are (quite) commonly limited in the real world?

              • “Doesn’t your enumeration of exceptions – copyright law as property”

                Copyright law ISN’T an exception, quit doubling down on error AFTER you’ve been educated. Copyright law is PROPERTY law and completely separate from Free Speech. Jack LITERALLY said that in plainer English than mine, then you reiterated that it was an exception to Free Speech. Why do you do this?

                “exceptions for intentional and material harm – nonetheless constitute a meaningful “carve-out” of the first amendment? Making the point that even constitutional amendments are (quite) commonly limited in the real world?”

                ARE NOT EXCEPTIONS EITHER. We have rights, and as you mentioned before, our rights END where exercising them harms others. That’s where law steps in, to define the very behaviors that inflict harm.

                All your “exceptions” to free speech are precisely equitable as *conduct that harms others*, you then seek to analogize that to the 2nd Amendment by asserting an exception limiting the ability to purchase firearms saying “we curtail rights all the time”. Except we DON’T curtail rights, we define where exercising those rights crosses into harmful behavior.

                Now do you damnedest to show how the legal purchase of a firearm (as is our right) HARMS one person without adding the additional steps of that person going and committing acts ALREADY defined by law that does harm people. Remember this is all a balancing act of small numbers, so no facile comments about Americans owning tanks and nukes.

            • “Copyright is property law, not speech” strikes me as a false dichotomy, or at least an oversimplification. If I’m not allowed to play a song I like in a commercial I pay for without being sued, the suing party is infringing my speech using the government as an intermediary.

              • I don’t see your argument. Taking one’s intellectual property without permission is theft. Theft is a crime. The idea behind freedom of speech is the right of expression, not to expropriate things of tangible value from others. A book is both speech and property that has value. Speech that is also theft is not just speech. The non-speech component can be prohibited. In other words, you are free to create your own work of expression that doesn’t illegally incorporate expression that belongs to another.

                • I didn’t say JUST speech, but the way you present it sounds like you think it’s JUST property, which struck me as false. It seems like an legal and ethical conflict to me in which the law has mostly come down on the side of intellectual property, with some exceptions in the name of fair use. It’s not quite like regular property law, for various reasons beyond what I want to get into, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that speech using copied words is categorically not speech any more than it would be to claim speech that’s paid for is categorically not speech.

                  • Let’s say expression, first of all, which we have decided is speech.
                    Second, there’s speech and there’s protected speech. If its conduct first, then the speech doesn’t matter. If what I call speech is using intellectual property that legally belongs under the control of its owner, then it never gets to be speech–it’s misappropriation of property to use what belongs to someone else in a commercial manner, because one is taking what belongs to another without compensation. Even newspapers, which get away with murder, can’t publish a copywritten novel beginning to end, and call it speech. And rightly so, yes?

          • –There are legal limitations on free speech called “copyright law.”

            –There are laws against defamation and slander, not to mention incitement to riot.

            –Basically, the limitation on person A’s rights is usually defined as the point at where they impinge on person B’s rights.

            None of which involves lists of persons to be determined by the executive branch.

          • Do you actually mind answering the situation HT posed to you, which you completely ignored to go off on your strawman rant that was riddled with fallacy?

            He said:

            “While that outburst may have soiled any future conversation, perhaps it would be beneficial to consider the other rights protected by the constitution, and what ramifications not allowing individuals constitutional rights based on extra-judiciary measures might have.

            Freedom of speech? Not if we think you’re a terrorist!
            Soldiers not allowed to be quartered in your home? Fuck no. You’re a terrorist!
            Prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure? Nope, you’re on the list.
            Due process? Juries? Cruel and Unusual Punishment? Man… Have you even heard of Guantanamo?”

            Now that we’ve readjusted your aim, have at it:

            Should we arbitrarily curtail Freedom of Speech for someone we think may have ties to terrorism, all before an actual trial?

            I’ll leave it at that so you aren’t overwhelmed by the other enumerated rights HT mentioned.

            • “Should we arbitrarily curtail Freedom of Speech for someone we think may have ties to terrorism, all before an actual trial?”

              No.

              But “should we arbitrarily curtail freedom to buy guns for someone we think may have ties to terrorism, all before an actual trial?”

