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Opinion Second amendment blindness

George HasaraA well-known psychological test that can be viewed on the internet involves a video that has people dressed in black and others dressed in white passing a basketball around. The stated objective of the test is to count the number of passes made by those in white. The real purpose of the experiment is to see if you notice the person in the gorilla suit who mingles with the group. For about half the people who take the “Invisible Gorilla Test,” the gorilla is in fact, “invisible.” Psychologists label this phenomenon as “inattentional blindness,” resulting from focusing on something too hard.

The concept of inattentional blindness reminds me of those who argue for protection of second amendment rights while ignoring the erosion of others. For some, the only metric that matters is the possession of firearms. Somehow, as long as you are armed, you are free, because if government totally trashes the concepts of Jefferson and Washington, you have Smith & Wesson to back you up. Of course, the firepower and resources of the government are a bit more extensive than that of its citizenry.

One of those government resources is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The most disturbing aspect of that legislation is the codification of the government's practice of indefinite detention on U.S. soil for suspected terrorist activities. The wording is vague enough so that “terrorism” can be interpreted very broadly and it's unclear if U.S. citizens are exempt from the suspension of habeas corpus, which means they probably aren't. Since the expanded government powers found in the NDAA are for the “bad guys,” public outcry has been somewhat muted. What many overlook is, since evidence doesn't have to be made public of why someone is rounded up, they can be arrested for any or no reason at all. How would anyone know?

Please excuse the gun pun, but one would think the NRA would be up in arms about this further movement toward a police state. Shouldn't imprisoning people without charge be in the sites of an organization that prides itself on promoting freedom? Oh sure, you'll be in jail, but your guns will be safe and secure back home, waiting for your return. Just make sure you keep up with your NRA dues.

Another developing story connected to second amendment issues is Obama's not so “secret” kill list. The practice involves drones to assassinate people throughout the world who are deemed to be threats to the United States. The President and those he delegates are judge, jury and executioner. Once again, no evidence required for those actions, because “national security” is at stake and only terrorist sympathizers would care about such formalities anyway.

The skies above America are already becoming less friendly with the introduction of drone aircraft and it looks like it will be quite a growth industry. Assurances are given that our civil liberties are safe, and that these drones will not be armed. We can kill you in North Waziristan but not North Carolina. I wonder what the reaction would be for drone surveillance at a practice shooting range? If a machine is shot at – does it have a right to self defense? I would hate to find out, especially if it was armed with a Hellfire missile.

I appreciate the focus of gun rights advocates. It's fine to keep your eye on the ball, but often there are other related things going on deserving of attention that unfortunately aren't as amusing as someone in a gorilla suit.

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