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Enabling the Gun Nuts

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Posted on Aug 20, 2009

By Marie Cocco

    We won’t have to cope with delusional believers in nonexistent “death panels” stalking those health care town hall meetings much longer, not with politicians left and right racing to remove from health care legislation any hint that perhaps people might want medical counseling on end-of-life care.

    So what will placate the armed and dangerous gun guys? Nothing.

    They’ve been showing up for President Barack Obama’s public appearances, boldly displaying their perfectly state-permitted firearms. They did it first in New Hampshire and then this week in Arizona, where one man became a media celebrity by turning up outside an Obama speech in Phoenix carrying not only a pistol but, for good measure, an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle.

    Those who bring loaded weapons to political events tell us they’re doing so simply to demonstrate that they have rights. The Secret Service says it is quite capable of protecting the president, and so far he hasn’t been endangered.

    But the rest of us don’t have 24-hour protectors who search and sweep, speak into remote radios and stop anyone who seems remotely suspicious. Out there on the blazing sidewalk, beyond the ring of security barriers and metal detectors that encloses the president, it’s just too bad if tempers might grow a bit too hot, if a gun drops amid a jostling crowd and accidentally discharges, or a curious child reaches for a gleaming piece that’s captured his eye.

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    Do not mistake the flaunting of weaponry for democratic free expression. It’s intimidation.

    “It changes the nature of political debate to add these weapons,” says Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s really hard to talk back to somebody who’s got a gun. This is the part that’s new. It’s trying to trump political discourse with the weapon.” 

    From the looks of things, you might think that Obama is following through on his campaign pledge to reinstitute the lapsed ban on assault weapons. He isn’t. You might think the Democratic Congress is racing to pass the overdue imposition of background checks for gun buyers at unregulated gun shows. It isn’t.

    Obama and the Democrats haven’t stared down the gun lobby. They’ve enabled it.

    In April, Obama turned aside a plea from Mexico’s president to reinstate the assault-weapons ban to help ease drug-related violence along the border. In May, Obama signed a measure—supported by Democrats in Congress—allowing visitors to carry concealed weapons in national parks.

    Last weekend, the president, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters toured Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks, generating images of the Obamas as picture-perfect icons of healthy family fun. They were, of course, wrapped in the shield of the Secret Service, and made their trip before the law loosening restrictions on guns in the parks takes effect next February. Then the rest of us will be on our own in the case of a shooting that might occur while we try to absorb the splendor the first family so clearly enjoyed.

    The White House response to the presence of gun-toting citizens near presidential events has the same tone of appeasement that marks its gun policy. The administration says it’s all OK with them so long as gun owners stay within state laws and are “being safe,” as spokesman Bill Burton put it.

    How, exactly, does a citizen outside the presidential security zone find safety when loaded weapons are brought into hot crowds of passionate political protesters? The notion is absurd or arrogant, take your pick.

    But then, the same can be said of Obama and those Democrats who believe that if they just try to get along with the gun lobby, the gun lobby will get along with them. Now we have the response: Gun fetishists will celebrate by packing heat outside presidential events, gleefully modeling their wares for the media—all while voicing their bizarre suspicion that the government is plotting to seize their guns.

    This incendiary mix of political passion, weird thinking and weaponry is likely to explode. Even if it doesn’t, perhaps Americans who are learning for the first time that loose state laws really do allow loaded guns to be carried by just about anyone—to any place—will be shocked. “I think this latest thing with guns at these events just doesn’t meet the smell test with the general public,” Helmke says. “When the general public sees that, it says, ‘That’s not what we want.’‘’

    Let’s hope so.

    Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at)washpost.com.

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By ardee, August 23, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Louise, August 22 at 10:25 pm #

ardee,

I guess it’s all in the gun. Are we talking about full-auto rifles, submachine guns, riot shotguns, sniper rifles, special ops guns, or simply guns for wannabee warriors? In any case, they all have a “kick” or recoil. Which is why recoil pad manufacturers do such a brisk business. I understand some have recoil pads available standard on the gun. But having never gone shopping for one, I could be wrong.