              Yes.

              Because it’s hard for me to imagine a case of free speech implying as imminent and significant a threat to life and property. I have much less trouble imagining an imminent threat to life and property posed by a suspected terrorist purchasing guns. I don’t find the idea of a background check for gun purchases aimed at revealing mental defectives or suspected terrorists to constitute unacceptable limitations on constitutional rights.

              • ““Should we arbitrarily curtail Freedom of Speech for someone we think may have ties to terrorism, all before an actual trial?”
                No.

                But “should we arbitrarily curtail freedom to buy guns for someone we think may have ties to terrorism, all before an actual trial?”
                Yes.”

                You tell me what legal device would allow the administration to do one without logically allowing it to do the other? Seriously Charles. We get it. You hate guns. If you want to do something towards infringing the right to bear arms, you should at least do it honestly and lobby for the repeal of the second amendment, because using the rest of the constitution as collateral damage in your jihad is fucking insane.

              • Just so we’re clear, for all the good readers of Ethics Alarms, you are advocating not even a guilty before proven innocent process, but a guilty before even being investigated and charged process.

                In summary, you’re pretty well cool with pre-crime and other totalitarian methodologies. Curtailing people’s rights entirely because their name is on a shakily assembled list of suspects?

                Ja wohl, herr karlgrün!

                If someone is already a suspect, and they then purchase a firearm, that may make that individual MORE suspect, *possibly* leading to the start of an actual investigation with actual charges, etc, but until then, your objective is really the only Absolutist one presented in this discussion.

              • I have much less trouble imagining an imminent threat to life and property posed by a suspected terrorist purchasing guns.

                I do not have to imagine an imminent threat to civil rights posed by proposals to deny them based on mere suspicion.

                Similar arguments could be made forbidding suspected terrorists from practicing medicine. How many people would answer yes to the question, “do you want a terrorist to treat your child?” Or what about making them wear a distinctive armband? I mean, how are we supposed to know who among us are terrorists if they do not wear some distinctive insignia? We need to be safe, right?

        • Freedom of movement has never applied to specific methods of travel. It was to prevent the government from keeping people within geographic areas inside America. You have a right to travel, you don’t have a right to specific methods of travel. You don’t have to travel in someone else’s vehicle either. Actual question: If someone owned an airplane, does the no fly list prevent them from operating it?

          • All silliness aside, I assume you need a license to operate a plane, same as a car, presumably the FAA could suspend your license if you were on the list.

            • And I wonder if someone wanted to move from Hawaii, or a location without road access they could argue the no fly list has in fact infringed their Right to Movement. And in that case it almost seems like a no brainer that the no fly list would lose.

        • I was wrong, and I`m sorry. In looking into whether someone from a landlocked area was able to make a constitutional challenge to the no fly list, I found several cases where courts had ruled the no-fly list was unconstitutional, one going so far as to say that the right to fly was actually `sacred`. I think what that means is that there had to be a judiciary process attached to the no fly list in order to make it constitutional, but I`m not entirely sure, and I`m not sure that it was actually done, and so I`m just going to settle back on my being wrong.

    • Charles, I am afraid you are as careless a reader as you are a writer. The first paragraph is a quote of Michael’s which I used as a jumping-off point — I am not responsible for its language or precision — (which, by the way, is very carefully non-absolute), and then in your last paragraph you quote from Jack’s introduction but attribute it to me:“You say…”. This is flattering, but untrue, and you owe Jack an apology for it, not me.

      I don’t mince words and I try to be selective with them, but far from speaking in “absolutes” here, I used categories, comparisons and specific likelihoods so that no idiotic quibbles excuse me, “distinctions” like yours could be raised. Or so I believed. The rest of your post is a series of subjective (and not very effective) arguments with yourself as to why there should or should not be various kinds of lists. This is your obsession, not mine. The lists EXIST, whatever their origins or uses, whether they “should” or should not do so.

      Since Lists are your point of focus, I will break down that area. I warn you of their dangers: they are not made up of groceries or phone numbers or Christmas gifts. (1) Agreeing with Michael, yes, names on the lists are suspect; (2) implied, an unhealthy miasma hangs about them like the cloud of grime that follows Pigpen wherever he goes; (3) the names can be recorded at multiple locations, including the hackable aether, and therefore will tend to remain open for whatever use the list-users choose to use them for, however long the list-users want to use them; and last, (4) the caveat that the list-users are themselves suspect and untrustworthy because of the unknown limits of power attached to that position, given different circumstances. If you want a further breakdown, you’ll have to do it yourself.

