Weenies With Guns

You don’t have to be Freud to understand why some people, men in particular, feel inadequate unless they are packing. On the other hand, I suspect that people who bring loaded firearms to a presidential appearance are doing so to display aggression and hostility, not to commit a violent act. I assume that someone openly carrying a firearm is not planning to assassinate the President, but rather is using the firearm to make a symbolic statement.

A British journalist, Shaun Waterman, writes,

This is legal in New Hampshire apparently – the gun was registered and not concealed, and the man was on private property – and as the New York Times has noted, the two incidents in Portsmouth are not the only ones where firearms have turned up, legally or otherwise, in the hands of anti-health care reform protesters. All of which underscores a fact about the American right which bears repeating for a foreign observer: These people are armed.

Let’s be clear: No one is predicting the assassination of President Obama, or anyone else.

In the much-maligned and now withdrawn DHS intelligence assessment that warned earlier this year of the potential threat posed by resurgent right-wing extremists, there was no mention of assassination, and indeed the authors state that though “Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president […] they have not yet turned to attack planning” of any kind.

And yet, when one considers the availability of firearms to protesters with an angry narrative of victimization, and the growing influence of a movement which glorifies violence against African-Americans, one can hardly avoid a sense of foreboding.

Of course, the “pro life” movement didn’t plan the assassination of George Tiller, either. They incited it, but they didn’t plan it. That makes them innocent, see.

Here are a couple of dueling headlines, both published August 13:

Conservative Groups Dismiss Report on Rise of Militias” (Fox News)

Extremist militias see resurgence under President Obama’s tenure” (New York Daily News)

They aren’t militias. They are concerned patriots with guns preparing to take the government into their own hands through force because they don’t respect the results of an election. Oh, and they love the Constitution.

Paul Harris, The Guardian:

Welcome to the disturbing new face of the radical right in America. Across the country, extremism is surging, inflamed by conservative talkshow hosts, encouraged by Republican leaders and propagating a series of wild conspiracy theories. Many fear it might end in tragedy.

Obama has been labelled as a threat to democracy and an anti-white racist by senior presenters on the TV channel Fox News. Republicans, seizing on the fierce debate over Obama’s plans to reform healthcare, have called him a socialist who plans “death panels” for the elderly. Rumours have circulated that Obama was not born in America and that he plans to ban firearms. Despite having no basis in fact, they have become widely believed. A recent poll in Virginia showed only 53% of voters believed Obama was born in the US. In neighbouring North Carolina, 54% of voters shared that opinion.

Such extremism is becoming a major security issue, prompting fears of an attack on Obama’s life or some other incident of domestic terrorism. “This is a very dangerous situation that can spin off ‘lone wolf’ individuals who decide now is the time to act against people they see as an enemy,” said Chip Berlet, author of a book on rightwing extremists.

I could go on and on. The syndrome is a racial-religious nationalism combined with a persecution complex, which you can find represented in various ways in many cultures. This syndrome is the cause of most, if not all, of the mass violence in the world today. You see it all over the Middle East. You see it in Sri Lanka. You see it wherever people have persuaded themselves that they are entitled to enforce their will through violence, because they have Right on their side, and the other side is Evil.

This is the most dangerous force in the world today, and the leadership of the Right is stoking it for all they’re worth.

The forces of civility already are bowing to the pressure of the mob. We might remember that people wearing anti-Bush T-shirts were not allowed to be within view of Dear Leader, whereas law enforcement can do very little about visibly angry people carrying loaded firearms in the streets.

Sadly, No:

Number of U.S. Presidents killed by firearms: 4
Number of U.S. Presidents killed by t-shirts: 0 (so far!)

But you know that if the Obama Administration tried to enforce the same rules against gun-toting righties that the Bushies enforced against T-shirt wearing lefties, it would give more fuel to those stoking the fire, and the “aggression” would get worse. So, yes, the situation is already out of control. People are either going to calm down on their own, or the aggression/hostility will escalate until somebody gets killed.

17 thoughts on “Weenies With Guns

  1. Ah, the FOX-fed faux courage of the “Red Dawn” patriot brigades! Most of these clowns are assholes who want to show off how manly and tough they are. They’re not the ones that worry me.
    It’s the ones trained in our military and corporate para-military that worry me. McVeigh wasn’t some untrained bozo who got lucky.
    I think that there’s a growing number of them that are getting very serious about planning something big. And, I’m afraid, the number of dead will not be limited to the single or double digits.
    I wrote a long time ago, and I was certainly not the only one, that we will have much more to fear from our home-grown terrorists than from foreign ones.
    If that day isn’t today or tomorrow, it’s certainly coming. And soon, very soon.

  2. John Stuart Mill said: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid people, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

    Most of us know someone like the idiots parading around with their guns at these public meetings–not real bright, not well educated, gullible folks who believe anything the Right tells them. If you were to ask them why they’re doing this, they’d be most apt to say something along the lines of, “To show Obama he casn’t take our ____(fill in the blank) away.” Truth is, they just want to be on TV and get their 30 seconds of fame.

    These fools don’t realize that they make Obama look brave and heroic by ignoring them, and they look even stupider than usual.

