Priceless. Sharron Angle, who once told her supporters that if they didn’t get what they wanted at the ballot box, they should pursue their “Second Amendment remedies,” found it prudent yesterday to emphasize her deep and abiding faith in the First Amendment. Via the New York Times coverage of Sarah Palin’s, uh, courageous [cough] public/media appearance on . . . uh, her Face Book page, [cough], we find this:
Ms. Palin was not the only one to respond to criticism Wednesday. Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed Republican who lost her Senate race against Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, also issued a statement defending herself against criticism.
“Expanding the context of the attack to blame and to infringe upon the people’s Constitutional liberties is both dangerous and ignorant,” she said in the statement, according to media reports. “The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger.”
Ms. Angle said during the campaign that voters could pursue “Second Amendment remedies” if the political process doesn’t work for them. In the wake of the shooting, those remarks have been criticized anew.
But Ms. Angle said in her statement Wednesday that: “Finger-pointing towards political figures is an audience-rating game and contradicts the facts as they are known – that the shooter was obsessed with his twisted plans long before the Tea Party movement began.”
Well, that’s right, we should all unite to protect the First Amendment’s guarantee of the peoples’ right to peaceably assemble and petition our government for redress of grievances, even if some of the speakers/petitions may seem offensive or crazy to others. We’re with you, there, Sharron. But that’s not what she said at the time, and it’s right to hold her accountable for what she said, rather than letting her duck responsibility.
Back then, the message was, if we don’t get what we want, it’s okay to encourage citizens to buy guns and mount an armed insurrection, which may well include threats or shooting government officials, because what else does “pursue our Second Amendment remedies” mean?
And notice her final argument. The suspect had already planned to kill, before the Tea Party was formed, she says. Assuming that’s true, what the argument says is that anyone who encourages a crazy person to get a gun to “pursue their Second Amendment remedies” shouldn’t be held responsible if the shooter had already pulled the trigger before the encouragement began. I think that’s correct in criminal law, but it’s not impressive in the court of public opinion.
But don’t worry about this minor confusion. I’m sure that when Justice Scalia presents his tutorial on the Constitution to the incoming Tea-GOPers, he’ll explain that when the five conservative Justices endorsed his views proclaiming that individuals had a right to buy/own guns, he didn’t actually say that meant a rapid-firing, semi-automatic pistol with a 30 round clip, and it didn’t occur to him/them some of us might want to pretend we’re a “militia” protecting our liberties against a federal mandate to buy insurance, and he surely didn’t mean they should go out and shoot a Congressperson. Those original thoughts never crossed their minds. Never do.