Repeal the first amendment!

Want to restrict guns in America?  Good luck with that.  When the second amendment was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights, it codified America’s gun culture.  Hundreds of millions of guns later, it’s a genie that’s so accustomed to being out of the bottle that it won’t get shoved back in without a bloodbath.

He's not even an NRA member.

He’s not even an NRA member.

Want to register those hundreds of millions of guns retroactively?  Right.  It’s not even an option, unless you’re proposing sending government jackboots into private homes to search every dwelling in America.

Want to repeal the second amendment?  Right.  Put aside the fact that three-quarters of the states would have to ratify it, it opens a door I don’t want to see opened.

Put the second amendment on the table for repeal, and the whole Constitution is up for grabs.

The first amendment is probably even less popular in America than the second amendment.  On his WSB radio show this month, Erick Erickson pitched repeal of the first amendment.  This, from a guy who makes a living on radio, blogs and by masterminding election material.

Erickson’s rant was probably mostly facetious, but was based on a legit gripe about the news media’s errors in the initial reporting of the Newtown massacre.

The errors were unfortunate.  It would be even more unfortunate to have the government restrict free expression and freedom of the press.  (I write “freedom of the press” reluctantly.  The phrase “freedom of speech, or of the press” appears in the first amendment.  In my mind, there’s nothing particularly exceptional about the press.  It’s about saying whatever you want without crossing the legal lines of libel or defamation, or yelling “fire” in a movie theater.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re an individual, a blogger, a TV station or the New York Times.  But “the press” gets specific constitutional protection, and I won’t complain about it.)

Erick Erickson, WSB

Erick Erickson, WSB-AM

Everybody cherishes their own freedom of speech.  But they’re tired of “freedom of the press.”  They’re tired of the baggage attached to it — the promotion, the competition, the hype, the 24-hour news cycles, the foolishness in deciding what’s important and what isn’t (based on what decision-makers think the audience wants, of course).  And they’re annoyed by the mistakes, amplified when a story is of high interest.  I suspect Erickson’s rant reflects the sentiment of a lot of Americans.

But it beats the alternative, which would likely include government safeguards of “official secrets” and restrictions on political speech and Lord only knows what else.  I vote to keep it as it is, and to not tempt fate by tinkering with the Bill of Rights elsewhere.

Besides “freedom… of the press,” can you imagine the re-writes elsewhere?  Fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, eighth amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, even a trial by jury — all that stuff would get gutted.  And the much-despised freedom of religion / “establishment” clause would get a total re-write.  Hello, American theocracy.

And three quarters of the states would probably ratify it.  But they won’t touch the second amendment.

His political viewpoints notwithstanding, Erickson was great fun to listen to during the 2012 campaign.  What’s the over / under on how long it takes WSB radio to remove the lamentable Herman Cain from the post-Boortz morning show and replace him with Erickson?  I give Cain a year.

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Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form, zero, zilch, nada. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

7 thoughts on “Repeal the first amendment!

  1. JimD

    Sadly, I can see where Erickson’s coming from on this one, and I work in the news media. I don’t think we should ever consider repealing it, but I do understand. Started when I was 14, way back in 1976, and I take what I do very seriously. I’ve always felt that we should be honored by, and a little frightened of the fact that we work in the only profession that our founding fathers felt worthy of giving specific constitutional protection to. They didn’t protect firefighters, or police officers, or doctors, or lawyers, or teachers. But they did see fit to tell the government to keep it’s grubby mitts off of us, the press, through the first amendment. Something that every j-school beginner should stop and reflect on a bit before they step into this.

    Along with this protection comes great responsibility, and we’re falling down on the job in many ways. As a profession, we need to do some soul searching to see if we’re living up to our forefathers expectations.

    Reply
  2. GroveGrubbinAgain

    Dang pardner, that there is a mighty fine blog thingy you did. Heck, I might even wrestle up some friends to read it too. Not to often we get blog thingys from media types that aren’t hell bent on taking things away. Keep up the good work.

    Cain- 6 months. Numbers will not be good. Big shoes to fill.

    JimD-well said.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    To have a more effective impact Government should ban the showing of any type of gun or weapon on TV, movies, in print, and the internet.

    Also consider banning the G-word and all variations in speech and writing.

    Reply
  4. Og Ogglby

    Speaking of Cain, how can a guy who graduated from Purdue with a MS in Computer Science and was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, among other accomplishments, sound like such an idiot on the radio? He’ll probably linger 2 or 3 years, as Cox has apparently decided to follow in the footsteps of WGST and give up on radio.

    Reply
  5. Shirley E. Sawyer

    When has making something illegal ever stopped anything? Murder is illegal yet thousands of inmates are in jail for that reason. Hundreds of guns, including all automatics, are banned from the U.S. yet people still manage to get them. Think about it, if you’re going to rob a bank or kill someone, you’re probably gonna get a gun that’s not registered, thus illegal, so that the ballistics tests won’t lead to you. That means that guns can be obtained in one way or the other. If the second amendment is repealed, people will still find guns. Besides, if anything happens to our gun laws, the worst thing that can ever happen is no more gun sales. Any existing guns will definitely not be confiscated, destroyed, or anything.

    Reply

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