America's Deeper Thinkers

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The Washington Post recently published an Op-Ed piece by a self-proclaimed gun owner and hunter named David Fellerath. The title of the article was, “I own guns. But I hate the NRA.”

This appears to be a growing trend among anti-gun news organizations: find a shill who can convincingly pass himself off as the kind of red-blooded, red meat-eating, rightwing, camo-wearing Neanderthal anti-gun types imagine us all to be, and then turn him loose to argue that guns are bad. The Huffington Post has even gone so far as to regularly publish a blog by a gentleman who calls himself Mike “the gun guy” Weisser, who uses his putative standing as a “gun guy” to decry guns and gun ownership.

Both Mike “the gun guy” Weisser and Mr. Fellerath use a variation of Shakespeare’s famous tactic from Julius Caesar, where Marc Antony tells the crowd, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” and then proceeds to limn the late Caesar as a saint.

They start off presenting themselves as gun owners and lovers just like every other gun owner, and then they roll up their sleeves and go to work, condemning, damning, slashing and burning. Both gentlemen, Mr. Weisser in particular, remind me of Lord Haw Haw during World War Two.

(Lord Haw Haw was the nickname of the Anglo/American traitor who did radio broadcasts for the Nazis. He was American-born, but he held British nationality, and had been raised in Ireland (actually, there were several Lord Haw Haws, but this was the primary one, and while his name is known, why bother keeping alive the name of someone so despicable?) and he used to do his radio broadcasts in a veddy upper-crust British accent, mocking the English for their losses, attempting to undermine English and Allied morale, and spreading Nazi propaganda. As one of the most contemptible and insidious tools of the Nazis, Lord Haw Haw was promptly and quite rightly hung immediately after the war.)

I’m not going to walk you though all of Mr. Fellerath’s (pick one) inaccuracies, “misspeaking,” or outright lies, because it would involve walking you through lengthy numerical statistical information and your eyes would glaze over, but he did say one thing that really caught my attention and started me thinking. Toward the end of his article he wrote:

“Rather than being our American birthright, gun ownership should be a privilege earned after thorough examination and training, like driving a car. But in 21st-century America, arms-bearing is an inalienable right, thanks to 27 anachronistic words of a constitution ratified in an 18th-century world of slow-loading muskets.”

Wow. Mr. Fellerath, you are so close! The problem is you haven’t taken it far enough and you haven’t started in the right place. With your gracious permission, I would like to respectfully and modestly propose that we start with the first amendment:

Instead of being our American birthright, freedom of speech and freedom of the press should both be privileges earned after thorough examination and training, like driving a car.

Think what this would accomplish! For one very fundamental thing, we might once more regain some semblance of proper English usage. No more semi-literate news anchors on television butchering subject-verb agreement (there is lots of examples I could give you); no more confusing the use of “less” and “fewer,” (which would give us less newscasters); no more fragmentary sentences in headlines (“But I hate the NRA”).

More importantly, it would mean our poor leaders elected officials wouldn’t have to put up with troublesome and awkward questions from members of the press, let alone from private citizens; with no questions allowed except from trained and qualified members of an approved press corps, just think how much they could get done!

But most importantly, in the printed media, it would mean fewer (or less, if you like today’s journalism) damn fools expressing their opinions and prejudices as calcified fact.

Unfortunately, freedom of speech is still an unalienable right, thanks to ten anachronistic words (out of forty-five) of a constitution ratified in an 18th century world without the internet or any other troublesome form of mass communication.

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