weighing in on arizona

two things have happened in the past few days that have caught my attention

  1. the U.S. DOJ has subpoenaed obtained an order to compel Twitter to disclose information on certain @wikileaks followers.
  2. a 22 year old gunman shot down a child, a judge and a congresswoman.  the congresswoman is lucky to be alive as the bullet passed clean through her head

I have read a good bit of the early response to the shooting and i feel that this event is going to [already has] become a polarizing  issue.  The ostensive left has suggested a link between the Palin camp’s loaded language and the tragedy.  Here, Egan suggests the potential that a “poisonous variant of free speech” could be the cause of the shootings in Tuscon.  The ostensive right counters that the individual was unstable to begin with.  The impetus for the attack rested in the individual accused and not in the political media that surrounded that individual.  Further, Thiessen points out that this kneejerk partizanship is becoming a sloppy trend in left wing rhetoric.

What i find interesting is that both instances involve a freedom of speech argument.  Palin hasn’t really done anything other than be in poor taste.  How should she be censored??  Hopefully this incident could be used to raise awareness that 22 year old dangers-to-society have guns.

In the times article, Egan argues that:

“Even if the gunman’s motives are never truly known, the splattering of so much innocent blood on a Saturday morning gives a nation as fractious as ours a chance to think about what happens when words are used as weapons, and weapons are used in place of words.”

The rhetorical undoing of Egan’s assertion however is that he uses the same Pey-Lin allegories [words are weapons that can neutralize security].  this argument subverts free speech.  when speech (words, signs, contingency?) can threaten our physical selves it is easier to control.  Further, when the media can convince the user that words are weapons, words are easier to control.

Paralleling this is the wikileaks debacle.  The U.S. government is definitely going to try and sidestep any freedom of expression appeals as they will likely argue that assange and manning conspired to steal the documents.  This wrong is separate from the actual publishing of the material.  In other words the U.S. really wants to get Assange so they don’t get caught on record like this again.  Again this censorship flies under the flag of security.

There is, of course, a security argument regarding the wikileaks.  uncensored information is foolish.  we are continually holding the edit button to manipulate our autonomy.  the diplomatic core should be able to function with this same freedom.  let international policy mimic internal policy.

the threat that looms in the wikileaks saga is its consequence.

after 9/11, international travel changed.  after wikileaks, information travel is tracked by crosshairs.  what guides the cursor must never be followed without doubt!

Explore posts in the same categories: commentary, media, Musings, news, topical, twitter

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