Friday, December 28, 2012

Piers Morgan, and First/Second Amendment rights

The petition against the television personality is unwarranted -- and unjust

CNN’s Piers Morgan isn’t exactly someone you’d ordinarily rush to defend. The former British tabloid editor, judge of “America’s Got Talent,” and replacement host of Larry King’s former talk show spot, doesn’t exactly reach the criteria for someone worth caring that much over.

With that said, Morgan’s recent stance on gun control in America is commendable -- and the response to it from gun owners is deplorable.

Morgan recently came out in favor of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, which took the lives of twenty children and six adults. Morgan berated a gun rights spokesman on his show, calling him a “stupid” and “dangerous man.”

Perhaps Morgan’s response wasn’t the most cordial one. But it’s still his to make, and for us to accept or push aside, however legitimate we deem it to be.

Yet, because of his comments, right wing gun supporters have posted a petition on the White House’s website, urging President Obama to deport the television personality.

The petition states:
British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights...
The irony behind this petition is that it claims Morgan is attacking an important freedom found in the Constitution while simultaneously neglecting the importance of another protected right: that of free speech. While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and the right to promote your ideas without fear or persecution from the government.

Of course, within all rights there are limits, usually defined by what harm befalls another individual due to their use/abuse. You cannot use speech rights to cause harm to others, for example -- screaming “bomb” on a crowded plane just to get a giggle isn’t acceptable, given the commotion and potential for injury to others surrounding you.

CNN's Piers Morgan favors stricter gun control legislation
But calling for stricter controls on guns, especially in the wake of such a horrible tragedy, doesn’t fit the bill for “harm.” Piers Morgan didn’t take away anyone’s rights with his words -- nor does he have the power to do so in any way, shape, or form.

Describing his comments as a “hostile attack” on the Constitution is therefore unwarranted, and beyond exaggeration. Morgan has every right to question the extent of the Second Amendment, and how far is too far when it comes to gun ownership. His freedom to do so is derived from a natural-given right to express himself without worry of political retribution from the government.

Those who signed the petition to deport Piers Morgan believe his right to question gun ownership goes too far -- and that’s an opinion they’re free to have. But if they’re to hold that opinion, that a person’s words can warrant outright expulsion from our nation, it’s hardly proper for them to also pretend that they’re somehow the keepers of our other liberties.

In fact, just the opposite holds true -- those claiming to be oppressed are in actuality advocating the oppression of another individual based on freedoms he deserves to exercise.

Agree or disagree with Mr. Morgan: the petition against him is rubbish, and his right to express his thoughts are protected.

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