Saturday, 6 July 2013

Unlimited Freedom: A Falsehood

The ferocity that the American people defend their right to bear arms is quite extraordinary. Despite numerous shootings in schools, universities, cinemas and the streets, to suggest that the USA needs gun control laws to an American is to unleash a debating beast that will not listen. It is almost that same fire that led the American people to independence because they honestly believe you are trying to inhibit their freedom. They foolishly think, like plenty of other people around the world, that freedom should have no limits. They are wrong.

For those gun-toting Yankees who think their should be no limitation on freedom to bear arms, they will tell those who support gun control to shut up. They honestly believe they do not have the right to question their right as stated in the Second Amendment. Ironically, this is contravening the First Amendment. People have the right of free speech. And that has no limitation... right? Wrong.

You can't say exactly what you want. If you make a statement that incites racist, anti-Semite, homophobic or terrorist attacks, it is a crime, even if you don't actively participate in the assault. We agree that such a limitation on speech is a fair control. So why such antagonism towards gun control laws?

I posted a status that referred to the Sandy Hook shooting. In the UK, we still remember the horrific event that took place in Dunblane. When it happened, the UK acted and made it harder to get a gun. We put further limitations on a freedom to protect a more important right. The right to live. Yet when I mentioned Sandy Hook should get a similar reaction from the USA, there were many who leapt to the argument that freedom shouldn't be controlled, restrained or limited. A rather flawed point was made that knife crime was bad in the UK, so clearly we needed guns to protect ourselves. No, we don't. The murder rate is lower in the UK than it is in the US and until a Desert Eagle can cut vegetables or have some other practical use beyond maiming and killing, you cannot compare knife crime to gun crime.

I use gun control as the example but my point is more universal than that. Freedom is not unbridled. Rights can contradict other rights. So some have to take a precedence over the others. The great irony of the American debate is that those that support gun control in America, citing that the right to life is more important than the right to own a gun typically support abortion. So the right to convenience supercedes the right to life. Go figure. Turns out that both wings of politics are wrong on some things. No, wait, I can't say that, I might be infringing people's liberties that should be without limit.

Freedom, ironically, is not free. It comes with a cost of respect, control and reason. Unfortunately, those three things are anything but the strong points of the human race.