Ross: You have a right to guns, but that comes at a price

Aug 10, 2023, 9:02 AM

guns price...

A Provo police officer walks away as FBI officials and other law enforcement officers stand outside the home of Craig Robertson who was shot and killed by the FBI in a raid on his home this morning on August 9, 2023 in Provo, Utah. The FBI was investigating alleged threats by Robertson to President Biden who is visiting Salt Lake City today and tomorrow. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

About 24 hours ago in Provo, Utah, an FBI agent shot Craig Robertson, age 75, who had posted his plans to assassinate Joe Biden on social media.

He was killed just before President Biden was scheduled to speak in nearby Salt Lake City, about 40 miles away.

More from Dave Ross: Will prosecuting Trump endanger domestic peace and tranquility?

Robertson was described as a frail man, who happened to own a lot of guns, but who, according to the people familiar with him, didn’t appear to be much of a threat.

And so I’m guessing this could become another free-speech debate. So let’s go for it.

The FBI has not disclosed any details about the shooting, but we know what led up to it.

The court papers indicate that, frail or not, Robertson had a pretty respectable arsenal, weapons he referred to as Democratic eradicators. He appeared online with three rifles and said he was “getting ready for the 2024 election cycle.” He knew he was being monitored by the FBI, and seemed to be proud of it, warning those agents that they too could face “violent eradication.”

Back in September, he posted on Facebook that “the time is right for a presidential assassination or two, et cetera, plus some graphic details, and then, after hearing that Biden would be visiting Utah, he announced he would grab his old camouflage suit and “dust off” an M24.

The point is that if this is free speech, then so is a bank robber’s note. I’m happy to say that I haven’t heard anyone making a free-speech argument so far.

In any case, there is no way the FBI can ignore something like this. In a country where everyone, including school kids and the mentally ill, has easy access to guns, you can’t afford to.

His threats clearly justified an FBI visit, if only to determine his true mental state.

Whether it justified killing him? We need more details.

But I get the feeling this will be used to justify the current conservative movement to shut down the FBI, which my fellow boomers will recall, is exactly what the liberals were demanding during the protest movements of the 70s.

The FBI certainly has its excesses, but when a self-proclaimed assassin picks up the Facebook megaphone and announces his plans, the government must respond.

He has a right to his guns, but that comes at a price. A weapon implies an intention to go beyond mere speech.

A self-proclaimed assassin sends a very different message when he posts himself holding a sniper rifle instead of a foot-long cheese dog.

And if you want to protect the sacred free speech rights of armed citizens like this, advise them to exercise their sacred right to log out once in a while.

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Ross: You have a right to guns, but that comes at a price