Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who really benefits (and loses) when the Freedom of Information Act is played around with?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

One of the battle cries we have heard over the past few years - though not quite loud enough to stifle the lament for the ever-increasing number of dead from gun violence - is that if you “take away” one freedom, or even attempt to address what exactly that freedom means in the 21st Century, all of our freedoms will then be endangered.

To even think about discussing the issue of what sort of guns should be available to all Americans is akin to a desire to move us all to Mother Russia, where we would have no freedoms at all, thank you very much.

It is a true irony, then, to hear not collective silence, but loud hurrahs from those same gun owners whose identities are now shielded from the FOIA.

The Arkansas legislature, in a move that may well have long-range effects, has decreed that those who obtain a license to carry a firearm will be shielded from the Freedom of Information Act, that Nosy Parkers don’t need to know who they are.

Other than natural paranoia, I am not sure what the issue is here. I can find out who you are if you get a license to fish, or add on to your house, or own property. I have read all sorts of comical reasons to why this exemption should be so in letters to the editor and on Facebook, where rational conversation goes to kill itself.

Many of them assume that criminals will all get together over coffee and scribble down the names of all of the gun-owners in any area, and perhaps keep some sort of master list. And, of course, once the government falls, the Forces of Darkness will know who to round up first.

But while we are rejoicing that our right to “privacy” has been protected by the state (the very folks that many of these “patriots” would claim to protect us from) one must ask how, once the camel now has his nose inside the tent, how much of his body eventually will end up inside?

Who really benefits from the FOIA being weakened? You? Me?

Not so much, Quackish Reader, unless you are a government body or a corporate entity which may have something to hide. Then you might think about sending these “patriots” a thank you card.

******

And where have our self-appointed “Well-Regulated” militias been all these years when freedom actually has been threatened? Saving their energy?

As an aside, I’m not sure where all the gun-totin’ patriots could be found, when protesting Americans were huddled into”Free-Speech Zones” over the past few years- maybe they were all getting their hair washed those days.

Or when protesters against government policy where hustled quickly out of buildings, or even today in Michigan, when the residents of entire cities are being disenfranchised by their state? I mean, what are you guys waiting for?

Saving your energy for the Big Fight?

Where were they when Japanese-Americans were herded like cattle into concentration camps in the 1940s?

Or when men and women are denied employment based on their religion, sexuality or race?

When people were beaten or even killed because of the above?

Where were they when civil rights marchers were set upon by the authority they claim they will protect us from?

Saving their energy for the Big Game?

Where were they when women, exercising their rights under the law, sought to have an abortion, even though angry mobs of people made them feel threatened?

Saving their energy for the Big Fight?

When, in blatant violation of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, a Southern JP refused to marry an inter-racial couple, were our patriots then?

Saving their energy?

When the First Amendment rights of high school students have been violated by school administrations which have sought to censor them over the years, where were our patriots then?

Saving their energy?

Red Dawn/Avatar fantasies aside, there is no real evidence that the Well-Regulated Militia Men and Women in our midst have done a whole hell of a lot when it comes to standing up for anyone whose rights have been threatened.

Illegal wire-tapping of American citizens?

Strip-searching of individuals arrested for the most minor of traffic offenses?

And how many folks have spent long periods of time in jail, awaiting trial?

And today’s taste for excessively long prison sentences?

Again, no doubt saving their energy for the Big Game, when all of our Well-regulated folks will come together and, well, score a touchdown for our Republic when we need it the most.

In the meantime, the Walter Mittys of the Well-Regulated Militias mainly keep their powder dry and confine themselves to letters to the editor and Facebook, where they can proclaim both their love for the Founding Fathers and for an America which we have not seen for many a day.

And nobody is expecting them to charge in, guns blazing; that way lies madness. But there are so many other ways to be involved in America today - outside of debating on Facebook.

Well, until they do rise up in to “take the country back,” thank god for the ACLU. At least somebody is fighting for the rights of all American citizens out there.

*****

Hitting the Snooze alarm

Tracy, who in addition to being a choreographer, is also an occupational therapist, told me that I’d be sleeping more so that my body could recover from surgery.

“Hogwash!” I cried.

Needless to say, I haven’t slept this much in years . . .

****

Quote of the Day

I am amazed at radio DJ's today. I am firmly convinced that AM on my radio stands for Absolute Moron. I will not begin to tell you what FM stands for. — Jasper Carrott

rsdrake@cox.net

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