A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Second Amendment rights

Musings from Far Away

Guns

By Halina Schiffman-Shilo

Hello from Africa! This semester I’m reporting from Arusha, Tanzania, where I am interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

I had my first post all mapped out when I sat down last week to write.  It had a great opener, complete with a nice little anecdote and a neat, tidy ending. But it was not the time for fluffy travel stories. As my internet connection flickered in and out, I saw a Facebook post about a shooting at the Empire State Building. Then I completely lost service.

Not knowing what else to do, I started this entry. At the time, I had no details on the shooting. I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t know if anyone was injured, I didn’t know if anyone was dead. All I knew was that there was a shooting.

And that the organization I interned with this past summer in New York is in that very building.

I wanted to call someone, a former colleague, a friend in the States, anyone who could tell me what happened, but I couldn’t. My pay-as-you-go phone didn’t have enough money on it for an international call. I would have bought more minutes but it was nighttime, and as a mzungu woman, it’s not safe to walk around after dark. I texted a few friends here (people I had known for barely 24 hours) to see if they knew anything, but they did not. So I was stuck in the dark, alone with my thoughts.

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Dangerous Threat or Politically Challenged?

guns2

By Matthew Catania

“1 down, 534 to go…It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot ‘indiscriminately.’  The “1” was Gabrielle Giffords; the ‘534’ were the as-yet unharmed members of Congress.  While most of the nation was shocked and grieving over the January 8 Tucson massacre , Travis Corcoran of Arlington, Massachusetts, the owner of the online comic book store Heavy Ink, took to his blog post. “Target only politicians and their staff,” he continued, “and leave regular citizens alone. Please!” (Mr. Corcoran later blogged that his offensive post was not meant to be taken seriously.)

Immediately, comic book writers denounced Mr. Corcoran and urged their fans to boycott his store.   On January 10, Laura Hudson, the Editor-in-Chief of ComicsAlliance, whose bio says “her whole life is comics,” wrote a scathing article about Mr. Corcoran’s blog posts.  Her piece became one of the most-commented on in ComicsAlliance’s history.

One of the readers of that piece was Captain Robert Bongiorno of the Arlington Police.  And on January 18, police confiscated eleven firearms and ammunition from Mr. Corcoran’s home, and suspended his firearms license. Although he has not been charged with any crime, the local police and the FBI are currently investigating whether Mr. Corcoran poses a threat to members of Congress. Mr. Corcoran’s blog and his online store have subsequently disappeared from the web (it’s unclear whether Mr. Corcoran redacted his own blog or whether law enforcement had it removed pending his investigation).

The police’s escalation of the situation has sparked a firestorm of controversy around Mr. Corcoran. Some believe he’s a dangerous nutter who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near guns. Others think that his Second Amendment rights to own guns have been unfairly violated merely because he was exercising his First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.  LASIS will weigh both sides. (more…)

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