  3. Truth is, they just want to be on TV and get their 30 seconds of fame.

    They also want to terrorize into silence the 80 percent of the American public that disagrees with their batshit-insane point of view. Those displays of weapons were not meant for the president, whom they can’t get anywhere near; they were meant for the American people.

  4. Anybody wanna chill with me for a couple decades in, like, Antarctica? It’ll be awesome. We can grow hydroponic weed and play Guitar Hero, and not get shot by a dude who looks like Urkel.

  5. We are being treated to a vision of what a conservative’s utopia looks like and Good God is it ugly!

  6. I had been planning to go to the pro-Obama rally in downtown Phoenix yesterday but woke up too late. Later, I heard about the idiots strutting around among the mob with loaded assault weapons and was very grateful I hand’t gone. The extreme right is praying for mass violence and is working 24-7 to inflame it. Sooner or later it will happen.

  7. It is definitely getting out of hand and the odds of this ending without violence at some point are shortening by the day.

    Did you know that your RSS feed has been hacked to show drug advertisements?

  8. I envision a day when a line of righties face off against a line of lefties, all armed. And the scene getting ugly. The (fill in the blank) Massacre. Maybe then we can have some sensible gun control. The only reason to carry a weapon to a political rally is to intimidate, period. My only real hope in this display is that most independents see this and cringe. As in, who are these lunatics and there is no way I’m giving this country over to them. EVER. The left has to continue to use the methods of Dr. King, an act of retaliation would open the flood gates of pay back, because they started it. It’s the 1960’s and Bull whatever his name was in the Alabama. Not much has changed.

  9. How about ‘free tea bagger zones’ set up for any gun-toting pritesters at public events. To make them feel at home, have a box of Lipton Tea bags in the fenced area. And make politics of the fact Bush did this with all liberal protesters – we are only protecting crowds where emotions are running high.

  10. Can you imagine if someone from ACORN or MoveOn had showed up at a Bush rally with an assault rifle?

    I’ll bet President Lincoln and Kennedy would be pleased with how our national dialogue has turned out.

  11. If I recall one of the men who had either an ak-1 or semi automatic rifle – not sure on the details of the weapons other than they were totally out of proportion to what anyone in this country should be toting around like a hand bag – but it was his provocative remark when asked why he was carrying the weapon in an area he knew the the president of the US was in and he said “Because I can.”

    That remark says it all to me. There are certainly a lot of things we can do, like punch ourselves in the face, the larger question is why and the only answer is intent to intimidate those around him.

    While his “freedom” is being protected, my freedom to “speak” is curtailed by the danger he poses not only to Obama – becasuse, let’s face it, these guys with guns have made it clear they are mad and they’re agitated – and the secret service not to find this “dangerous” and yet can throw progressives 5 miles away from a Republican event when they want to protest in a designated area – says more about the secret service and their conservative bias – and why the media doesn’t questions this unbalanced reaction to these two presidents, Bush and Obama… clearly shows the conservative leanings of the press as well.

    …but this guy also poses a threat to some innocent bystander, like me, who could be the victim of this weapon going off at the height of his agitation. I just don’t get it – how the police, the secret service, the FBi can let these agitators walk around with guns without these gun toters infringing on the rights of those people who feel intimidated and threatened knowing these goons have guns who can easily take them out and shoot you should they disagree with your politics or their right to bear arms.

    There is no free speech when someone has a gun. I know I won’t engage them. And the media once again, inflames this issue rather than addressing what is really going on here.

  12. We have a pre-built mechanism for revolutions here in the United States of America, called the VOTE. It’s the American way of doing things — don’t like the bastids in Washington? Turn’em out! Which is exactly what we did in 2008. And the sore losers who don’t like that? Un-American. If they were real Americans, they would be working to fix what’s wrong with their party and preparing to win votes in the 2010 elections, not waving around guns and ranting about how the blood of patriots must be refreshed from the tree of crazy (or somethin’ along those lines). Instead, they act like Somalis or Afghanis who, having lost elections, go out and try to seize power at gunpoint. That’s not how Americans do things, and these people aren’t real Americans, period.

    – Badtux the Revolutionary Penguin
    (via the VOTE).

  13. I envision a day when a line of righties face off against a line of lefties, all armed. And the scene getting ugly.

    I envision the US Army being called out to battle and shoot wingnuts, after some violence has occurred. The lefties – most of them – will be staying home.

  14. Hey guys…If your feeling inadequate don’t get lead astray with those e-mails that promise to add inches to your shortcomings. Go out and purchase an assault weapon and you’ll be feeing like John Holmes in no time. Trust me…it works!

  15. Pat,
    I can’t be sure, but I think it’s the administration allowing armed people to come to rallies.
    Imagine the outrage of the already outraged if, like we Liberals, they were told they could carry weapons only in “Free Carry Zones?”
    I think they’re trying to avoid giving the lunatics another issue to grandstand about.

  16. I have to wonder if the communities of the gun toters have any reaction to this behavior. The loonies are already worried about gun ownership. I know a guy who bought one because he thought they would be outlawed. My guess is the loonies are being allowed to show their true ilk.

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