By J.D. THOMASON
Security is one of those words tossed around a lot these days. It seems that anyone working to enhance security – especially in politics – is granted carte blanche to pursue any course from warrantless wiretapping to mandatory X-Ray screening at our airports. But in our national quest for total security, it seems that we’ve confused ‘security’ with mere physical ‘safety’. The contentious debate surrounding controversial new gun legislation in Vermont is a clear example of this confusion.
Anne Braden and the Gun Sense Vermont organization claim to want to protect physical safety. Gun rights advocates want to protect what they perceive to be essential liberties. The heart of the debate, as I see it, arises from the two groups’ divergent understanding of the fundamental purpose of government. If you ask Ben Franklin or Samuel Adams, I suspect they’d have sided with those whose priority is the protection of liberty. Undoubtedly, the Vermont legislature recognized this and, to use the words of one Senator, “killed” the S.31 legislation.