      The seeming sidebar on Austria is also a warning: this one from the past. It speaks to their national character and culture, which leant itself to facism as enthusiastically as it did the militant Germans, although it remained safely for the most part out of the limelight, denying its willing participation in all aspects of the invasions and the Holocaust. (There are brief, understated scenes in the film “Woman in Gold” that give hints of its invisible past … and present.) Austria’s “moral luck” in evading notice, as well as responsbility, was an example I use as a warning not only to beware those who are not up front about their agendas, be it economic, academic, social or political, but to know that We Do Not Know Who They Are. Nor are we likely to find out. Their names are exempt from no-fly or any other lists; the media do not quote from or interview them. We do not know how they may be invading our lives, setting up a base of influence that will survive terrorism or other forms of attacks. Even global warm…. uh, never mind. If we look sideways, (away from the already identified enemy), we can see their shadows, promoting unrest and unreason. And more names added casually, anonymously or callously to more lists without enough pertinent, accurate data for useful interpretation.

      Got some more problems, Charles? Try a book of Reading Comprehension tests. Here’s a sample: What conclusion can you draw as to my personal opinion on whether there should be data bases — let’s give the lists their proper name — on (a) no-fly, (b) medical licensing, (c) voting rights, (d) gun purchase (e) no conclusion; my opinion is not included.

  4. I’m certain that Islamic Jihadists support the strictest possible gun control measures in the U.S.. And favor disarming as many citizens as possible, without regard to Constitutional rights. Who does that remind you of?

    • Why are you certain of that? Seems to me it would make it harder for them to buy guns too, and they’d attract a lot less attention if they could buy them legally. If I were an Islamic Jihadist, I’d want to buy as many guns and attract as little attention as possible. The threat of facing other people with guns wouldn’t be much of a deterrent, certainly not as much as being denied the right to buy my own guns.

      • Please tell me you are aware the Islamic Jihadists all got guns when they wanted to in France prior the recent attack. Please tell me you are aware that France has gun control of the like you only drool over.

        As one quick observer commented: “How’d those guys get guns?! That’s against the law in France!”

        Your last sentence is so asinine it isn’t even worth a response past this comment.

        • Texagg of course I’m aware they got guns. My point is simple: it’s easier to get guns when there are no legal barriers to getting them than it is to get guns when there ARE legal barriers to getting them. Easier does not mean impossible, it just means – easier.

          Do you really want to dispute that simple statement?

          • No, but who are you really punishing here? If a terrorist believes that his road to eternal happiness requires him to get a gun and shoot people, do you really think he’s going to balk at paperwork? Heck, do you think he’s going to balk at the law, for that matter? The only people laws like this actually effect are people who obey them, or perhaps weren’t that interested in the first place.

            You don’t get to pretend that this argument is about keeping guns out of the hands of bad people. This argument is about reducing the number of guns, or slowing the rate of growth of the number of guns, regardless of who gets them.

              • Real answer.

                Sure – New Jersey.

                When I moved here I found it absurdly complicated to buy a simple BB-gun, because the state made basically no distinction between buying a .38 special and a simple pellet or BB gun. It pissed me off, as all I wanted to do was shoot woodchucks in the garden.

                • So…. Let’s just parse that for a second…. The straw that broke the camel’s back for you… The legislation that was a bridge to far, was when they finally made purchasing something that wasn’t actually a firearm more difficult?

                  I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t wait for them to regulate water pistols.

          • “Easier does not mean impossible, it just means – easier.”
            So your plan here is to fight this terrorism with…bureaucratic inconvenience?

            • Well worded. And funny too.

              Of course, I wonder just how much bureaucratic inconvenience in the lives of ordinary Americans isn’t a key source for much of the frustrations leading to killings.

              • By Charles’ logic, we should institute an ObamaGuns program, write a 10-12,000 page law. make it universal and compulsory, and watch the costs skyrocket,the paperwork become incomprehensible, the website crash, companies withdraw from the program, state gun exchanges fail, …we all know the drill by now.