You stated that one would be “knocked on ones ass” from the recoil. You didnt specify which weapon nor consider that none of the weapons worn by those silly men were capable of said action. In fact there are darn few such existing capable of said knocking. I post only to stress the importance of reality in editorializing. You do your cause no good with innacuracies.

“Nothing I have stated “brands all progressives as “nuts on guns” because there are a few “gun nuts” who chose political theater to make a stupid point” -nor did I call for “all guns to be shot into space.” Those are your words. In fact, I do not believe gun nuts are “progressive” in any way.

Regressive if anything.

Once more, distortions of reality, from a progressive, tends to brand all such calls for changes in gun laws as ridiculous. Distortions would also include the inference that either of us mentioned space in any way in the course of this discussion. Thom Wolfe engages in “stream of consciousness” as a literary device, it doesnt really work in politics.

So-called gun nuts, trying desperately to send themselves back to that romantic time they fantasize, when men were free, because they packed a gun and fought to preserve their liberty. I don’t recall seeing any paintings of the revolutionaries packing Assault weapons, rarely even a side-arm. Nor do I recall a history lesson about our many wars where the lesson taught is how lovely it was watching all those brave young men scare the beegeebies out of their neighbors, just because they could. Unless of course their neighbor was the enemy. Maybe that’s it! They hate us all, possibly even themselves!

Actually, those brave warriors of yesteryear were hurt a lot. They bled a lot, and a lot of them died.

I have no answer to your personal and mostly fictional accounts above, nor do I think it has a place in our debate. I do not, nor do you, know the inner workings of the minds of those demonstrators . You are free to speculate, me Ill ignore such.

But lets not focus on the real horror of fighting for our liberty. Lets not even preserve it in our memory, with the dignity it deserves. Instead, lets focus on the fairy tale romantisicim and let the gun nuts replay that fairy tale. What shall we call that, silly?  Irresponsible? Or maybe dangerous. But it is romantic, and so other-timely, and so not the least little bit in touch with history or reality!

Again, were this a fiction I would grade you high, but it isnt so I cannot. We are discussing a demonstration, a political rally, a bit of street theater and I wish we would stick with that, its hard enough.

What would happen if, like those original Freedom Fighters the gun nuts were suddenly confronted with several regiments of combat troops from a foreign nation? I’ll bet, unlike those original Freedom Fighters they would shit their pants!

Right after they dropped their guns and just before they ran like hell!

“If they can convince you of absurdities they can coerce you into atrocities…”

I would offer that most if not all of those folks were veterans, many probably saw combat. I did, have you? I urge you, if you wish to continue this discussion, to please sublimate your silly and unnecessary vilification of people and stick to issues.

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By Louise, August 22, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

I guess it’s all in the gun. Are we talking about full-auto rifles, submachine guns, riot shotguns, sniper rifles, special ops guns, or simply guns for wannabee warriors? In any case, they all have a “kick” or recoil. Which is why recoil pad manufacturers do such a brisk business. I understand some have recoil pads available standard on the gun. But having never gone shopping for one, I could be wrong.

Nothing I have stated “brands all progressives as “nuts on guns” because there are a few “gun nuts” who chose political theater to make a stupid point” -nor did I call for “all guns to be shot into space.” Those are your words. In fact, I do not believe gun nuts are “progressive” in any way.

Regressive if anything.

So-called gun nuts, trying desperately to send themselves back to that romantic time they fantasize, when men were free, because they packed a gun and fought to preserve their liberty. I don’t recall seeing any paintings of the revolutionaries packing Assault weapons, rarely even a side-arm. Nor do I recall a history lesson about our many wars where the lesson taught is how lovely it was watching all those brave young men scare the beegeebies out of their neighbors, just because they could. Unless of course their neighbor was the enemy. Maybe that’s it! They hate us all, possibly even themselves!

Actually, those brave warriors of yesteryear were hurt a lot. They bled a lot, and a lot of them died.

But lets not focus on the real horror of fighting for our liberty. Lets not even preserve it in our memory, with the dignity it deserves. Instead, lets focus on the fairy tale romantisicim and let the gun nuts replay that fairy tale. What shall we call that, silly?  Irresponsible? Or maybe dangerous. But it is romantic, and so other-timely, and so not the least little bit in touch with history or reality!

