Monthly Archives: June 2016

Yell FIRE in a Crowded Theater — It’s Your Right

The Bill of Rights does not *give* us any rights, it recognizes that the citizens of the US have natural rights that will be protected under all circumstances. That list of rights has expanded as we have realized that there are more rights that need to be protected.

I believe that any type of ‘reasonable restriction’ on a right is an infringement. The reality is that there are already systems in place that provide a check on people abusing their rights.

The common example used is that you can’t yell ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater. That’s not actually true. There are no inherent restrictions in the Bill of Rights, but that does not protect people from the *results* of exercising their rights.

If you yell fire in a theater and cause a panic, you will be held responsible for any damages or casualties that ensue. We already have laws in place against property damage, assault, murder, etc. The courts are the place in which these cases are resolved. Having it codified in law that you can’t yell fire in a theater will not stop someone who intends on doing it and will not add anything to a resolution of the event or charges handed down.

The same thing goes for all the other rights in the Bill of Rights. Use them responsibly and for all intents and purposes they are unlimited. Abuse them and you will face the consequences.

Banging My Head Against the Wall About Guns

Going to post a short list I replied to a gun control Facebook post with:

There are a few facts that need to be acknowledged:

1) The right to keep and bear arms is firmly enshrined in the 2nd amendment. If you want to infringe on it, you need to pass another amendment.

2) A vast majority of firearms, of many different types, in civilian hands cause absolutely no problems. There are an estimated 300 million firearms privately owned in the US. At least 3 million of those are AR-15 pattern rifles. If it truly was a problem with easy access to these rifles, wouldn’t you see much more of them used in violent crimes? Or perhaps the tool used to commit the crime is secondary to the primary reasons for it.

3) On the other hand, there are many other tragedies that occur without the use of firearms at all. Until Orlando, the deadliest mass killing done by a single perpetrator was the Bath massacre in 1927 that killed 45 people, including schoolchildren. He killed that many with homemade bombs. Don’t forget the major other tragedies like 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing. Banning firearms won’t stop things like this from happening.

4) Almost all gun control attempts seem to ignore the fact that firearms in private hands have a huge benefit to society. There’s an estimated 2-2.5 million defensive gun uses per a year. The number is quite difficult to pin down, but even anti-gun leaning organizations like the NCVS accept a minimum of 50,000 a year while some surveys go as high as 4.5 million. If only a fraction of those actually result in saving a life, I would say it is a net benefit to society.

I try to be objective and rational in everything I discuss, but when gun control comes up things just get painful. I see otherwise logical, rational people go completely mad and become caricatures of the very kinds of people they claim to disdain.

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