Friday, June 25, 2010

Mr. Green Breaks Open a Vein

On Friday, June 25, Courant columnist Rick Green shot his bolt at Republican nominee for attorney general Martha Dean. His column was entitled, “Martha Dean, A Candidate Who Shoots From The Hip.”

Mr. Green was responding to a speech Mrs. Dean had given to a group of people he doubtless would consider gun-nuts, the members of Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

The day was blustery, Mr. Green reports, but not quite as blustery as Mr. Green’s overheated rhetoric.

Mr. Green quotes “the heat-seeking Republican missile” – that would be the affable, eminently rational Mrs. Dean – to this effect: “’Our rights,’ the heat-seeking Republican missile told a Connecticut Citizens Defense League rally, ‘… were created by our creator.’

“Dean, now the party-endorsed candidate, marched on, promising she would ‘protect and affirm the individual right to bear arms.’’

Elsewhere in his column the metaphor toting Mr. Green refers to Mrs. Dean as “the blonde gunslinger,” promising to “saddle up” and “protect and affirm the individual right to bear arms.” In the manner of a man who feels slighted in the presence of an intelligent woman, Mr. Green thinks it necessary to dehumanize his subject, and so he refers to the “cyborg-like quality to Dean's tractor-beam blue eyes.”

We may pause here to note that it is not only blondes who in Mr. Green’s judgment sometime are given to hysterical and thoughtless comments; Mr. Green’s hair is brown, and his commentary, which contains more allusions per square inch than a poem by Ezra Pound, is a bit over the edge; but edgy commentary, as opposed to reflective commentary, these days appears to be a staple at the Hartford Courant.

Clearly, Mr. Green’s intemperate language, were he running for office, might have lost the votes of a) blonde women, who rightly resent the imputation that they are hysterical-dumb, and b) the esteemed members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who decided in a recent decision that the second amendment did not confer a right to bear arm on state militias but rather on individual less hysterical than Mr. Green who own firearms, some of whom may belong to groups like the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, who on that blustery day were applauding Mrs. Dean’s understanding of the founders understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

After all, the shot heard round the world was fired in defense of old English rights later subsumed in the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And that shot did not come out of the barrel of a ball point pen. It was fired by men who thought they had a right to bear arms in defense of their God-given liberties, a point touched upon by the affable Mrs. Dean in her remarks, and misconstrued by Mr. Green, one hopes not purposely.

The people who wrote the Constitution, even the Deists among them, were natural law philosophers; and natural rights come from nature’s God, which is why they are inprescriptable. What God hath given, no man may proscribe.

Mrs. Dean hinted strongly at that notion on the blustery day of her speech before the Connecticut Citizens Defense League. She touched upon it more fully in her announcement for attorney general, which is available to Mr. Green and other commentators on the internet.

Perhaps the wind blew the subtler of Mrs. Dean’s remarks out of Mr. Green’s hearing. Or perhaps he was not present on that blustery day. It is possible Mr. Green picked up Mrs. Dean’s remarks from some video clip, the better to edit out the overarching references that give body to her thoughts. It is possible he picked up the thoughtless prejudices displayed so shamelessly in his column from others of his like-minded comrades at the Courant. One likes to be sociable; one likes to be liked, a natural law, probably God-given for those who believe in God, not mentioned in the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution.

The right to bear arms -- celebrated by Mrs. Dean on that blustery, windswept day cited in Mr. Greens blustery, overwrought, metaphorically impacted column -- IS mentioned in the second amendment.

The harem-scarem false notions surrounding that amendment and the natural rights protected by it – such as the right to self defense -- might possibly be routed by either a course in constitutional interpretation, a course in the founding father’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, or a course in right reasoning. Mr. Green would benefit from all three. Mrs. Dean apparently has already taken the courses.

Mr. Green is not the most accomplished logic chopper on the block. For instance, he quotes the “heat seeking Republican missile,” the affable Mrs. Dean: “I will oppose all efforts to create nonsensical distinctions — that are nowhere supported by our constitutions — between different types of firearms." And then Mr. Green, skipping lightly over the word “nonsensical” supplies the following gloss: “That would be, say, machine guns.”

Why not howitzers?

Actually, no. Prohibiting machine guns very well could be a “sensible” rather than a nonsensical distinction. And prohibiting metaphorical machine guns from falling into the hands of Mr. Green might be useful, provided no one argues that the constitution warrants it.

Mrs. Dean’s proposal that as attorney general she would advocate “firearms training for boys and girls in school, in scouts, at camp and elsewhere” is for Mr. Green the “coup de’grace,” a species of “atavistic rhetoric” that should have nothing to do “with becoming attorney general in politically moderate New England.”

Mr. Green, rather than making wild suppositions, should have sought some clarity on the point from Mrs. Dean. There are phones, one presumes, at the Courant. Presumably, Mrs. Dean would not, as attorney general, force school systems to teach gun safety to students precisely in the way that present Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now running as a Democrat for the U.S. congress, did attempt by a suit to force fruit loops makers from beguiling small children to consume sugary cereal. Presumably, Mrs. Dean would be an advocate for the Second Amendment in the way that Mr. Green is an advocate for the First Amendment, or at least that portion of it that gives him the right to heap ridicule on Republican nominees for attorney general.

The question whether children – especially children in Hartford and other Connecticut cities long regarded as a shooting galleries – should be given the opportunity to be taught about responsible gun use has now been put on the table. Presumably, such a course would include, in vivid detail, what may await children and others who do not use guns legally and responsibly. The pros and cons of that proposal merit sober discussion, not the sort of claptrap employed by partisans to defame their opponents. Perhaps someone could arrange for a civil debate between Mrs. Dean, Mr. Green and/or other contestants for the position of attorney general on the following resolution – Resolved: Gun safety programs in schools would make cities safer.

I’d be perfectly willing to offer myself as a moderator of such a debate, on the sole condition that Mr. Green agrees before the debate commences that the Second Amendment, which gives individuals the right to bear arms -- even here in moderate Connecticut – does not compel them to shoot each other at debates.
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