What would happen if, like those original Freedom Fighters the gun nuts were suddenly confronted with several regiments of combat troops from a foreign nation? I’ll bet, unlike those original Freedom Fighters they would shit their pants!

Right after they dropped their guns and just before they ran like hell! 

And I ask you, by what crystal ball do you see a loaded gun in a house before you enter it? Where can I get one of those? Maybe we need a law that says anyone with a loaded gun in their house needs to post a sign on their door, Warning! Loaded gun inside! Yeh that would go over like a lead ballon, eh?
~~~

mike112769,

I’m assuming you are refering to your drill instructor, and the weapons training you received. I suspect in the case of the scrotum, the Kick Eez?, or LimbSaveR’S PReciSion-FiT, may not have been an option. So I’m glad your DI didn’t hurt himself.

Last thing in the world we need is DI’s with wounded scrotums. smile

I’m told most initial flaws of the M16 are “bugged” out, and if properly maintained, it’s relatively comfortable to fire and quite accurate. Which makes it a good choice for man hunting man, as in military action. But like all assault weapons, it’s not recommended for sport hunting. Unless maybe you’re hunting a Dinosaur.

Anyway, I’m naturally curious, did YOU shoot the gun with the stock on your scrotum? If not, why not? Maybe that’s not standard training ...?

I’ll remember your wise council and have a cop accompany me everywhere I go. Oh, I can’t do that, can I. So much crime, (even GUN crime) and so few cops.

Well golly whiz lets all do that regress thing and start packing our own assault weapons. Then we can all pretend we are really brave, because we have an assault weapon, and that is wonderful, ‘cause it’s for our liberty and killing someone in the name of “liberty” is even wonderfuller and dying for the “cause” is the most wonderfulest of all. Yes indeedy, we can become the United States of Dim-wits!

Oh wait, maybe we already are.

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By Anarcissie, August 22, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Sepharad: ’... why is it not OK to infringe on our freedom slightly by demanding that guns of all sorts must be checked at the gate? ...’

Because the cops, etc., will have guns.  The first time I heard about this issue—guns being displayed at public meetings—was a complaint on a rightist mailing list; the writer said he had gone to some sort of “town hall” and there found police of various sorts bristling with guns, not just Glock 9s but shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, all very openly displayed, brandished, waved at the public.  The writer said he felt they were trying to intimidate him and people like him.  Perhaps it was an act like this—and I have no trouble believing the writer—which set off the gun nut displays. 

A lot of people do not consider the police or other agents of the government to be superior beings, and I see no reason why they should.  And the police party demands the power to carry and brandish weapons anywhere and everywhere. 

Happiness is a warm gun.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Case in point: The young man packing an assault weapon wearing thongs on his feet. Obviously he has never had any training, and knows absolutely nothing about that weapon. Otherwise he would know, without firm footing the kick would knock him flat on his ass! Not to mention possible damage to his bare arms. Oh, one might argue, he knows but it isn’t loaded and he doesn’t plan on using it. Well then, a reasonable person might ask, why the hell is he carrying it on the street?

Louise It does your position little good to post such as the above. An AK-47 is a mean little kicker, especially when compared to Ar-15’s M-14’s and M-16’s. But those little NVA’s had no trouble keeping their feet when firing them and those guys weighed 120 lbs. dripping wet. I have fired all the above, own two of the above, and testify they will not knock anyone on their ass…..

Further, I agree that some folks keep loaded weapons in their home, some under their pillow probably, some in the closet I imagine. So dont visit their homes. I doubt you have any statistics as to who or how many of those types there are, and you let your imagination run wild in defense of your position that noone should ever own weapons
( OK that may be an exaggeration).

