School Shootings and the ‘Price of our Freedom’



By Mr. Curmudgeon:

“In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds … in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” said President Obama in reference to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that ended 26 lives, mostly children.

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” asked the president.

The uncomfortable answer to his last question is, “Yes.”

The president’s allusion to hard politics and the ugly “price of our freedom” is a thinly veiled slight against the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. Obama, and his media partners, have ratcheted up the one-hundred-year-old Progressive argument that pits the desire for security against God-given freedom.

To achieve this, the government must engage in “prior restraint”: curtailing citizen actions to prevent crimes before they occur. Prior restraint usually pertains to cases involving government attempts to curb free speech.

In Near vs. Minnesota (1931), the US Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a Minnesota law that required “malicious” and “scandalous” publications to provide proof for allegations leveled against public officials.

“If we cut through mere details of procedure,” wrote the court in its majority opinion,  “the operation and effect of the statute in substance is that public authorities may bring the owner or publisher of a newspaper or periodical before a judge upon a charge of conducting a business of publishing scandalous and defamatory matter … unless the owner or publisher is able and disposed to bring competent evidence to satisfy the judge that the charges are true and are published with good motives and for justifiable ends … This is of the essence of censorship.”

In other words, shielding public officials from false press accusations did not trump the Constitution’s First Amendment free speech. The Minnesota law, in essence, declared all investigative reporting illegal unless proven true to the satisfaction of the courts. The high court ruled that freedom – not truth – was the higher principle. The final arbiter of truth, therefore, is the court of public opinion.

In an address delivered before the grieving citizens of Newtown, President Obama said, “These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.”

“But that can’t be an excuse for inaction,” Obama added, “Surely, we can do better than this. If there is one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.”

That “step” requires restraining free citizens from exercising their inalienable right to bear arms; to regard rational, law-abiding Americans as criminally insane perpetrators in waiting.

Freedom is a hard pill to swallow. If not, free societies would be the rule in our dark world and not the exception. Understanding this, our nation’s Founders denied Congress and the political majority the power to make laws curtailing individual rights.

Freedom of speech, religion and the right to defend them through gun ownership were enshrined in the first two amendments of our Constitution because freedom – not security – is the highest American principle.


  1. It's good to know someone has their priorities in order in light of all this gun control talk threatening the second amendment.

    I, for one, would happily sacrifice as many children as possible for this inalienable right, as I'm sure all of you would gladly sacrifice your children to some crazed lunatic.

    Such dedication brings a tear to my eyes. Not of course, for those kids, but the heartfelt joy that everyone is free to blow them away,

    • Like President Obama, you assume all gun owners wish to blow kids away. The reality is that we wish to maintain our right to bear arms to defend kids against maniacs. Those who would deny us our rights to, as the tired phrase goes, “save the children,” miss that life-saving logic.

      It’s worth remembering that Obama’s Operation Fast and Furious, which placed assault weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, was intended to bolster murder and mayhem in that tortured country to justify the reinstatement of the US assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004. Hundreds of men women and, yes, children died due to a scheme with a greater and deadlier reach than perpetrated by that maniac in Connecticut.
      — Mr. C.

      • I cannot remember a time in this country when conservatives have managed to make every single news story into some sort of conspiracy theory. Fast and Furious, ACORN, Benghazi, 9/11, Iran, Syria, Palestinians, UN resolutions, you name it, it's another conspiracy. I'm sure somewhere there's an article that's been written informing conservatives of the massive conspiracy behind Obama's pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey.

        And you wonder why people think you folks are genuine crazies…

        I have yet to hear any Democrat say they want to take away everyone's guns. Yet no matter what they propose, that is what YOU hear. It doesn't matter how reasonable or rational the proposal is, because it might be any inconvenience whatsoever it's of the devil and rejected out of hand.

        Yet I'M the one who's supposedly "unhinged." Your paranoia knows no bounds. Why don't you all just dig your bomb shelters, live there a few decades and leave the rest of us rational folks alone.

        • If you were familiar at all with your nation’s history, you would know that it began with a series of conspiracies. The Sons of Liberty staged a little tea-dumping protest – some call it a “party” – at Boston Harbor, while members of various Masonic lodges plotted revolution against a British tyrant to form a nation of laws and not sappy personality cults.

          However, I agree with you that there are few conspiracies in operation in our world. I don’t view reality through the twisted lens of politics, like irrational lefties. The battle in America is not between right and left, but between right and wrong. As Abraham Lincoln observed, the perpetual struggle – within us and around the world – is between our baser instincts and “the better angels of our nature.”

          My objection to what calls itself the left is its infantile rage – eating the rich, regulating our every waking hour, forcing a once free people into a totalitarian health care regime and disarming law-abiding Americans.

          Revenge is the left’s excuse for failing to succeed in a free society. The use of force, you see, is the last refuge of underachievers. With most of his life an abject failure, Hitler’s single, stunning success was as a tyrannical mass murderer.

          Underachieving revenge-seekers are not part of a conspiracy; they simply fail to transcend the darker aspects of their character, forcing the normal and well adjusted into the cattle cars. The left’s twisted worldview is not a product of politics but a self-destructive character flaw. That is why it was inevitable Hitler found himself in a Berlin bunker with a pistol in one hand and a cyanide tablet in the other. A life obsessed with revenge is self-consuming.
          — Mr. C.