With rights come responsibilities

Posted on 10 Aug 2016 at 9:58am

Taffet, DavidDonald Trump’s threat against Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be taken lightly by the Secret Service or anyone else. His statement that supporters of the Second Amendment could do something about Clinton repealing the Second Amendment — something she’s never said — is simply against the law.

Yes, we have freedom of speech in this country, but along with our freedoms come responsibilities.

There’s the old saying that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. Why not? Because that would create panic and people could be injured or killed in a stampede out of the theater.

On a number of occasions, I have spoken to police to get more information about a story I’m writing. In some instances, they’ve given me the information I’ve asked for and asked me not to print it until a particular time or after something happens.

Could I have printed it? Yes, and without any penalty other than I wouldn’t be trusted next time.

Should I have printed it? No, because that could have tipped off a suspect that police were on to them, or even put someone else in danger.

Recently, a couple of days after the Dallas Police ambush, reporters were moved away from DPD headquarters while police searched for someone suspicious in the DPD parking garage, and reporters were asked not to release any video or print any pictures while the search continued. Could I have released a photo? Yes, and it would have been exclusive, since someone at Dallas Voice lives in a building overlooking the garage. Should I have? Of course not. This could have been a very dangerous situation.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press come with responsibilities.

But one of our candidates for president of the United States thinks he can say anything he wants, and do so with impunity. And apparently he can.

Had anyone else made a statement like Trump did yesterday, Secret Service would have detained that person for questioning. Had they been unsatisfied with the answers, they would have charged that person with a crime. You can’t threaten harm to or incite others to harm someone under Secret Service protection. That’s the law.

Trump’s own Secret Service contingency should have escorted him off the stage as those words left his mouth. The very first people Trump was threatening were the people assigned to protect him. Should someone with a gun appear, Secret Service would place themselves between the gunman and the person receiving protection. So Trump was not only threatening the life of his opponent or encouraging others to take action, he was threatening the lives of the people assigned to protect him and other candidates in the race.

Trump’s explanation? He was encouraging supporters of the Second Amendment to vote. I’ll believe that once Secret Service has interrogated Trump and are satisfied he poses no threat to them, other candidates or the country.

And along with responsibilities that come with free exercise of the First Amendment are responsibilities that come with exercise of Second Amendment rights. Among those should be valid background checks and mental competency.

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