The issue of gun control is a red herring to many, and it does little good to speak to a subject you are obviously unfamiliar with as well. There are reforms that are quite necessary, waiting periods, record checks prior to purchase, maybe even mandatory classes. Then there are arguments like yours, containing glaring error and waving a red flag that, unfortunately, brands all progressives as “nuts on guns” because there are a few “gun nuts” who chose political theater to make a stupid point.

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By mike112769, August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Louise: Your ignorance is showing. There’s not an assault rifle on the planet that can “knock a person on their ass” by shooting it. My DI held his M-16 on his scrotum to demonstrate how negligible the recoil is. Get your facts straight, THEN pontificate. Have a nice day.

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By mike112769, August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

“The rest of us don’t have armed guards.”? Really? What are the police then? If they are not the Public’s guards, they must be Authority’s enforcers. Which is it?

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By Sepharad, August 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

I find it hard to believe that Cocco found any Secret Service agent who implied they could adequately protect the President. My uncle was an agent then a deputy-director of the Secret Service for years and said more than once that anyone determined to assassinate a President could do so, as long as they were willing to risk dying in the attempt. What Secret Service agents ARE is willing to do is to die in required to protect the President. (Remember, too, my young cousin’s reaction, wailing “But the President’s not as nice and smart as my dad. No fair.”)

Yet allowing automatic weapons into an assembled political crowd seems ridiculous, begging for trouble. There are laws against carrying concealed weapons, but the fact that they are not concealed doesn’t make carrying them overtly everywhere OK. If Americans aren’t permitted to smoke in a restaurant or airplane, why is it not OK to infringe on our freedom slightly by demanding that guns of all sorts must be checked at the gate? Talk about crazy behavior ... Sometimes I wonder how this country survives at all.

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By ender, August 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Flick:

“Maybe you desire a socialist state.  That’s fine, but you need to understand that it’s not Constitutional (guarantees a republican form of government) and there are those of us who will resist your attempts to make us over in the fashion of a European socialist “utopia” by making end runs around the covenant.

I applaud these courageous individuals who brought their firearms to presidential town hall meetings, and I will continue to applaud them until our elected servants on Capitol Hill stop spitting in our collective faces.”


Socialism isn’t a form of government.  It’s a form of economics.  Almost all of todays socialist nations got that way by democratic elections.  The 23%s who still don’t think Shrub was a war criminal are the only Americans opposed to health care reform, and the rest of Americans overwhelmingly support reform IF IT INCLUDDES A PUBLIC OPTION.  Reichwing nutjobs are being used by corporate fascist to confuse the public, spread misinformation and intimidate participants in the town hall meetings.

You lost the election and America is no longer the bastion of conservative Nazism.  Put your gun where the sun don’t shine and pull the trigger until it stops hurting.

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By Anarcissie, August 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

peterjkraus:
‘Simple. Whoever thinks he needs to be armed when leaving the house is deathly afraid of his surroundings. Of his neighbors. Of the cop on the beat. Of the army, as some intellectual wrote here… these people are not ashamed to write they are arming themselves and carrying their arms to fight the police and army, who ostensibly arm our criminal class….. see “Anarcissie, August 20 at 9:12 pm” who states the lefties taking guns away “leave them with the police and the army.  And, of course, the mobsters and criminals the police and the army will sell or give them to”

Talk about anti-American sentiment! Whoa! Traitorous, at the least. ...’

I should hope so.  “If this be treason, make the most of it!”

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By Louise, August 21, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

ardee,

“You seem to conflate two opposites; carrying unconcealed weapons ( to which I object as a personal opinion, by the by) and owning such in ones home. Two distinct conditions.”
~~~

