Friday, June 27, 2008


The two lead stories in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle were about guns. That the stories were side by side on the front page was not, I assume, an accident.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision saying Americans have a constitutional right to own guns occupied the center of the page. To the right was continuing coverage about a father and two sons who were gunned down and killed here last Sunday after a minor traffic incident.

If the consequences that follow from important Supreme Court decisions weren’t so serious the intellectual and philosophical inconsistency that go hand-in-hand with Justice Scalia’s latest foray into ‘originalism’ would be laughable. To argue with a straight face that the Founders wanted the Constitution interpreted the way Scalia and his buddies see it in 2008 is the polar opposite of originalism. It has been interpreted the other way around for more than 200 years, for God’s sake.

The Scalia/Thomas/Alito/Roberts coalition, joined unfortunately all too often by Kennedy, make decisions that fit their conservative political philosophy. That’s it, pure and simple, no matter how skillfully they may argue their ‘holier than thou’ point of view. It would be easier to take if they were just honest about it. But that won’t happen.

In the meantime, the Tony, Michael and Matthew Bolognas of the world will be senselessly killed by guns, legally or illegally obtained. In their caskets the difference is of no importance.

A small confession. My libertarian proclivities give rise to a little voice in my head that says the government should not be telling us we can or cannot own guns. It is our business, not theirs. Punish us if we break the law. Don’t punish us before we’ve done anything wrong.

Like I say, a small confession. I still don’t like the Court’s decision.


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