Mass Killing Was Insanity, Not Politics

It’s not the Second Amendment I’m worried about right now, but the First.

According to popular opinion it was a combination of the two that got six people killed and left Rep. Gifford in critical condition.

Gun-ownership supporters are getting the usual flack after Jared Lee Loughner used a gun to kill six people and injure fourteen others. But the political environment is such that a bunch of other groups are getting smeared for having ever opened their mouths…

Libertarians, conservatives, Tea Party members, advocates of small governments of every stripe, anyone who’s ever criticized the government too vigorously…They’re being told to “tone it down a bit.” The complaint from lovers of the state is that we’ve gotten too vicious, that all the strong words have finally led to someone taking extreme measures.

Never mind that the shooter was a just a lone nut whose main concern with government was that it was using mind control.

One does not list the Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf in one’s top ten list if one is for smaller government. In fact, anyone who thinks these books belong in the same list as We the Living — a warning against the dangers of communism — cannot be thinking too clearly.

And it seems that Loughner wasn’t thinking too clearly at all. In fact, he seems to have had all the usual earmarks of the mentally unbalanced who occasionally pop up and kill somebody famous or slaughter innocents in a fast food joint or from atop a tower.

Jared Lee Loughner didn’t kill and injure all those people because he listened to Sarah Palin…or because he loved liberty. He did it because he was a murderous lunatic.

Never ones to let a disaster or tragedy go to waste, lawmakers immediately got to work on legislation to curb liberty a little bit more.

The Left immediately went on the offensive and claimed that this was all Sarah Palin’s fault. They claimed she practically instructed the mentally unstable among us to start shooting Democrats…that with their charged rhetoric the Right had been fostering a political atmosphere ripe for violence.

The Right immediately went on the defensive. They pointed out that the Left had been just as bad. They also pointed out, as I have here, that Loughner was just another deranged killer. He was bound to shoot up innocent strangers somewhere. It could just as easily been a Burger King.

But it wasn’t a Burger King. It was a political event. It was a U.S. Representative who was the main target and a federal judge among the slain. So now there’s an excuse for extreme legislation. Milo Nickels writes:

And, so it begins. There is already an article on The Hill titled “Dem Planning a Bill That Would Outlaw Threatening Law Makers.” The article begins like this:

Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.

Look at that language. The language (or symbols) doesn’t have to be threatening or actually incite violence. It doesn’t even have to be perceived that way. If it could be perceived that way — through the widest, loosest, and irrational interpretations imaginable — that is sufficient to charge someone with a federal crime. This kind of broad, widely subjective legislation would make it potentially illegal to disagree with the government about anything.

That’s right, virtually any political discussion or comment, especially if you express frustration or opposition, could be perceived as a call for violence. Laws like this are nothing more than an assault of free speech. Of course, they will forge ahead with this legislation — whether it’s constitutional or not. They will probably name it after Gabrielle Giffords, and call it the “Giffords Act against Political Hate Speech” (or something like that). Then, if you oppose the legislation, they will question your compassion and say you must agree with Jared Loughner.

I would say that we must stand up against tyrannical laws created by exploiting tragedies, but that could be perceived as a call to arms. Rather, I will just implore you to read the Constitution, and employ some common sense.

So legislation is on the table that will make what I’m about to do a federal offense…

A little while back I recommended a book called An Act of Self-Defense, a work of fiction in which a group of patriots take it upon themselves to enforce term limits on U.S. representatives by any means necessary

I’m recommending it again. I’m recommending it even more strongly now that Rep. Brady plans to introduce this legislation.

Understand that I am against acts of non-retaliatory violence. Like most liberty-lovers I live by the non-aggression axiom…

…But this book is a great read that illustrates just how far removed the political class has gotten from those they are supposed to serve. Violence is a desperate act and these people are indeed desperate. Ultimately, however, their actions really are ones of self-defense. They — like all of us — have been pushed around all their lives by violent thugs with a veneer of political legitimacy.

If you haven’t been brainwashed into loving your masters in the political class or their enforcers, then you’ll find yourself rooting for the small band of freedom fighters in the book.

Get your copy of An Act of Self-Defense to see exactly what I mean.

Gary Gibson
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder and Laissez Faire Books

January 12, 2011

The Daily Reckoning