Yes they are two distinct conditions, except they aren’t. The person who can now legally pack an unconcealed weapon, loaded or not, obviously has a weapon to pack. The ability to have loaded weapons in the house comes as a right to challenge illegal search and seizure, which I support by the way, the challenge that is. As one right is established it follows that eventually the right to take that gun out of the home and pack it in the street would follow. And it follows, it may be loaded.

So here is my issue, which by the way came up when you suggested “responsible” gun owners would never put a cartridge in that gun. So, why would the same “responsible” gun owner feel it necessary to keep the gun in the home loaded? OK, I know it’s a perceived self defense issue.

Lets extrapolate this a bit more and draw a clear distinction between, hunters, military, law inforcement people and gun nuts. Hunters would never keep their guns loaded in their homes. Just as they would never borrow or lend a gun. That measure of control, keeping the guns clean and empty, and never letting anyone else use them is close to sacrosanct, to the responsible hunter. Likewise a law enforcement officer treats his weapon with the same respect, although some may keep their weapon loaded. But there are even guidelines for that.

Every hunter, law enforcement officer, or military person I have ever known follows the unloaded, clean and never loan or borrow rule! And, the rule that says, load a gun ONLY if you mean to use it!

Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks out there who own guns, and can now keep them loaded in their homes, who never heard of any rules! Whether or not the NRA, the local law inforcement officers association, or some private gun club offer proper training doesn’t guarantee every person who buys a gun has had any!

Case in point: The young man packing an assault weapon wearing thongs on his feet. Obviously he has never had any training, and knows absolutely nothing about that weapon. Otherwise he would know, without firm footing the kick would knock him flat on his ass! Not to mention possible damage to his bare arms. Oh, one might argue, he knows but it isn’t loaded and he doesn’t plan on using it. Well then, a reasonable person might ask, why the hell is he carrying it on the street?

Which brings me full circle. There is no place for gun-toten private citizens in a public gathering. In my view, people that desperate for attention have a problem. That alone should cause a little consternation.

When I see some sandle clad Jesus freak standing on the corner, out of curiosity I might stop and listen. Once he’s delivered his spiel, I’ll move on. He can stand there all day, that’s fine with me. But if I see a sandle clad kid wearing shorts and a T-shirt walking down the street packing an assault weapon, I think I’ll turn and go the other way. There are a lot of nuts out there, and there are no guarantees I wont run into one. But if he’s clearly labled, I’d be nuts not to avoid him!

Like the Lady said,“the rest of us don’t have armed guards.”

Another by the way. Justifying by the numbers, even one death at the hand of a thoughtless gun owner is a little like justifying a baby being killed by an angry parent, because most angry parents don’t kill their kids.

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By Night-Gaunt, August 21, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

“Talk about anti-American sentiment! Whoa! Traitorous, at the least.

Strangely enough, lots of these extremists hate the government, which means by extension, the country and citizenry governed. And, while hating, wrap themselves tightly into the flag.”PeterJkraus

Well you see what it is is that they want another country in its place. Another America, a fully theocratic Christian one that has never existed in the past, but they want it for their future. Unfortunately ours as well if the Cabal succeeds.

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By peterjkraus, August 21, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Simple. Whoever thinks he needs to be armed when leaving the house is deathly afraid of his surroundings. Of his neighbors. Of the cop on the beat. Of the army, as some intellectual wrote here… these people are not ashamed to write they are arming themselves and carrying their arms to fight the police and army, who ostensibly arm our criminal class….. see “Anarcissie, August 20 at 9:12 pm” who states the lefties taking guns away “leave them with the police and the army.  And, of course, the mobsters and criminals the police and the army will sell or give them to”

Talk about anti-American sentiment! Whoa! Traitorous, at the least.

Strangely enough, lots of these extremists hate the government, which means by extension, the country and citizenry governed. And, while hating, wrap themselves tightly into the flag.

Go figure.

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By Anarcissie, August 21, 2009 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Kevin CookL

\These weapons are not being brandished at these meetings so their owners can exercise or even assert their second amendment rights.  They are part of a movement intended to disrupt and intimidate.  It is behavior antithetical to anything like a functional democracy.

“Brandished” is the correct word. Pure thuggery.’

So you say, but offer no evidence.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl, August 21 at 7:43 am #


The strictest gun laws are just around the corner because These 2nd amendment folks are terrifying the moderates.

...........................

This entire effort makes it appear that moderates actually make policy….since when?

You might understand also that the far left supports gun ownership as well as does the right, and for strikingly similar reasons too. Throw in the many centrists and apolitical types who believe in the legality of gun ownership and this post seems strangely out of touch, at least to me.

