Forum: Abuse of guns and words could cost Americans both

Refusal to accept limits to violent use of speech and firearms are threat to 1st, 2nd Amendments.

By Ron Friesen / Herald Forum

Hate-filled words have been replaced with bullets in Colorado Springs. Is it any surprise that the insidious spread of hate speech and hate-driven legislation coincides with the rising rates of violence against the “evil others”? It is not just the “hated” that are at risk. We all are.

Our First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech. The purpose of that right was for “the people” to be able to freely and critically hold our government accountable with clarity, vigor and truth. The provocateurs who spew hate speech not only endanger lives, but they endanger our collective freedom.

The ultimate purpose of haters and hate speech, and liars and lies, is to silence those who do not agree with them, not to reach consensus or truth. Our “freedom of speech” is ultimately on thin ice when autocrats fomenting rebellion with lies and hate speech get into power, whether on school boards, city councils, county and state governments, or our federal government. But these so-called “freedom activists” are the wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Vigilance is required to prevent these wolves from stalking in, unchallenged into our naive herd that just does not want to be bothered by politics. All of us who value freedom of speech are being threatened.

Our Second Amendment is under assault as well. The umbrella of “a well-regulated militia” has been conveniently tossed aside by those who proclaim, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” What a wretched lie! Yes, people do kill people. And the tool of choice is a gun that is specifically designed to do just that. Well my goodness, there is obviously no connection whatsoever, right? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

It was an unregulated militia that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while the regulated militia, our National Guard, was delayed in its deployment. And anyone who thinks that plotting the overthrow of our government is a thing of the past is delusional. Those unwilling to accept election results are multiplying, which can only lead to more violence by more unregulated militias claiming moral superiority over everyone else. Sound familiar? Think, Taliban!

So how does this endanger the Second Amendment? Very simplly. As gun violence continues unabated, and as election deniers proliferate, so the calls to eliminate all guns are growing louder. Those of us who want a “well-regulated militia” to protect us, and more laws plus strict enforcement to get get guns out of the hands of the untrained and mentally unstable will soon be silenced. What will be left will be a free-for-all “guns-for-all” or no guns for anyone. How can this dispute possibly end but in violence?

I am old enough to remember the old western TV shows. When the town was being terrorized by hooligans with guns, the sheriff came to town. He collected all the guns when folks (the rowdy cowboys) came into the town. When they were ready to leave, the guns were returned. No one else in town carried a gun. Peace was restored and fear evaporated. Our “gun rights” activists and businesses are blindly pushing us to this very viable outcome. No one complained about “Second Amendment rights” on the TV shows, did they? It would have been ridiculous!

So how long before the constant threats of gun violence, like the threats to our schools, finally results in “We have had enough! No! More! Guns!” All the gun rights folks are blindly leading this parade!

So, can we find reason in the middle? Can we have discussion and solutions without hate? The answers used to be, “Yes.” The answers have to be “Yes!”

Ron Friesen is a longtime Marysville resident, a retired music teacher and community and church musician and is committed to community improvement.

Herald Forum

The Herald Forum invites community members to submit essays on topics of importance and interest to them. Essays typically are between 400 and 600 words in length, although exceptions for longer pieces can be made. To submit essays or for more information about the Herald Forum, write Herald Opinion editor Jon Bauer at or call him at 425-339-3466.

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