When two Amendments face off
In the Jan. 22 letter to the ed- itor, “The truth behind gun violence,” the writer, in between the obligatory denunciations of the president, simplifies the whole issue of mass killings; the media is to blame. He writes that the president should issue an executive order to bring back some type of censorship, although not specifying who should be in charge of deciding what is to be censored or what exactly should be censored. Our Supreme Court, the same institution that has upheld his Second Amendment rights, has also upheld the First Amendment right to free speech and expression except in very narrowly defined areas such as child pornography, defamation of character and advocating the overthrow of the government.
I do believe that he is correct in his statement, “Anyone with half a brain knows that the roots of our moral decay promoting gun violence lie in the violent media that produce the top violent movies, video games, gansta rap music, and on and on.” However, our propensity toward violence is much more complex than that. The rest of the free world is exposed to the same movies, video games and music and yet suffers only a fraction of the mindless killings so pervasive in our own country.
The president’s seemingly reasonable proposal to curb violence, especially in our schools, include increased spending to hire more police officers, providing financial aid to schools to develop emergency response plans, starting a national dialogue on mental health issues, tasking the CDC with studying the effects of violent movies and video games regarding violent, anti-social behavior.
In addition the president has asked for bans on assault-style military weapons and armor-piercing bullets, mandatory background checks on all weapons sales with increased penalties for those who purchase weapons for someone who would not pass a background test. Those whose response to banning any type of gun is that criminals will still get those guns are right. However, the perpetrators of our mass killings have overwhelmingly been citizens without any previous criminal record who have used legally purchased weapons to commit their mayhem.
Robert F. Mollic, Liberty Township