Letter to the Editor: Second Amendment – reasonable or not?

The commentary on the Second Amendment by Michael J. Hurd (DSN, 5/16) gave us a confused can of worms.

To think about the Second Amendment, Hurd asks us to think about the First Amendment and whether we would “place ‘common sense’ and ‘rational’ restrictions on free speech?”

Then he says any restrictions would be a separate discussion, anyway. And after that, he judges the whole issue as silly. And in the next sentence after that, he names four restrictions on freedom of speech that imply he is OK with placing those restrictions.

This is a self-contradictory and inconsistent line of thinking.

My recollection about when I first learned in school about Freedom of Speech is that it was also followed by what I immediately understood as an example of a valid exception: you can’t yell the word “fire” in a theater.

Surely everyone reading this will think about that in terms of the next questions: is there really a fire or could it be a prank or how many people could be killed in a panic?

Then there could be even more questions. The point is that people who prefer to think before pulling the trigger might be making a wiser decision. Thus, an understandable exception leads to a common sense restriction.

Hurd’s piece is otherwise mostly a general repetition of the part of the great gun debate which is pro-gun. He has a right to that opinion and the right to present only supporting arguments and not detracting arguments. Almost everyone does this, anyway.

The problem with the “great gun debate” is that advocates pick one side without recognizing that the other side has a right to their opinion, too. Thus, anti-gun people have a right to their fears and freedoms, also. I am happy to know people who appreciate this distinction and situation, but too many dig in their heels and become inflexible in their thoughts and statements. I would advocate for both sides to try to meet halfway and try to understand the concerns from both sides.

Hurd ends his piece on an anti-government and pro-freedom theme based on his fear that government just wants to “control” people.

My view is that Hurd has created a paradox and an inconsistency: despite being in a democracy where our freedoms are guaranteed by that “controlling” government, he would (dictatorially) throw out the half of the people that vote (democratically) against his opinion. My understanding of a democracy is that majority votes win and that is consistent with the goal that we pursue the greatest good for the greatest number.

If you want to throw out the people that don’t share your opinion, then you are the dictator. Our “controlling” government — which grants and governs our freedoms — was voted into existence by the people. Our government allows its citizens an orderly process, by petition or vote, to change that “control.” Dr. Hurd should re-examine his analysis and re-read the history books.

Arthur E. Sowers

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