Temporary Freedom 

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Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is working overtime to keep America free. For starters, he carries a concealed weapon wherever he goes. And as all Second Amendment revisionists will tell you, it’s actually freedom-loving patriots who pack heat that make this country what it is today, protecting all of us from evildoers like Al-Qaida, communism, the UEA, Enron, Arthur Andersen and environmentalists like the Sierra Club.


It’s no secret that our patriotic attorney general and the Minute Men on Capitol Hill want to keep all our government buildings in Utah safe from evildoers by allowing great Americans like Mr. Shurtleff—and anyone else who can come up with a nominal licensing fee—to carry concealed weapons. This, of course, also applies to the University of Utah, where it is believed that evildoers lurk in classrooms and the Student Union. After all, the Founding Fathers hinted that freedom grows out of the barrel of a gun. Or was that Chairman Mao? Never mind.


Anyway, freedom won’t be guaranteed on campus until everyone has a gun and Mr. Shurtleff is ready to fight to the finish against that protector of the bastions of academe, U of U President Bernie “Don’t Truck With Me” Machen. He seems to labor under the backward impression that institutions of learning are no place for the brandishing of firearms. Oh, these insidious liberals. Just because they are educated, they think they know more than the rest of us.


News item: Noted U of U Law Prof. John Flynn has announced that he will resign from the faculty if the school is forced to allow concealed weapons on campus. Not only will tenured professors leave, but the school will be unable to attract top faculty candidates, Flynn told the Trib’s Dan Harrie. “Trying to recruit someone nationally when we’re known as the only major university in the country where guns are allowed on campus would be disastrous.”


• In a related item, Brigham Young University, a private school owned by the LDS church, does not allow firearms on campus.


• Speaking of guns and patriots, the geniuses that operate the Salt Palace Convention Center forced the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to cancel its February 2003 convention downtown because the International Sportsmen’s Exposition scheduled its show the same month at the South Towne Exposition Center. The Elk Foundation raises money for conservation projects benefiting elk. The sportsmen’s group, on the other hand, are the ones who like to shoot the elk.


The cancellation is expected to cost downtown merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers tens of thousands of dollars. Where does the buck (no pun intended) stop?


• Last week, we noted that an evangelist and a Baptist were arrested on what used to be Main Street near the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City for handing out pamphlets. The pair was charged with trespassing.


But city prosecutor Sim Gil dismissed the charges because the issue of free speech on the public thoroughfare purchased by the LDS church is now before the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.


For the time being, apparently, freedom rings. Get your skateboard, boom box and bikinis and head for Temple Square. Freedom of expression is apparently—but perhaps temporarily—OK. Does that mean we can take our guns, too?

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