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Freedom Of Speech & Mail Order This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Freedom of speech and of the press, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is one of the most vital and unfaltering pillars of this nation. Without the ability to speak our minds, the system of democracy would crumble and fail. I do, however, question the extent to which a person or group can stretch this right, having seen the legal advertisement of violent and offensive weapons in a mail order catalogue.

I recently received a catalogue which advertises and supports crime and battery, making available knives, swords, daggers, crossbows, blades, tear gas launchers, lock-pickers, scalpers, fake police badges, Ninja stars, and an additional plethora of weapons and "defense" mechanisms to the general public. The items are labeled with luring remarks: "To give you the ready advantage," "Hair-raising defense," and "Keep your chemical defense ready." I asked myself how such filth can be legal; it does not make me very comfortable to know that any credit card holder in America (not to mention minors residing in homes receiving this catalogue), has access to such weapons. In fact, I, a 15-year-old, called the hotline, and my age was not even questioned. At my asking if there were any law-related restrictions on the merchandise, I was told that I could buy anything by credit card as long as I was aware of the law in my area. In the brochure, buyers are requested to "please check the law before ordering, especially in regards to personal security equipment and one-handed knives. Compliance is your responsibility."

So the law is left to the buyer. My guess is that buyers have no concern regarding the law. It is very easy for any person of any age to order weapons when neither one's age nor regard tot he law in one's area is considered by the company.

I am torn between the law and my own morality in considering this issue. On one hand, I do not agree with a brochure sent unsolicited into any (and perhaps all homes), full of a public display of arms. I am against abridging any rights in our Constitution, but even so, I am very concerned and ready to take a stand against this company and its careless regard for the law.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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