Judge Makes Important Comments During Extremist's Sentencing

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Right now, the phrase “extremist” gets thrown around an awful lot. Everyone is an extremist. I’m pretty sure I’m labeled as an extremist. We know that Stephen Gutowski, one of the best and most even-handed gun journalists in the business, has been.

However, a Georgia judge recently sentenced an actual extremist to prison. The man reportedly planned to kill minorities and law enforcement, despite being a veteran and former law enforcement officer himself.

In the process, though, the judge made some comments I think we all need to listen to.

U.S. District Court Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self sentenced Cody Richard Griggers to 44 months in prison and a year of probation in a hearing Tuesday where the judge lamented the damage Griggers had caused to veterans and police officers.

Before passing sentence, Self, a former Army officer and Trump appointee to the bench, lambasted Griggers for harming the reputation of police and the military and providing ammunition to people and groups “who are trying to tear this country apart.”

“Now you have helped some of the very people you thought you were against,” he said. “The stuff you said about planting evidence? That just plays into (their) hands.”

Self described Griggers as “a lonely kid with a hole in your heart” who said things to try to be accepted, but he said the texts were harmful.

“You gave people in this country who are trying to take weapons away a weapon to do it,” he said.

Judge Self is, of course, correct.

What Griggers did was give ammunition to every anti-gun group who wants to use the specter of extremism to justify whatever draconian anti-Second Amendment measure they can think of. Griggers’ crimes will be one of many used to justify gun control under the mantle of combatting so-called extremism.

He played right into their hands.

Look, you have a right to hate. You shouldn’t do it, but that’s your right as a human being. There’s absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop that.

But what you don’t have a right to do is hurt other people except in self-defense. That’s not even up for discussion.

Not just that, but you really don’t have any justification to try and take the rest of us down with you, which is precisely what Griggers was trying to do.

Judge Self called him on it, and his words need to reach everyone else out there who thinks it’s time to get rowdy. Sure, that time may come, but until and unless it actually arrives, all these kinds of stunts will do is empower the very people you oppose.

Griggers may claim to care about the Second Amendment, but what he’s done will likely do far more damage to gun rights in this country than he could possibly even imagine.

Folks, you need to think. Griggers should have thought.

Granted, if he was capable of thinking, he likely wouldn’t have done the crap he got arrested for, but still, think. Your gun is your protection, but it also means all of us will be judged by your actions, just as we’re all judged by mine.

If nothing else, don’t give them ammunition to restrict our rights.