I know I am not the only one who is disturbed by images of all those gun-toting men showing up at public forums on health care. This whole thing would be pathetic were it not so ominous.
Pathetic because to me the whole tough guy "look at me I'm strapped" thing is just a front. You carry a weapon because you are afraid, otherwise why buy a pistol in the first place. Ominous because the obvious and no doubt intentional side-effect of expressing one's right to bear arms at a public venue that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment is to chill another important Constitutional right, the First Amendment right to free speech.
Maybe the difference between them and me is that I don't define myself merely by my rights, but also by the duties and obligations conferred upon me by the privilege of living in a free society. I have a duty to make my voice heard. I have a responsibility to listen hard to what the other fellow is saying. We both have an obligation to find the best answer available to solve whatever problems face us today rather than putting them off onto the shoulders of the next generation.
So forget about all that Tree of Liberty bullshit. These people are nothing more than bullies and thugs who think they can get their way through intimidation and screaming. Well, to quote former President George W. Bush, "Bring it on."
This article first appeared in Every Man A Giant.