Thoughts on Freedom


By Jeff Marshburn

Since so many arguments today are split between two sides, the Left and the Right, I will frame this thought from that perspective, though I don’t necessarily feel I am simply one or the other (as I feel is a commonality with most Americans).

To see the dichotomy of the failure of the news media to help frame a national debate over the past month has been frustrating.  We started the month of September with “national outrage” at entertainers choosing to kneel (or sit) for the national anthem at the beginning of sporting events.  I use the word “entertainers” because I feel that collectively we have lost the idea that players on a professional team are just that… entertainers.  Modern versions of Roman gladiators…. but that’s a whole other topic!

We ended September with the horrific act in Las Vegas.  The mass shooting that would cause the loss of life of nearly 60 innocent people and injured nearly 600 others.  This event is mind boggling, and nearly a week later, we still struggle to find reason for the madness as all levels of law enforcement and those in the national media search for the reason why.

So where am I going with this…? Well when we had NFL players kneeling for the national anthem it was interesting to watch the media split… right leaning sources screamed that these people were “unpatriotic” and should be disciplined for this, while left leaning sources praised the responsible non-violent exercise of these player’s First Amendment rights.

In the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas, left leaning media clamors for restrictions on gun ownership while the media on the right seems to take a position that this tragedy was unavoidable, laws are not the problem, people are.

So where is the truth in our great land?  The Constitution is clear (at least to me).  The professional athletic entertainers were likely not covered under the First Amendment.  The First Amendment reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

I am no Constitutional scholar, but it would seem that the NFL, or any business, could establish a policy of how to react during the National Anthem while at work, or perhaps a policy of political protests while at work.  This is not Congress prohibiting free speech in any way.  The outrage of the fans in this regard was similarly ridiculous.  Have you ever been to a professional sporting event?  Yeah, most in the stands will stand, but those nearly anywhere else in the stadium simply go about their business.  Don’t even get me started about those at home… while I’ve seen dubious claims on social media, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone, stop and stand in silence when the National Anthem plays on television.

VERDICT: Fans and media on both sides – get over it.  You fund the actions of those on the field with purchase of tickets, paraphernalia, food at stadiums, etc.  As long as the NFL (or NBA, NHL, etc…) does not take a firm stance on the issue, then the players can do what ever they want.

Now to the Las Vegas event.  Nothing can take away the horror and the insanity that happened that fateful night.  As always, Americans shined in crisis and the individual acts of heroism were simply amazing.

As always happens in these events, there is always quick ignition of the gun control debate.  The question lingers, what is the responsible thing to do with regard to firearms?  Have we, as a country, done enough… or is there something else we should be doing on the moral and ethical side of this debate?

Again, I go to the Constitution:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

There has been endless debate on the wording of this.  Ideas like “well regulated militia” means that gun owners are simply those on active duty, or “security of the free state” means that this is limited to the National Guard, finally the word “people” is cumulative, not individuals.  A great breakdown of all of this can be found here: http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndpur.html

My opinion is that our Founding Fathers never “granted” the right of the individual to own weapons as this was never in question,  They simply codified this right to keep the Federal Government from deciding that individuals didn’t need firearms for their protection.  If we know anything from the Bill of Rights it is that it was to limit the Federal Government from oppressing the individual citizen, and this falls in line with gun control.  I also feel that the intent was to keep the Federal Government in check, which is why there was an initial limit of what our standing Army looked like, so that the Federal Army could not be used against the citizenry.

Now, does this mean that as citizens we need access to everything in the military arsenal… artillery, tanks, mortars?  While I would say no, I don’t think that agrees with the intent of the 2nd Amendment.  I think that the idea of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure that the individual citizens could absolutely protect their homes and communities against evil and tyranny, both internal and external.

Does the government have the right to limit what people should have access to?  I think that, within reason, this is true, but we have not seen a whole lot of “reason” come from our elected officials.  I’m not sure I trust them to decide on things like this, especially in the wake of Las Vegas.  Emotional responses are almost never the right way to legislate.  To really have a good national discourse on what the PEOPLE want we have to have a bit of time to heal the wounds of this tragedy.

VERDICT: Evil will do evil.  We must focus on the individual.  Rolling back the right to even own a weapon is not the answer.  It hasn’t helped DUI deaths, drug deaths, or gun deaths in places like Chicago.  When we focus on the instrument and not the person, we will change nothing.

In Closing:

We need to remember that WE THE PEOPLE lead this land.  These morons that sit in Congress have changed the perspective over time to where we are supposed to believe that we serve them and their opulence.  If WE THE PEOPLE want action, WE must act and stop being so damn lazy.  Our government was designed for the people to rule through our elected officials.  We have trended towards a plutocracy and the time for that is OVER.

It is time for the silent voices out there to get involved.  I believe that we have a President who understands the will of the people and is willing to act on the will of the people.  What version of “the people” are we willing to have the greatest voice?

Your move America.

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