Terrorism: When the Second Amendment Kills the First

Today, after the murder of three people in Colorado Springs yesterday, everyone stepping into a Planned Parenthood must do so with an extra level of fear.

Planned Parenthood clinics operate primarily to provide patient care. But let’s face it. Every Planned Parenthood clinic also exists to further “dangerous” ideas: that women should have control over their reproduction; that women who want sex need not be ashamed of that; that a poor woman should have just as much access as a rich woman does to Pap smears, to contraception, and to abortion.

Some people don’t like dangerous ideas, and they think the right way to eliminate them is through violence. As might be clear to people who have read Galileo’s Middle Finger, there have been times in my life when I have considered wearing a bullet proof vest while working at home, because of threats made to me following my work. I’m not alone; the work of that book led me to a lot of sex researchers who confessed to me the same.

When I tell people who aren’t American this, they are astonished. But what is troubling is that many Americans are not. They say I take on “risky” work. And yet, is what I do really so threatening as to warrant this? Is what the doctors and nurses of Planned Parenthood do really so threatening as to warrant the need for high-tech security, bullet-proof vests, and safe rooms?

Yesterday, I tweeted about how when I met the mate, twenty-one years ago, he was a clinic defender at the local Planned Parenthood, and that I could not believe we still need clinic defense. One fellow (whose bio quotes the Bible) wrote back: “best solution would be to close all of the Planned Parenthood clinics. Then they won’t need defense! Problem solved.”

Do we need any further proof that shutting down the whole idea of Planned Parenthood is the aim of violence-mongers?

The insanely generous reading of the Second Amendment (the “right to bear arms”) in this nation is actively limiting our living of the First Amendment (the right to express—including through clinical care and sex education—so-called radical ideas; the right to worship in Black churches without fear of being murdered for it; the right to protest with #BlackLivesMatter without being shot by racists).

Debates are raging right now about what counts as “terrorism.” My own definition is when anyone uses the ridiculous berth given the Second Amendment in order effectively to limit the First.

This is surely what terrorists have in common: using guns to blow out the brains of people whose ideas they don’t want around.

When will we stop letting the Second Amendment terrorize the First?