What is an assault weapon? Obviously something that does damage, regardless of whether it is a firearm, knife, rock or something else. Today, we should recognize that a person who lacks morality can be considered an assault weapon.
The First and Second amendments to the U.S. Constitution are the foundation of liberty. However, these amendments are effective only if people have basic morality. That is, freedom of speech and freedom of the press require people either to speak the truth, or to identify that which is personal opinion.
An immoral person (one who does not believe that false testimony shall be addressed by the Divine Creator, either in or after this mortal life) must be considered a potential assault weapon. Their words, spread as rumors, false news stories, propaganda pamphlets, perjury in a courtroom or false testimony to Congress, must be considered as dangerous as an assault rifle. Words can destroy the reputation of a person, kill their business or career or even lead to false capital offense crime convictions.
There is virtually no defense against innuendo or downright lies. Laws regarding libel and slander are not a deterrent. Back page apologies, published days later and seldom read, cannot repair damage done by front page stories. Worse yet, congressmen are privileged from arrest regarding any speech or debate in either House. They shall not be questioned in any other place. As such, the representatives who lack morality are destroying the credibility of Congress.
Constitutional rights only exist if people recognize the associated responsibility to speak and write the truth. Unfortunately, human brains lack the capacity and reliability of digital computers. People’s minds don’t record what eyes and ears receive, but instead record what was expected. What we record tends to degrade over time. Long-term memories can be altered by comments from other witnesses, photographs and even dreams. Basic psychology and neuroscience studies indicate memory is susceptible to distortion. In courtrooms, minor memory distortions can have severe consequences due to common misunderstanding of the brain. Memory only appears to correspond to reality. Testimony of witnesses can be discredited when memories don’t match actual video or audio recordings. Most criminal laws recognize common long-term failure by having specific statutes of limitations which forbid prosecution if too many years have passed. Credibility degenerates over time.
We should consider whether the “dirty laundry” allegations of improper or illegal conduct, whether years ago or current, are now used as indefensible political weapons. Are memories of people, regardless of potential verification, being used by politicians? Politicians consider propaganda values far out weigh any considerations about truth. The credibility of all politicians are being destroyed by the failures of both major news media and social media.
It is not just those accused, but all of us who are under attack by this new form of assault weapon. We should recognize the corruption of news sources in today’s world.
Thomas Fancher is a Moses Lake resident and avid letter writer to the Columbia Basin Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.