“1 down, 534 to go.”

That was what blogger TJIC posted immediately after Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting. If you’ve ever read Dispatches From TJICistan, you know he’s an outspoken, perhaps even extreme advocate of smaller government. Now, his blog has been taken down and his guns – all legally owned – seized.

ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.

It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license.

What he said was crass and ill-considered, and in exceedingly poor taste. I don’t agree with it. As much as I decry the intrusion of government into places where it has no business, I’ll stick to the ballot box as my means of protest, not the ammo box.

But only the most hysterical among us would characterize his statement as designed to incite violence. It was not the equivalent of shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. It was, plain and simple, political speech.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
– Voltaire

That is my stand, and so it must be the stand of all principled people. Gentle, conciliatory speech needs no protection. Unpopular – and yes, even hateful – speech is what the First Amendment was written to protect.

The man has committed no crime, and now his Second Amendment rights are being infringed without due process of law because he dared to exercise his First Amendment rights.

I have friends who roll their eyes when I put up posts like this, not sure what to think of my increasingly libertarian bent. I make some of them uncomfortable when I say that I can envision Americans taking up arms against their government once again.

“Come on, Kelly,” they’ll admonish. “That’s crazy talk!”

They cannot imagine an injustice that would incite peaceable people to rise up in violence, but I can.

It’s just this sort of thing.

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