Ripping CNN’s British-born talk show host 47-year-old Piers Morgan, over 31,800 Second Amendment advocates signed a petition to get the pugnacious broadcast journalist deported back to the U.K. Since 20-year-old Adam Lanza massacred 20 children and eight adults, including himself, Dec. 14 with his mothers AR-15 assault rifle, Morgan’s been on a anti-gun terror, ripping National Rifle Assn. advocates on the primetime talk show. “We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens,” read the petition. How ironic that the petition picks-and-chooses only the Second Amendment, forgetting conveniently that Mr. Morgan is protected under the First Amendment’s right to free speech.
Lashing out at a TV talk show host doesn’t address growing concerns that ballistic episodes involving firearms happen too often in today’s society. Whatever the causes, Newtown’s massacre underscores the necessity of dealing with the contributory causes of mass killings, including the ubiquitous nature of firearms and grossly deteriorated personalities all too often engaged in gun violence. Gun enthusiasts insist that responsible gun ownership doesn’t cause deadly incidents. Mentally deranged or compromised individuals cause gun violence, not the guns themselves. While it’s true that someone must take responsibility for gun violence, it’s also true that with guns less accessible, lunatics like Lanza would commit less violence. Lanza used his mother’s legally registered firearms to commit atrocities that snuffed out the lives of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Picking on TV or radio talk show hosts does little to address the growing problem of gun violence. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) intends to introduce new gun control legislation following the New Year. In anticipation, gun sales have gone through the roof, as gun buyers believe it will be more difficult and costly to buy firearms and assault weapons in the future. Calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, Morgan hardly wanted to wreck the Second Amendment. Gun enthusiasts need to acknowledge that the widespread availability of firearms contributes to lethal violence. If Lanza’s mother had responsibly secured her firearms, her mentally ill son wouldn’t have committed the second worst gun atrocity in U.S. history, the first being the April 16, 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech by 23-year-old mentally ill undergraduate student Seung-Hui Cho.
Morgan lashed out Dec. 19 at 70-year-old Gun Owners for American director Larry Pratt, calling him an “idiot,” “dangerous,” and “unbelievably stupid man,” when Pratt insisted that more Americans needed guns to quell violence. However much Morgan disagrees with Pratt, there’s no excuse for treating his guest with rudeness and ugly contempt. Signing petitions to muzzle Morgan’s Free Speech rights by deporting him is no answer for addressing the problem of gun violence. What offended gun owners was more Morgan’s crudeness than whether he sought to dismantle the cherished Bill of Rights. Violating Morgan’s First Amendment rights to free speech to protect gun enthusiasts love of the Second Amendment accomplishes nothing. Criticizing Moragan’s rudeness or abrasiveness would have paid more fruit with CNN executives than deportation petitions.
CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said the network had no plans to comment on the deportation petition. “I don’t care about a petition to deport me. I do care about poor NY firefighters murdered/injured with an assault weapon today. # GunControlNow,” Morgan tweeted referring to the Christmas Eve incident that killed three people, including the gunman in Rochester, New York. While the NRA sees gun control as an assault on the Second Amendment, gun enthusiasts must acknowledge that there’s too much gun violence in America. Shooting at targets in gun ranges is one thing. But all too often guns fall into the hands of mentally ill or irresponsible individuals that cost the lives-or-limbs of innocent victims. Whatever—if any—new gun legislation emerges from the ash heap, it must hold gun owners more accountable to securing their collections and arsenals.
Piers Morgan’s problems stem not from his passionate advocacy for more gun control but from the abusive manner he treated Pratt in his interview. Whether or not he agrees with Pratt’s views, Piers should treat all guests with the same dignity. Losing emotional control and lashing out doesn’t do CNN or broadcast journalism a service. “A lot of it comes from his being British, he’s seen the differences between the U.S. and U.K., he’s passionate and authentic in taking this issue on, and it’s probably only going to help him attract more people to his show,” said publicist Howard Bragman, blowing more smoke. Bragman knows that Morgan’s classless tirade had nothing to do with his British citizenship. If anything, there’s a high value placed on politeness in Great Britain. Morgan’s rudeness is what prompted 31,800 well-intentioned gun-lovers to ask inappropriately for Piers’ deportation.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.