Nice article. Many good points as to rights.
Quite right, you're bloody well right
Lebanon Daily News
Meleanie Hain acted within her narrowly defined Second Amendment rights when she carried a gun openly at a child’s soccer game a while back. Sheriff Michael DeLeo overstepped his government authority in removing her concealed-carry permit.
That is not a personal opinion; it is the finding of Judge Robert Eby in court proceedings about the removal of Hain’s permit. That ends the core legal argument on this particular issue.
Hain didn’t act with the greatest common sense in doing what she did. That is an opinion, and it’s one voiced by the judge during that same legal proceeding and one shared by many, even those who have concealed-carry permits or who otherwise fully back the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.
Pennsylvania’s Constitution is much more clear and direct about that right than even the federal Bill of Rights. There’s no need to get into head-bashing about what a “militia” might be when considering the state Constitution, which states clearly that the right to keep and bear arms can’t be limited by government.
So, while the federal right might need clarification (and it got some earlier this year with the Supreme Court’s decision on Washington, D.C.’s gun ban), there is no such lack of clarity in the state Constitution.
That should clear up the rights argument. Hain violated no one else’s rights in doing what she did. Making someone uneasy does not fall into the category of protected rights. Actually shooting someone, however, would in most circumstances. Since no shooting, or even threatened shooting, occurred, the argument goes by the boards. Many of us feel uneasy about our dwindling freedoms every day, but there’s no one to sue or arrest. Lack of common sense is not an actionable offense — no matter how often we might like it to be.
There is now some griping about Hain’s lawsuit. First Amendment free-speech rights being what they are, opinion against the rectitude of the action is allowable. So is support. That’s the way it should be.
The decision to sue is a personal one. If one feels significantly wronged by a given action, one of the remedies open to the individual is the court system. Hain spent money defending herself from the attempted extraction of her permit — that’s a concrete damage that can be expressed in real dollars.
There’s the issue of punitive damages, that portion of a potential award in a case designed to punish the individual or institution that committed the alleged wrong. Such damages are left to the discretion of the judge or jury — what the person bringing the suit asks for is pretty much meaningless.
One could as easily ask for $10 quadrillion as $1 million. But it makes no sense to ask for $1.98 if one really wants more.
Court cases are more like contract negotiation than anything else. The bargaining that goes on is between attorneys, for the most part, just like in the business world. Eventually, a deal is struck, or it’s found that no need of a deal exists.
There’s some flak that Hain’s husband is getting for joining in the lawsuit. The loss of companionship over which he is suing is part of a wide-ranging legal umbrella called “hedonic damage,” which can be defined loosely as a diminution in the ability to enjoy life. It’s a very subjective thing, and again, it’s open to interpretation by the judge or jury.
I have 16 years of background (outside the newspaper world) in the fields of vocational rehabilitation, personal injury and worker’s compensation case law. Actual (lost wages, lost value of benefits) and punitive damages, along with loss of ability to perform household services (yes, there’s a value scale for the performance of tasks like laundry and washing dishes in some cases) and loss of ability to enjoy life (hedonic damages) are all elements of cases in which I’ve played a small role, and they are certainly to be expected in a broad-ranging civil-rights action like Hain’s.
Were I not to see such a thing, I would question the value of the legal advice the Hains are receiving. And that would go for anyone at anytime who feels wronged enough to seriously consider legal action. It should never be a halfway notion. If it is, shelve it, get over it and move on, which is the advice some have suggested for Hain. In her case, she’s decided to let the courts decide the issue.
And, after all, that’s her right.
Credit to Supertramp for the headline.
Forney is the editorial-page editor for the Lebanon Daily News. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Nice article. Many good points as to rights.
Remember Peter Nap and Skidmark. Do them proud. Be active. Be humble. Be the best you can be.
"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when you may have to back up your acts with your life."
--Robert A. Heinlein
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