Other gun bloggers (War on Guns and Snowflakes in Hell, to name a couple), have covered the outrageous (and criminal) police harassment of open carry activists in Dickson City, PA. The police thuggery eventually led to the arrest of a man who had broken no laws, and the confiscation of his entirely legal firearm.
As I said, this has already been well covered. The reason I am writing about it today is to respond to this editorial piece, "Big difference in right v. smart."
Police detained one of the armed diners and temporarily confiscated his weapon when he declined to answer their questions. So, the point was made. The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms, and Pennsylvania has no law precluding citizens from openly brandishing the hardware. Moreover, the police were not quite sure about how to respond.First, and although I might be flogging a dead horse here, the dead S.O.B. has it comin': the Second Amendment does NOT "provide" the right to bear arms--that is a preexisting, fundamental, human right that does not depend on the Constitution (or any other document) for its existence. I'm not just being picky here; if things go our way, and the other side finally finds itself unable to sustain the rhetorical gymnastics required to sustain the bizarre assertion that right of the people to keep and bear arms isn't really . . . the right of the people, to keep and bear arms, their next line of attack will be to "repeal the damn thing" altogether. We need to lay the groundwork for making that repeal an empty gesture, even if and when it succeeds.
Yet having a right does not mean that it’s always smart to exercise it. Americans have broad free-speech rights, but it’s often smarter to hold one’s tongue for the sake of civil society — broadly, the accommodation of others. The gun-toters don’t seem to understand that not brandishing their weapons in public would not diminish their right while also not intimidating other diners.
Secondly, the writer seems to be asserting that "sure, you have the right to keep and bear arms (whether openly or concealed--it makes no difference), but you oughtn't do it, because it upsets people." Are we to believe that the exercise of a right is . . . wrong, if said exercise makes people uncomfortable? This editor would have been a big help in the desegregation movement in the 60's, eh?
The exercise of rights always upsets people who would deny those rights. I submit that protecting the sensibilities of those who would deny others their rights should be rather low on anyone's list of priorities.