Archive for the ‘U.S. Constitution’ Category

The curse of Tippecanoe, Tea Party and gun control

January 19, 2011

By David Farside

January 18th, 2011

The massacre in Tucson, Ariz. last week has polarized the debate concerning gun control, political vitriol, rhetorical civility and the real strategy of the ultra-conservative Tea Party. Unfortunately, political assassinations, random killings and mass murders are increasing in what is called “the freest country in the world” precisely because we are the freest country in the world.

Our Second Amendment right allows us to own firearms. But was it intended to arm the colonist in defense against the British or kill elected representatives in government, assassinate U.S. presidents and murder innocent people?

Since the birth of our Constitution there have been 43 presidents prior to the election of Barack Obama. Eight of them died while still in office. Some attribute their death to the “curse of Tippecanoe.”

An American Indian named Tenskwatawa was brother of Shawnee tribal chief Tecumseh and a prophet. While on his death bed in 1836, Tenskwatawa placed a curse of death on President William Henry Harrison and future American presidents elected in years ending in zero. He had predicted Harrison would be elected president but would die while in office. Harrison was elected and he did indeed die in office.

Between 1841 and 1963 eight presidents died in office. Four of them died of natural causes, but Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy were assassinated by an extremist holding a gun. Seven of them were elected president in years ending in zero. Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, missed a bullet by “that much” and George W. Bush dodged the shot three times, although Vice President Dick Cheney did manage to shoot a fellow bird hunter in the foot. Only kidding!

Zachary Taylor also died in office, and although he wasn’t elected in a zero year he died in 1850. We are the only so-called “civilized nation” in the world that has assassinated four of its leaders with a gun within the last 125 years, presenting good arguments for gun control and amending our Second Amendment.

Some pundits are blaming the shooting incident in Tucson on political vitriol from the Tea Party and subliminal suggestive rhetoric by Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and the Republicans water boy of hate, Rush Limbaugh, and that is a possibility.

Their innuendos and indirect threats using guns as a political remedy could have triggered the shooter’s motivations. Referring to political losses, Palin’s solution is “don’t retreat — reload.” Threatening anyone who doesn’t agree with their politics as being a “target” in their sights or “crosshairs” isn’t exactly an empty threat. Palin demonstrated the true meaning of her analogy by killing a defenseless and unsuspecting animal caught in the crosshairs of her telescopic gun sight. Afterwards she said “it felt good” to hit her target. I wonder how good she felt when she saw someone follow her intended example, hit the target and kill defenseless and unsuspecting human beings. If it wasn’t an intentional reference to armed revolution then why was it used as a photo-op to clarify exactly what she meant? It certainly wasn’t newsworthy.

But the direct threat came from Sharron Angle. In her attempt to eliminate amendments to the Constitution, she suggested “Second Amendment Remedies” should be the battle cry of the Tea Party’s utopian society.

The Tea Party Republicans are criticizing President Obama’s speech at the memorial for the dead victims in the Tucson shooting. Why? They say he politicized the opportunity. Well, he delivered a great speech, gracious eulogy, consoled the families of the innocents and attempted to heal our democracy. He acted presidential. If George W. Bush, Palin or Limbaugh delivered the same speech it would have been praised as the greatest nonpolitical speech ever written.

How ironic. More than 100 years ago the newly formed Fabian society, an extreme leftist, socialist movement used the Democrats to further its agenda. Now, 100 years later, the newly organized and extreme right Tea Party is using the Republicans to return America to what it was more than 250 years ago: every man for himself in a gun-toting society with no freedom of speech to challenge them, no right to assemble and no power to petition their government.

At a White House press conference, a Russian reporter asked is “freedom of a degenerated mind to react violently also American?”

Unfortunately, yes. That’s why we need gun control that’s effective. We can all own guns but ownership has to be considered a constitutional privilege not a right. Only higher standards in licensing should deny anyone the right of gun ownership. Only rigidly enforced screening and tight gun control will protect all of us and preserve our constitutional privilege to own a gun.

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