One Hundred Monkeys in Texas

July 4, 2008

What kind of a nation is that anyway?

Filed under: Civil rights,Second Amendment — alancochrum @ 5:37 pm
Tags: ,

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller raises an interesting question on this Independence Day: What would it take for you to say, “I can’t live in a country like that”?

Let’s approach it like this: Obviously, a lot of nations don’t have the kind of gun rights typical of the United States, much the less the kind that a lot of gun owners would like to see and that received some support from the court’s ruling. So let’s suppose that for some reason you had to live outside the United States. What rights that are guaranteed here would be deal-killers if you didn’t have them elsewhere?

Could you live in a nation with a state church? What if you couldn’t own a firearms (or perhaps just a handgun) if you weren’t employed by a government agency?

How about one where the media operate under government constraints? What if you didn’t have the local equivalent of the Miranda laws? Do you believe that trial by a jury of your peers is a necessity, or would you be willing to trust a panel of judges?

It’s an interesting exercise — it reveals in some way what the bottom lines in your life are. Me? Those rights of speech, press and religion are way, way up there. (I think it’s not really a coincidence that they’re in the First Amendment.)

The right to bear arms? Not so much. For me, the ability to own, say, a handgun is like having a slightly unusual tool in my garage: I certainly would rather have it than not — after all, I might need it someday — but there are circumstances under which I might forgo it.

On the other hand, maybe I’m just more naive than a lot of people care to be.


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