Bill outlawing violent symbols missing a few things

Keith Riler
Predictably, liberal politicians and the media overlooked personal responsibility in the case of Jared Loughner, the Arizona shooter.  Likewise, that the ne'er-do-well was a pot smoker, a Karl Marx fan and anti-God (any one of which would get member fees waived at the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Foundation or Southern Poverty Law Center), all seem to have escaped the media's notice in the rush to blame responsible religious capitalists of the tea-party sort.

As many have observed, the instantaneous and disgusting use of real tragedy and death for utilitarian political gain was disappointing.  Rep. Robert Brady's proposed legislation outlawing critical speech is more such exploitation.  To address the "vitriol," Rep. Brady plans to make it a crime to speak in a way that could incite violence against federal officials or congressmen:

"The president is a federal official," Brady told CNN in a telephone interview. "You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge."

Believe it or not, I think that with a few improvements Brady's idea may have some merit, as a sincerity test if nothing else. 

First, we all should benefit from the protection Rep. Brady is offering, not just DC politicians.  After all, this isn't health insurance.  If we over-legislate, let's at least do it fairly. 

Second, let's expand the new protections to cover situations like the Cape Cod arsons where there was a strong possibility that class warfare vitriol fueled the violence.

So to Rep. Brady's language, I suggest we add the following (additions underlined):

Legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a citizen, federal official or member of Congress.  Such language, whether uttered by an elected official or an unelected citizen, would include, but not be limited to, the inciting of hatred based upon differences in race, wealth or status. 

 The additions achieve an all-inclusiveness that Rep. Brady's original proposal was missing.  No politician who supports Rep. Brady's original concept should oppose the improvements, unless that politician favors citizen-targeted violence. 

I hope Rep. Brady will join me in condemning any vitriolic speech that could lead to violence, even if spoken by an elected official.

Predictably, liberal politicians and the media overlooked personal responsibility in the case of Jared Loughner, the Arizona shooter.  Likewise, that the ne'er-do-well was a pot smoker, a Karl Marx fan and anti-God (any one of which would get member fees waived at the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Foundation or Southern Poverty Law Center), all seem to have escaped the media's notice in the rush to blame responsible religious capitalists of the tea-party sort.

As many have observed, the instantaneous and disgusting use of real tragedy and death for utilitarian political gain was disappointing.  Rep. Robert Brady's proposed legislation outlawing critical speech is more such exploitation.  To address the "vitriol," Rep. Brady plans to make it a crime to speak in a way that could incite violence against federal officials or congressmen:

"The president is a federal official," Brady told CNN in a telephone interview. "You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge."

Believe it or not, I think that with a few improvements Brady's idea may have some merit, as a sincerity test if nothing else. 

First, we all should benefit from the protection Rep. Brady is offering, not just DC politicians.  After all, this isn't health insurance.  If we over-legislate, let's at least do it fairly. 

Second, let's expand the new protections to cover situations like the Cape Cod arsons where there was a strong possibility that class warfare vitriol fueled the violence.

So to Rep. Brady's language, I suggest we add the following (additions underlined):

Legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a citizen, federal official or member of Congress.  Such language, whether uttered by an elected official or an unelected citizen, would include, but not be limited to, the inciting of hatred based upon differences in race, wealth or status. 

 The additions achieve an all-inclusiveness that Rep. Brady's original proposal was missing.  No politician who supports Rep. Brady's original concept should oppose the improvements, unless that politician favors citizen-targeted violence. 

I hope Rep. Brady will join me in condemning any vitriolic speech that could lead to violence, even if spoken by an elected official.