Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome to MA. Leave Your Freedom At the Door.

Arlington Man Loses Gun License Due To Blog About Tucson Shooting
ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.

It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.That is all.
First thought: I had no idea TJIC is in MA.

Second thought: I've actually had folks e-mail me about this same sort of scenario. "Aren't you afraid your opinions will get you in trouble in MA?" It's something I've struggled with, because as the above story shows, they can - and will - revoke your ability to legally exercise your Second Amendment rights for exercising your First Amendment rights. I expect the ACLU to be all over this case any time now - if this is not a clear and egregious example of the government infringing on this man's First (and Second) Amendment rights, then we have no rights in this country.

It all boils down to this:
Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license.

There's that "suitability" again. For any reason whatsoever, the licensing authority in your town of residence can decide that you are no longer suitable and revoke your MA LTC. You will have to surrender your firearms, handing them over to an FFL who will most likely charge you for the service until you can find suitable homes for them. At best you can apply for an FID card which will allow you to own shotguns and low-capacity long arms - those are "shall issue" - but any handguns and "high capacity" semi-automatic rifles are gone (and some folks consider the Ruger 10/22 to be a "high capacity" rifle).

They point to his blog postings as evidence that he is unsuitable - hogwash. What he wrote is distasteful to some - advocating the assassination of members of Congress immediately following a senseless shooting is in poor taste IMHO - but it's not treason. It's not inciting violence - he does not advocate the shooting of congress critters, he makes (what I assume to be) a tongue-in-cheek assessment that care needs to be taken to avoid collateral damage. It's in poor taste, that's for certain - but a threat? Hardly. There's nothing threatening involved.

For now, Dispatches from TJICistan is down; it's unclear if this is from TJIC's work or from others. If he has taken it down to prepare for a legal battle, that is one thing; if it is down as a result of a police investigation/court order that's entirely another. What's happening here should frighten all freedom-loving Americans - right and left - although I fear that the wrong message will be taken. The Left will look to this as yet another right wing teabagger lunatic getting what he deserves; the Right will don the hair shirt about another pore conservative voice being silenced by the intolerant left (but he shouldn't have said those awful things).

Having such draconian steps taken against someone who has done nothing more than post their opinion is bone-chilling. While it's not at the level of being dragged off to a re-education camp or icy gulag - yet - it's a step on that slippery slope. To those of you on the left applauding the actions taken against TJIC: how would you feel if that were a left-wing blogger in Texas getting audited over something unflattering they wrote about GWB three years ago? The Bill of Rights is a sum-total package; we take all the freedoms enumerated therein or we take none of them. For far too long both the left and the right have viewed the BoR as a buffet, where some rights are added to the dinner plate with gusto while others are left to languish - or worse, removed entirely from the menu.

"We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. "


Eck! said...

This clearly is a case for the misuse of power to produce a chilling effect on free speech.

What he said may be in poor taste but hey lots of people say things in poor taste or worse. They are not being threatened, yet!


Phillip said...

It constantly puzzles me why anyone is willing to live in Massachusetts. Can you point me at ANY positive reasons for living there?

Eck! said...

Family, work, home, friends, winter ok scratch that one, relative freedom from earthquakes, tornadoes, and only the occasional hurricane.

When I look around at times the grass appears greener elsewhere, then I smell the fertilizer used.

It's the devil we know.


Old NFO said...

Remember the statement, absolute power corrupts absolutely...

What you have here is a clear abuse of power... And he has no way to fight back.

TCA said...

Unite, or be picked off one by one.

TCA said...

Alternate Title: Yes, Darling, I will still respect you in the morning

Robert McDonald said...

Wow. That's scary.

Heath J said...

Isn't this why we have guns?

If the government can just pull the plug on an enumerated right, simply because they don't like a citizen's opinion, Why should we listen to them anymore?

If it takes a court to fix this, fine. He gets everything back plus damages, all good.

What if the court just says " We don't like what you have to say, so hand em' over!"??

This is clearly tyranny.

Phillip said...

Heath J's comment makes me wonder:

Will this be the canary in the mineshaft? The event that starts us rebelling in earnest? If he has to go to court, but the court says he has no right to his own property?

I would like to believe we can change the downward slide of this country with words. If we can't, though, where's the unifying event that causes us to all strike back at once? How will we recognize it? Will it be the day that all the canaries are silenced? The day that the Snowflakes in Hell and War On Guns blogs go silent? Or will it be something else?

Any thoughts?

Spike said...

Jay, i just stole a chunk of the next to last paragraph for my facebook comment. Hope ya don't mind.

Skeptic said...

So, in response to a stupid tweet that was context-less-ly misrepresented far and wide, bringing him great notoriety -- and just when he gets a few stalkers on his blog that are obviously a few bits of hardware short of being fully "hinged", the authorities deem it proper to stop by and check that he can defend himself if they don't happen to be nearby.
Oops, I'm sorry, this is MA, they stop by to make sure that he CANNOT defend himself from someone illegally armed.

Julie said...

Scary stuff JayG ... I thought we were similar in regards to gun licencing as you were in MA - however, we've got this in our news (new south wales) (easy reading version

Andrew said...

At first, I was tempted to post some snark about "only in MA", but we should all be wary about that kind of "it can't happen here" mentality. This really isn't about "suitability" in MA per se, it is about a LEO taking action against somebody for exercising his 1st amendment rights. This is something that we should ALL jump on immediately, or it WILL be coming to a state new you.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Linked and blogged.

Jay, if you get a chance, please let me know if any of my comments on MA law are wrong.

Andrew said...

Just talked to somebody in the know down in ARL and they said that this dude is known and WELL LIKED at the APD and "he'll get his guns back". She would know too.

TJIC said...

Thanks for your support!

wrm said...

>Will this be the canary in the
>mineshaft? The event that starts
>us rebelling in earnest?

Idunno, are *you* rebelling or watching from the sidelines?

Because in my experience (South Africa) people are remarkably good at drawing final lines in the sand and then moving them because "things are not really *that* bad" (in our case "I can get muzzle loaders" -- that was a few years ago, now they're after the MLs as well..)

It's only in _Unintended COnsequences_ and the like where a line gets crossed and violence and damnation is then rained down on the guilty parties... and that's a sad sad thing :-|

Aaron C. de Bruyn said...

TJIC needs to setup a way we can donate to his legal defense.

Phillip said...

wrm, I like to believe that with provocation enough, I'd be one of the persons actively rebelling. My speculation is more accurately stated as "When will we know is the right time, and will there be a defining moment where we all will say enough and load up?"

I truly hope that this will be handled through the courts and our laws will work. I have a young son and don't want to leave him, especially knowing I'm too old to survive a shooting war. But I'd go to war so that my son has a decent country to grow up in.

I'm from the state of West Virginia, where we have a habit of shooting federal agents (revenuers) on general principals, even to this day. Not a big step to shooting their bosses.

Suldog said...

Agreed, 100%. And I see this was written about 2 1/2 years ago (a friend alerted me to your writings, expecting I would like them - I do.) I'll explore a bit more here and see if you're still in this hideous state or if you've moved to more constitutional climes.