27 December 2007

ACLU Still Can't Count To 10

The PRO-Gun Progressive notes that the latest hardcopy newsletter from the ACLU included no mention of the Heller/Parker case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Surprised? I'm not.

I took a look this morning at the American Civil Liberties Union website. It has been awhile since I had paid a visit and I was not surprised at what I found. A lot of stories and updates on government wiretapping, censorship of gay students by high schools, employer sanctions, restrictions on muslin scholar's travel to the U.S., war on terror detainee interrogations, capital punishment in New Jersey, women confined in men's prisons, crack sentencing rules, challenges to intelligent design, domestic surveillance, and more. Most involved cases or events leading to important civil liberties issues worthy of discussion. But I could find nothing on the District of Columbia v. Heller appeal (formerly Parker v. District of Columbia).

Plus, if you look along the right side of the organization's home page, you see the issues it covers: criminal justice, death penalty, disability rights, drug policy, free speech, HIV/AIDS, human rights, immigrants' rights, lesbian and gay rights, national security, police practices, prisoners' rights, privacy and technology, racial justice, religion and belief, reproductive freedom, rights of the poor, safe and free, stand up/youth, voting rights, and finally, women's rights. There is also a big button along the left side that enables you to "Donate now: Help protect our rights." But what "issue" is missing?

The closest category on the firearms and safety issue seemed to me to be the "safe and free" section. I clicked there and was directed to information on habeus corpus, spying, secrecy and torture. In the police section there were mostly stories and case references about police misconduct, wrongful entries into private homes by law enforcement -- again, all important stuff. But . . . the ONLY reference I found to firearms was a question submitted to the organization, and its response back in 2002. The question was: "Why doesn't the ACLU support an individual's unlimited right to keep and bear arms?" Here is the ACLU's reply in 2002.

Specifically, the organization is very direct in its belief of the collective rights theory of the Second Amendment. But even more interesting is the following statement: "The national ACLU is neutral on the issue of gun control. We believe that the Constitution contains no barriers to reasonable regulations of gun ownership. If we can license and register cars, we can license and register guns." If the ACLU is neutral, wouldn't it have more information on its website just to keep its members and supporters informed from even a slightly imbalanced perspective? The ACLU virtually ignores the 2A.

Sadly, the ACLU still does not want to discuss this. Moreover, the organization currently is acting like the stereotypical ostrich with its head in the sand, hoping that by ignoring this pivotal civil rights case (Heller v. D.C.) that somehow it will go away.

I have spoken on this subject before, but I will repeat a conversation I had with an ACLU rep in Ohio some years ago. I asked what would happen if things got so bad in this nation, that rights were so restricted by government . . . what would happen. His response, ultimately, after some prodding, was that the people of this country would have no choice to rise up and take back their government. I asked how? He said through the courts. I asked him whether the courts might someday become such a poisoned atmosphere that people could not get justice, that the courts might be a rubber stamp for government. He said that is a huge fear of his. I again asked what the people would possibly be able to do at this point. He said this time they would have no choice but to rise up and take back their nation by force. At this point I asked the question I was leading to:

If the people have no means to legally own a firearm, because organizations like the ACLU argue against the individual right to bear arms, what will the people use to take back their nation, sticks and stones? How will those work against the government's M-16s and tanks?

For that, the ACLU employee had no answer. Just a momentary blank stare into space. He had never conceived this possibility. He quickly recovered and blew off the possibility. "It will never get that bad," he replied. Ahhh, but earlier in the conversation, he had acknowleged it was his biggest fear.

He understood that day, for the first time I believe, about unintended consequences.

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