Editorial board needs a lesson on liberty

Editorial board needs a lesson on liberty
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Sometimes, you have to be careful about evaluating headlines for various stories. The journalist may write the story and suggest a headline, but that ultimately falls to the editor who may or may not accept the suggestion.


They kind of have the liberty to do as they wish in that regard.

Yet it seems that far too many journalists, particularly editorial board members, only value the liberty they, personally, enjoy and screw everyone else. That became clear from a sub-headline written for an editorial, which one would assume editors actually wrote.

The headline, “Our View: We have not nearly earned the right to quibble about gun control,” which is bad enough, but then the sub-head was, “Narrow and tendentious arguments against gun laws say they don’t – or won’t – make any difference. Pass the laws, find out.”

And the body doesn’t make it any better.

In a statement to the Press Herald, the state director of the National Rifle Association, Justin Davis, said expanding gun control measures was unnecessary, an unfair burden on law-abiding gun owners. Davis suggested that Maine could more effectively prevent shootings by imposing longer sentences on people convicted of violent crimes, “the true adversaries.”

“Enforce the laws already on our books, equip law enforcement with the resources they need, and ensure that criminals face justice,” he said in an email.

Here’s our suggestion. Do that and take the “unnecessary” step of expanding gun control measures. Place the “unfair burden” of laughably dry, run-of-the-mill measures like universal background checks and waiting periods on purchases on those law-abiding gun owners. Even if you think they’re merely symbolic, make these safeguards a reasonable condition of gun ownership, a right that has caused America such staggering loss and bloodshed. That’s the only unfair burden at issue here.

Until some credible version of gun control is passed, any suggestion that it doesn’t make a difference cannot be taken seriously.


Actually, yes it can. Especially when you’re arguing that infringements on liberty like universal background checks–a measure I noted might actually stop people from trying to prevent suicides–or waiting periods that leave people vulnearble should be passed just to see if they work.

See, this publication is based in Maine, which is a rare blue state with few gun control laws on the books and a great deal of resistance to changing that.

Yet we don’t need Maine to pass such laws to see if they work.

After all, other states have passed them. All the suggestions that the editorial board says need to be passed just to see if they might do something exist already. Guess what, though? There’s no evidence that they work. None at all.

That’s how gun rights advocates can say they don’t do anything with such certainty.

But what bothers me is the argument itself, that we need to pass laws that infringe on people’s rights just to see if they work, all while we know that there would be no attempt to repeal them if they don’t. After all, even the left-leaning RAND had to admit there was no real evidence that gun control efforts have accomplished all that much, yet we’re still told to just go along with it and keep our fingers crossed?

I don’t think so.

Imagine that someone said we needed to have a board of conservative officials examine editorials. After all, some may incite violence at protests such as what we saw during the summer of 2020, so these officials need to make sure that absolutely nothing that could inspire violent outbursts is published. After all, the costs are too high to ignore completely.


Obviously, they’d lash out about freedom of the press, and for good reason, but they’d also likely say that such censorship wouldn’t accomplish anything.

To that, some could now counter with, “How do you know? Let’s pass it and find out.”

Start to see the problem?

Liberty is what is it. Our freedoms aren’t for bartering but especially over speculative ideas that have already been shown not to work elsewhere. Passing such a law to see what happens is experimenting with people’s lives and freedom, especially since they seem to acknowledge the possibility that folks on our side of the debate are right.

It’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen written by an editorial board and the headlines just make it dumber. When you consider all the gun control editorials I’ve read, you start to understand calling this the dumbest ever really means something.

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