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By Purple Girl, August 21, 2009 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

The strictest gun laws are just around the corner because These 2nd amendment folks are terrifying the moderates.
‘Soccor Moms’ are frightened to send their kids on any school museum field trips, worried when they drop them off at the community center, scared to attend their own Plates classes.And no doubt the middle mgt types are assessing their own Workplace Threat level since it will most likely be them in the crossfire, if not crosshairs.
What is becoming increasingly apparent to these moderates of all shades, is that we also are in grave danger of a civil war created by those who expound the ‘virtues’ of “Guns and God” Likme the Taliban- Only difference is the camo ball cap instead of the Turban. Moderates are beginning to wonder who all these folks plan to engage in a ‘Holy War’.Their body count has been dominated by those with American Birth certificates. They are killing Americans.
Moderates are beginning to see a pattern, beginning to draw in all the commonalities amongst these so called ‘lone gunmen’. They are seeing the philosophical strings which teether this group together. The toed paw from beneath the white flock. Moderates aren’t just putting together the recent events, they are inculuding past events - OK city bombing, Atlanta Olympics,Waco,Ruby Ridge,Jonestown…A very disturbing picture has been unveiled since the ‘08 campaign about this segment of our country who’ve claimed “Patriotism” and “Values” for decades.Moderates do not want to be associated with these groups any longer. It may have been ok to support “Life” and ‘personal protection’ or sport as separate causes, but Assasination and mass murder?
The Far right Fringe is about to be cut off by the moderates, not only to save moral ‘face’ but their lives and freedoms, as well.Sick of the ‘holier than thou’ attitude, sick of the ‘chicken Little’ fear mongering, the venomous hate and lies, and most especially the mercenary methods.
Their Hypocrisy, nor their crimes, nor their violence can be ignored,even by the moderates, anymore. They realize they will not be asked for their political or religious affiliations before one of these sociopaths guns them down.
So Kids caught in the ‘Wild West’ fantasy- keep flaunting your guns, infact why not pull out your stockpiled weapons and show them off to your neighbors and local news stations. Lets See your ‘muscle’ pieces of firepower. I’ll even bet it has a nickname- Do Tell.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

‘Course I could be wrong, but as I understand it the whole crux of the issue which ultimately led to the Supremes ruling packing unconcealed weapons was ok, was whether or not gun owners could keep their guns loaded and ready in their own homes.

We are all capable of error, it is the human condition. I do appreciate the mature response from you, and wish to state that up front.

I am confused as to your reference to the SC reasoning. You seem to conflate two opposites; carrying unconcealed weapons ( to which I object as a personal opinion, by the by) and owning such in ones home. Two distinct conditions.

Unfortunately no-where do we find the Supremes ruling on whether or not a gun owner should have a minimum IQ or at the very least measurable common sense.

Many NRA sponsored programs exist to train and teach safety. I have taken such courses , both military and civilian, and , when my children came of age I had them take such as well. As teens my kids enjoyed “punching paper” at the local range, and two still hunt ( Pop’s too damn infirm these days), as does my eldest grandson, who has, by the by, a freezer full of deer meat..yum!

As you stated, “There are folks who kill themselves and others driving cars, shall we look askance at car owners?” No, but neither should we eliminate the laws governing driving. You stated, “There are those who kill themselves with alcohol, or kill others while under its influence.” But you failed to note, most don’t. Does that mean we should eliminate the laws governing drunk driving, or abuse while under the influence? Of course not. So why do gun owners protest so loudly when someone suggests they need to be governed by law?

Fewer gun owners cause injury or death to their fellow citizens than do those who drive, or drink, or both. We have laws on the books governing gun ownership, we should certainly make ownership dependent upon mandatory safety classes, a far better and more defensible position than calling for all guns to be shot into space.

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By adp3d, August 21, 2009 at 3:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just imagine what would have happened in Minneapolis and St. Paul had protesters exercised their right to carry weapons during the Republican National Convention.  What will happen in three years?  I’m not sure if Minnesota allows weapons to be carried but what if it did?  What if the police had searched activists headquarters and had found weapons and ammo?  It’s perfectly legal to possess firearms, but oh boy, don’t get caught with a roach in your pocket!

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By bogi666, August 21, 2009 at 3:27 am Link to this comment

night gaunt, thanks for the feedback about yelling fire, you’re right it was incompletely stated. I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

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By Kevin Cook, August 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These weapons are not being brandished at these meetings so their owners can exercise or even assert their second amendment rights.  They are part of a movement intended to disrupt and intimidate.  It is behavior antithetical to anything like a functional democracy.

“Brandished” is the correct word. Pure thuggery.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

mike112769:
‘Personally, I feel that trying to harass these people for carrying plays right into their hands. ...’

