Ed Note: Don’t blame 1st Amendment
When Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot outside a Tucson supermarket, the left was swift in attaching blame to inflammatory conservative rhetoric from the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.
Former President Bill Clinton suggested conservative talk show hosts shared responsibility for fomenting a hostile environment that breeds the resentment that leads to violence.
Now, two New York City cops have been assassinated in New York City by a gunman who said he was acting to avenge the deaths of young black men at the hands of police. And conservatives are placing the blame on the anti-police atmosphere generated by national street protests and pandering politicians.
The two incidents have this in common: The shooters were flat-out crazy, and the likelihood they were acting rationally to make a political statement is non-existent.
In neither case can the blame be assigned to Americans from either the right or left exercising their First Amendment rights.
Doing so only serves the cause of those who would shut down free speech.
There are a lot of insane people in this country, and trying to anticipate which provocative comment, which boisterous protest will spark them to violence is a fool’s game.
Deal with the crazy and leave the First Amendment alone.