To the editor:
Recently, saner gun control zealots posed the question why not trade some of our freedoms – the right to own a gun – in exchange for more security. They justify this need to trade freedom for security by quoting President Obama's recent inauguration speech wherein he said, "Fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges."
The gun-control zealots argue that his speech gives credence to the need for limiting individual freedoms for the sake of increased security. They believe that the right under the 2nd Amendment to own a firearm is such a terrible security risk that the mere ownership of firearms violates and places at risk the nation's pursuit of happiness. Yet, the gun control zealots ignore or disregard the citizen whose pursuit of happiness includes owning firearms. Gun control zealots argue that providing security ensures and guarantees the nation's pursuit of happiness and is therefore, much more important and necessary than the individual's pursuit of happiness.
This is an interesting argument, trading freedom for security, and on the surface displays some logic – the collective good over the individual's freedom. But, this logic begins to fall apart when viewed through the lens of recent and past U.S. government actions. In the past 10 years, the federal government has consistently and constantly chipped away at the Bill or Rights guaranteeing our individual freedoms. Documented actions taken by federal and state governments in the name of security have included multiple violations of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th amendments.
Unfortunately many Americans naively advocate trading freedom for security and support the flawed logic of the collective being superior to the individual. These individuals unwittingly approve unconstitutional acts for the sake of security even after the Supreme Court rules on their constitutionality.
How many times has the expression "well if it supports increased security, I'm for it" had horrendous results? As a past example, ask Japanese-Americans about the concentration camps of World War II! A more recent example involves a Missouri State Trooper, who forcibly drew blood from a suspected drunk driver without a warrant. Employing the logic of trading freedom for security, forcibly drawing blood without a warrant from a suspected drunk driver would make Missouri roads more secure. The Supreme Court ruled this action unconstitutional and a clear violation of the suspect's 4th Amendment rights.
The flawed logic of trading freedom for security ultimately leads to and demands the abolition of the United States Constitution and the attendant Bill of Rights. Individual freedoms would be replaced with increased security demands and regulations that somehow enjoin the collective pursuit of happiness, but disregard the individual's pursuit of happiness.
Realizing the seductiveness of security, one of the founders of our great nation, Benjamin Franklin, warned, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." Rather than plagiarizing Neville Chamberlin's "peace in our time," President Obama should have coined "security in our time" at the price of freedom!
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