That depends.  Some of them are clearly exhibitionists, and desire any sort of attention, rather than the expression of an ideology or opinion.  But, as I said, there are a great many people who sincerely believe that the private possession of weapons supports the right of everyone to live in a safe society.  We’ll call these poeple gun nuts.  Anti-gun nuts almost never approach them with a rational argument, but just with what we observe here: moralization, name-calling, abuse.  It’s very mysterious to me.  As I’ve said before, it hardly seems like a leftist stance—and many anti-gun nuts claim to be of the Left—to take weapons away from the people and leave them with the police and the army.  And, of course, the mobsters and criminals the police and the army will sell or give them to.  And I don’t see why it’s an issue anyway.  If you tolerate private automobiles, which threaten my life every day, what’s the problem with guns, with which I’ve hardly ever been threatened?  But I’m being rational again….

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By eviebee, August 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m originally from Europe and to the last day of my
life I will NEVER understand this obsession with
guns in this country.At the time of constructing the
first amendment etc.the Founding Fathers could never
in their wildest dreams have envisioned the sort of
deadly weapons now carried by lunatics to even public
meetings.Besides,I don’t think they had quite envisioned simple rifles being replaced by automatic
weapons and similar ghastly killing machines 233 yrs.
later.The right for everyone to BEAR arms? what a
crock and a subversion of the original meaning.

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By mike112769, August 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Personally, I feel that trying to harass these people for carrying plays right into their hands. If we start making them leave their legally-owned and licensed firearms at home, they will cry “Abuse of power and denial of Constitutional rights!” I would be AMAZED if one of these guys opened fire at a rally. I am also ammazed by all the anti-gun vitriol. “Gun nuts”? Who do you think you are calling someone a nut? I’m sure the people who own guns think you do some pretty nutty things, too. People who cry that gun owners are endangering the public just don’t get it. People who love their guns that much know everything there is to know about said guns. They put themselves through more extensive training than the classes ever will. People in this country need to quit being so damned scared of everything all the time. Recognize the fact that just maybe those “nuts” will be the ones you have to turn to for help when the feces hits the fan. A lot of us seem to think “All is well. Let’s not rock the boat.” Wake up and recognize: All is not well, and the boat sure could use a little rockin’. We are becoming a nation of wusses.

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By DanMorgan06, August 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Extreme gun rights advocates are unconcerned with the anxieties that people have about the safety of themselves and their neighborhoods. The claim that gun rights advocates percieve themselves as the guarantors of public safety when they arm themselves is besides the point, and is in fact a very narcissistic outlook. Through their behavior, such as at these rallies, and through their advocacy of liberal gun laws, they unilaterally dismiss any shared concern the rest of us may have about safe neighborhoods and the right to peaceably assemble. As someone else commented, they trump our rights to free speech by bringing arms into the public forum.

They conflate their right to own arms and carry them in public with civil rights and freedom of choice. They believe that any hindrance of these rights, regardless of public concern, is a direct assault, not just on their rights, but also on themselves and on the collective shared identity they have among themselves as gun owners. They displace real civil rights when they show up at these rallies armed, since they have it within their ability to silence dissent to their views and create a “chilling effect.”

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By Louise, August 20, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

‘Course I could be wrong, but as I understand it the whole crux of the issue which ultimately led to the Supremes ruling packing unconcealed weapons was ok, was whether or not gun owners could keep their guns loaded and ready in their own homes.

Unfortunately no-where do we find the Supremes ruling on whether or not a gun owner should have a minimum IQ or at the very least measurable common sense.

As you stated, “There are folks who kill themselves and others driving cars, shall we look askance at car owners?” No, but neither should we eliminate the laws governing driving. You stated, “There are those who kill themselves with alcohol, or kill others while under its influence.” But you failed to note, most don’t. Does that mean we should eliminate the laws governing drunk driving, or abuse while under the influence? Of course not. So why do gun owners protest so loudly when someone suggests they need to be governed by law?

Of course gun-owners are as alarmed by this display of no common sense as those of us who don’t need a gun. And I’m sure you are one of those we could call responsible. But has it occurred to you that there may be some, perhaps a lot of “somes” who are not?

