I watched today as millions of young people took to the streets across the nation, and stood up to speak truth to power. In Washington, students from Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere called on adults in the nation to address the problem of gun violence in the country. Their words were more powerful than the guns they hope to silence. If you have a chance, listen to Emma Gonzalez’ speech (including the 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence).
I recognize power of free speech as a core value in our society. I embrace our constitutional rights, including the first amendment right to freedom of expression, and clearly, that right extends to the National Rifle Association. I disagree vehemently with the positions of the NRA, but I understand their right to speak. I also believe I am free to oppose the NRA by exercising my first amendment rights.
When a host of NRATV said that no one would know the names of the teenagers from Parkland if it weren’t for the fact that their classmates were shot, he was telling an ugly truth. Clearly he has a first amendment right to speak the truth as he understands it. Here, from Cleve Wootson at the Washington Post:
The latest attack came from Colion Noir, a host on NRATV who took to the airwaves on the eve of the Parkland teens-led March on Washington, telling them: “No one would know your names” if a student gunman hadn’t stormed into their school and killed three staff members and 14 students.
— Washington Post
The NRA wants to put assault weapons in the hands of anyone who wants one. Gun sales and profits are their main objective. Public safety, the safety of children in our schools, the lives of worshippers in churches, of dancers in a nightclub, or those of music fans attending concerts do not concern the NRA. They are advocates for unrestricted access to instruments of murder.
The NRA should be free to stand in the public square yell their ugly ideas as loud as they can — but let them build their own distribution platform. The first amendment expresses no requirement that companies like Apple, Amazon, Google (YouTube), etc. make their platforms available to the NRA to amplify their vile, dangerous propaganda.
Join me in writing to these companies (I try to send something at least once a week) to encourage them to remove NRATV from their platforms.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.