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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Arkansas Republicans: 2nd Amendment means right to assassinate

I’d always thought that the “killing tyrants” interpretation of the Second Amendment was a just way for Republicans  to justify being shameless NRA whores to gullible chumps. But unfortunately, it turns out that some in the Republican Party actually believe this thuggish bullshit.

In stridently arguing against an expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas, the Republican Party of Benton County used this interpretation in a newsletter:

…We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us that we are serious.  The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.  It seems that we are unable to muster that belief in any of our representatives on a state or federal level, but we have to have something, something costly, something that they will fear that we will use if they step out of line.  If we can’t shoot them, we have to at least be firm in our threat to take immediate action against them politically, socially, and civically if they screw up on something this big.  Personally, I think a gun is quicker and more merciful, but hey, we can’t…
In typical Republican fashion, the reasoning here is completely self-contradictory: we have Second Amendment right to shoot politicians we don’t agree with, but unfortunately we can’t just shoot politicians we don’t agree with — even though we probably should.

How demented are these people? And how deeply ingrained in the right is this pro-terrorism interpretation of the Second Amendment? I’ve pointed out once before that John Wilkes Booth believed he was killing a tyrant when he shot Lincoln. So who gets to decide who’s a tyrant? Booth thought the answer to that question was “me.”

That’s the question every gun lobby tool should be forced to answer when they repeat this pro-assassination argument; are they saying that any random person can just shoot a politician because they disagree with them and, if that’s not the case, then what mechanism exists to make sure these Second Amendment Heroes only shoot actual tyrants?

This is a damned important point, because under the interpretation as it’s argued, there is no mechanism. Anyone can find someone guilty of “tyranny” and hand out the sentence — or, as the Republican Party of Benton County put it, people are allowed to carry out that sentence by “simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line.”

Somehow, I doubt the founders envisioned veto by assassination and rule by terrorism. Republicans need to clearly state whether they believe in Democracy or whether they believe, as Booth did, in the legitimate power of the assassin’s veto.

[image via Wikimedia Commons]

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