The China Desk
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Pat Buchanan vs. Sarah Brady
May 08, 1991
Mr. Patrick Buchanan
Dear Mr. Buchanan:
Thank you for speaking out on "Crossfire" against the Brady Bill.
Your opponent Michael Kinsley kept demanding of you and Mr. Heston: "What would be the harm of asking [sic] people to wait seven days before they could get their hands on a handgun?" Perhaps Mr. Kinsley can better appreciate gunowners' "hysterical opposition" if one answers his question with another question: `What would be the harm of "asking" people to wait seven days before they could see and hear news stories?'
Applying the logic of Brady Bill advocates, local police chiefs such as Daryl Gates would evaluate footage of say, the Rodney King beating for its potential to "undermine public order." (Perhaps even conduct background checks on potential purchasers of videocamcorders. Black troublemaker Al Sharpton need not apply.) Hot-headed, crusading news editors would have the benefit of a week long "cooling off" period to reconsider the wisdom of their editorial choices. In Congressman AuCoin's words, "a simple...seven day wait, a modest inconvenience."
Perhaps Tipper Gore would evaluate problematic films prior to theatrical release, films such as Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," which according to John Hinckley's own testimony inspired him to fire the shots which struck James Brady.
If expediency and pragmatism are the criteria by which legislation is to be evaluated, why not censor films, books, and print and broadcast mediain order to prevent future criminal acts, the First Amendment be damned?
Congressman AuCoin remarked that when it came to gun control the NRA has always favored "nothing at all," as if that fact invalidated the legitimacy of their Second Amendment concerns. Since the ACLU has always favored "nothing at all" in reference to infringements of the First Amendment, that presumably invalidates their concerns as well.
James Madison, who framed the First Amendment said:
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries which are afraid to trust the people with arms."
Do you suppose he knew something about the underlying principle of individual rights that Connie Chung, Peter Jennings, Sarah Brady and Congressman Les AuCoin don't?
Santa Monica, CA