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.


Anonymous said...

What an excellent column. I always enjoy reading your comments.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. To the point. And, oh so true. Martha is the only real Republican candidate for thew AG race. And, needless to say, the best candidate to be AG after the oppressive time hat we will just refer to as the "Blumenthal Dark Days". MARTHA DEAN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL!!!

Murphy said...

Martha Dean wants to uphold the Constitution, what a novel idea! Martha Dean for Attorney General!

Anonymous said...

A very good understanding of what I heard on that blustery day. Obviously Mr Green wasn't there, too many freedom loving people present for the likes of him.

As for his article, I guess he never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

Thank you Mr Pesci for your insightful comments.


Fuzzy Dunlop said...

A point of clarification regarding the state of second amendment jurisprudence. Amendments to the constitution only apply to the states if they are "incorporated" through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendments. So while it is true that after District of Colombia v. Heller the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT cannot limit an individual's right to possess a firearm (that case having involved the federal district that is our seat of national government), the question of whether and to what degree STATE GOVERNMENT's can do so has not yet been decided. Fortunately, for anyone who's really dying to know the answer to this question, the Supreme Court recently heard arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, which presents the question of whether the second amendment applies to states.

Don Pesci said...


True enough. But the Heller decision is not an encouragement for those who would wish to limit gun rights in Connecticut under a state constitutional provision that says: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. (Art. I, § 15) (1818)”

The state constitution in Vermont – where both Green and Dean hail from, according to Green’s piece – is even more liberal, if I may use that word: “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State—and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power. (Chapter I, Art. 16) (1777)”

Don Pesci said...

The Green piece was a self evident slime job – Cyborg blue eyes? I guess I expected a little more subtlety from the Courant. Dean’s announcement mentioned that her campaign would be built on three pillars: freedom, faith and fortune. I have no reason to believe that the Courant would stand on any of these. The so called editorial interview was a set up. McEnroe and Green are already howling; the faggots have been piled up; the fires are ready. All they need is St. Joan. Libertarian cyborgs have come to expect this treatment. You want to argue; you want to debate a point – go ahead, argue, debate. But blue eyes! Goddamit, I have blue eyes. A line has to be drawn somewhere, no?

Don Pesci said...


Just saw this:


Don Pesci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fuzzy Dunlop said...

Somewhat serendipitous. There's a lot to bite off with the opinion, and on first read it's not quite as black and white as I'm sure many will make it out to be.

I will say that I'm dissappointed that Justice Alito acknowledged vast amount of scholarly criticism regarding the court's treatment of the Privileges and Immunities clause, and then decided the issue using the less logically sound incorporation clause.

I'll have more to say once I've had more time to digest the opinion. But it's available in full on the Supreme Court's website now.

Anonymous said...

Well done as usual, Don. Indeed if the people have no right in themselves to bear armed, how can a militia ever be formed? Where we have lost the battle is in the arena of language and the arena of civics education. Ninety-five percent of what goes on could never have occurred 100 years ago because of the greater precision required in speech.

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