      • Chris Morton said it best .

        As indeed it is. It points up the sheer stupidity both of calling firearms,
        “weapons of mass destruction”, and pretending that it makes one iota of
        operational or economic sense for terrorists to buy expensive non-automatic
        weapons when they could smuggle full auto weapons that cost $12 a piece. Anyone
        who believes otherwise is an idiot.

        Words of wisdom, even ten years later.

  5. . Once the heralds of freedom and democracy, their leaders and advocates are now calling for citizens to be robbed of core rights based on suspicion rather than due process. And whose suspicion? The party with members who advocate arresting climate change skeptics and expelling college students if there is a 10% chance that a rape accusation against them is warranted used to be willing to fight for liberty. Now it seems to believe liberty is too dangerous.

    Did anyone in the media ask these people if they trust Donald Trump to decide who is a terror suspect?

    This idea should really be considered a scandal. And yet, there were newspaper editorials supporting this idea.

    • This is why Charles’ comment made my head explode. The logical conclusion of his suggestion is that you’ve watered down the protections of the constitution to the point where they are merely suggestions, because the administration can bypass them by merely putting you on a list. For now, he might be sitting pretty, because he believes with democrats in power, more power can only be a good thing, but this line of thinking only really lasts until the next administration, at which point, if by some cosmic SNAFU Donald Trump became POTUS, DO YOU REALLY WANT HIM TO BE ABLE TO DENY YOU CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ON A WHIM?!!?!? You IDIOT. Or perhaps, is the train of thought that if we’ve already run roughshod over the constitution, why bother with that pesky amendment that requires elections?

      Seriously. The stupidest thing Charles has EVER suggested right here. Pure thoughtlessness. It’s a day later and I’m still angry.

      • HT enraged anger does not become you. Dial it back.

        What I’ve tried to say is that in the real world there are, actually, in fact, truthfully, really, existentially, limitations to our constitutional rights. And I listed a few.

        I’ve said that the insistence on framing the debate in terms of absolutes is itself a polarizing tactic.

        I would observe that, yet again, you are driving for absolutes, in addition to doing so in bold caps. I can look past the insults and the bold caps, but to insist on ignoring my central point – we need distinctions, not insistence in absolutes – is simply beside the point. You are talking to yourself and the echo chamber, and not engaging in dialogue.

        • Charles, I’m trying. I really am. I’m an angry person, and I have very, very little patience for stupidity, and that’s something I have to work on. And I’m going to thank you for trying to look past that. But I’m trying to think of a way to interpret what you’re saying and apply it to real life in a way that doesn’t make you a totalitarian meme, and I’m failing. It’s like you took an idea you liked the thought of, and wrote about how awesome it would be, without thinking of the ramification of what it would take to make that process a reality. I need you to understand that my thinking of you as thoughtless and stupid is the benefit of the doubt alternative to me thinking that you are actually evil. And yes, that’s polarising. But think about what you’re talking about:

          In order to make a no-gun list that was the mirror of the no-fly list, the administration would per se have the power to ignore constitutionally protected rights. You will have turned the constitution into toilette paper. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s reasonable to make and enforce that list, the only two ways I can see it happening is be to either repeal the second amendment or make the amendments meaningless.

          You tell me what your alternative is.

          • HT first of all, thank you. That was a really coherent and thoughtful response, and yet your passion is still very evident. So thanks.

            And I will think about that and come back to it (I’m out the door now for the rest of the day).

          • As an aside… I just realized this is implicitly what Obama was suggesting what he made his comments about no-fly people still being able to buy a gun. I’m going to give Charles the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t believe for a second that the administration hasn’t rubbed their neurons together and realized the ramifications of actually following through on this.

            • what I have noticed on this issue is that the antigunners want to invent new principles that have never been applied in other contexts.

              For example, they supported the CDC researching gun violence. Last time I checked, gun violence was not a disease. It would be like commissioning the CDC to research the structure of the core of neutron stars.

              They also supported lawsuits against gun manufacturers for the criminal misuse of their products, a theory of product liability that no court has ever upheld with any other type of product.

              it iws clear these anti-gunners are fond of special pleading.

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