A little while ago, and with a little prompting, I declared that I am Simon Jester – that proclamation still holds true (and I even have a dedicated category for related posts), but, today, I am someone else as well.
Today, I am TJIC.
Who is TJIC? Honestly, I do not have the foggiest… I know of his webpage, and I know his moniker, but I cannot say as though I read the former, and I do not recall seeing the latter terribly often… but the truth is, if you run a weblog, and you are concerned with either the First or Second Amendments, you are TJIC too.
Why? See for yourself:
A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.
It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.
Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license.
And for the sake of clarity, understand that this gross abuse of governmental powers is taking place in Massachusetts, where one cannot possess so much as an expended .22 case without a firearms license.
Additionally, just so we are all on the same page, below is a transcript of the TJIC post in question, entitled “1 down, 534 to go”, as retrieved from this Bing cache:
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event, Arizona Public Media reported Saturday.
The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.
At least nine other people, including members of her staff, were hurt. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson. Her condition was not immediately known.
Giffords was talking to a couple when the suspect ran up firing indiscriminately and then ran off, Michaels said.
It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”.
Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.
I have absolutely no problems in admitting that, even with my occasionally quite morbid sense of humor, I find TJIC’s post and joke to be somewhat distasteful, and rather inappropriate for the circumstances… but, so what? I also find it distasteful to put an upside-down crucifix into a urinal full of piss, but that kind of expression is protected by the First Amendment, and thus shielded from any individual’s personal tastes and biases, and, coincidentally, so is TJIC’s post. Unfortunately, the Arlington Police Department does not seem to have a copy of the Constitution handy.
“But wait,” you are saying, “If this TJIC character really threatened government officials, there must be criminal charges, right?” Wrong.
Corcoran, who has no criminal history, has not been arrested and does not face any charges. Arlington police saying they are working with the Capitol Police in their investigation, and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation have been alerted.
No criminal history. No arrest. No criminal charges. And yet the Arlington Police Department “visited” his home, suspended his firearm license (for an unknown amount of time… it might even be revoked, pending “investigation”), and confiscated at least 11 firearms.
Let that sink in for a moment. TJIC (whose carbon name appears to be Travis Corcoran) committed no crime and made no actual threat of violence, or at least not one that his police department was willing to arrest him over, or charge him with. However, that same police department effectively stole his property, and may eventually be forcing him to sell off more of it (again, if his permit is revoked, he has to unload all of his firearms). Is the phrase “due process” completely alien to the state of Massachusetts?
There are no two ways around it, people – this is a blatant attack, by the Arlington, MA police department, against the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution, and should be regarded as such.
The irony, of course, is that situations like these are exactly the kinds of things that prompt people like TJIC to make the jokes he did…
I originally heard about this story by way of Jay G. at MArooned, who had this to say:
Having such draconian steps taken against someone who has done nothing more than post their opinion is bone-chilling. While it’s not at the level of being dragged off to a re-education camp or icy gulag – yet – it’s a step on that slippery slope. To those of you on the left applauding the actions taken against TJIC: how would you feel if that were a left-wing blogger in Texas getting audited over something unflattering they wrote about GWB three years ago? The Bill of Rights is a sum-total package; we take all the freedoms enumerated therein or we take none of them. For far too long both the left and the right have viewed the BoR as a buffet, where some rights are added to the dinner plate with gusto while others are left to languish – or worse, removed entirely from the menu.
Likewise, Borepatch, the originator of the above graphic and recent refugee from Massafrakkingchusetts, opined the following:
So, what do we know about the Arlington Police Department? We know that they’re lazy – nobody assigned to watch over this “dangerous” suspect. We know that they’re biased – Arlington is a hotbed of George W. Bush hatred, and the last decade would offer a wealth of examples of similar or worse speech, none of which was investigated.
And we know that they’re idiots. It’s not like there isn’t a ton of case law on how the First Amendment applies to threats of political violence. Arlington will lose this, if it ever gets to trial. Post Heller and McDonald, they’ll lose even worse. Idiots.
I sincerely hope he is right, and have every reason to believe so.
Additionally, Snugg Harbor has a post that should be read in its entirety, especially given how it ties together the importance “progressives” and “liberals” have placed on the First Amendment when it comes to dissent and offensive speech over the past half-a-century.
Finally, Kevin, DirtCrashr, Alan, Midwest Chick, Mr. B, BlueSun, RobertM, Jake, Jennifer, Tam, Firehand, Roberta X, The Freeholder, Kevin, Robb, Sarah, Christopher, Pistolero, Dragon, Eseell, and JP are all TJIC… and so are you, assuming you care about the First or Second Amendments.
(As a brief aside, if I have said it once, I have said it more times than I care to count: registration leads to confiscation. Period. Since TJIC had to register all of his firearms with the state of Massachusetts, the police knew exactly where to look when they were ready to infringe on his Constitutionally-protected rights – would the police in non-registration states be so informed, or so bold?)