Gun nuts feel they have won some sort of victory, because they can pack guns around. And folks who don’t particularly feel comfortable in a crowd full of folks displaying assault weapons seem to have lost something. At least if a non-hunter chooses to avoid being a target he can stay inside during hunting season, or dress the dog and kids in orange, not that it always works but it’s better than nothing. But what defense does a crowd have if a bunch of protesters decide to show up with guns? I guess they can leave, which may be the true motive behind those gun-toters. Draw comfort from the notion that these folks never load their weapons if you like, but I prefer to err on the side of reality. They do.

When you presume to assume everyone who feels a need to publicly pack their assault weapon is 100% responsible like you, you make the same mistake you accuse me of making. Namely lumping everybody together under one lid. It just isn’t so, otherwise no parent would leave a gun where a child could find it. No gun-owner would pack around a loaded gun unless they meant to use it. And no one would get killed by accident.

And while these tragedies may be in the minority, to someone who has buried a loved one, it’s the ONE tragedy that counts. And unless or until you, or anyone else can guarantee there will be no more “accidents” those of us who have no need to pack and collect guns would just as soon not have them waived in our face, OK?

We have rights too!

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By Jean Gerard, August 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...General public will be shocked. Let’s hope so.”

Dream on!  The “general public” is so ignorant that it thinks “the right to bear arms” is perfectly okay, and that any attempt to limit this right is a betrayal of the Constitution, even though that Amendment was passed long before the invention of automatic weapons and before the NRA got its teeth into the jugular veins of Congress.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

DanMorgan06:
‘The problem with these gun rights activists is that they believe their right to own and carry guns trumps the right of everyone else to live in a safe society….’

I believe, from what I read, that gun rights activists actually believe that their right to own and carry guns, and their exercise of that right, supports the right of everyone else to live in a safe society.  If you’re going to argue against people’s beliefs, at least get them right.

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By ardee, August 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Louise, August 20 at 3:47 pm

I hope you have the perspective to understand that, in some quarters, your rant (meant politely) would seem similar to how you characterise others.

There are millions upon millions of gun owners in this nation, I myself am one. The stories you relate are untypical of the vast majority of said owners. There are folks who kill themselves and others driving cars, shall we look askance at car owners? There are those who kill themselves with alcohol, or kill others while under its influence.

The laws of this nation allow the ownership of guns, and, as one who believes that taking the guns of citizens is a bad idea considering the creeping
( galloping) fascism we see, I confess to owning more than a few.

Of course those who wore their guns to protest Obama were over the top I think it street theater on a par with that used by the left. I hold that this sort of post as you have created lends itself to the ridicule of the entire progressive movement and thus should be reflected upon with greater thought.

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By William W. Wexler, August 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Flick posted (in part):

You want to talk about intimidation?  Let’s talk Patriot Act, DHS, police militarization, TSA, DoD, Military Commissions Act, fedgov attempts to eliminate Habeas Corpus and the Posse Comitatus Act, recent law enforcement and DHS reports demonizing what amounts to people with views unsupportive of the government, the recent and growing upswing of police brutality tasings and coverups, torture of U.S. citizens if labeled enemy combatants, the IRS, NORTHCOM, free speech zones, and obscene bailouts against 95% of the people’s will (of those who called their senators and representatives).

If you’re so opposed to intimidation, why don’t we see you speaking out against these things?  What you’re seeing is the Second Amendment coming into play precisly as it was intended.  If our elected officials no longer represent the people, what is left to us but to resort to arms?  No doubt you’d rather be a slave than fight against tyranny.  Then again, you’d have to first be able to recognize tyranny when you saw it.

———————————-

Flick, I enjoyed your whole post immensely, the part I snipped just happens to resonate with me a bit more than the rest.

In the first paragraph you define the problem pretty well.  We have become an authoritarian state where the government officials we have elected and sworn to uphold the Constitution are not doing their job. 

I don’t know what your politics is, but in my mind this is not a left/right issue at all.  It’s an American problem.  I have seen the authoritarian state grow immensely powerful in the last 40 years and I don’t like it a bit.

Having said this, I think a lot of liberals have spoken out on the issues you raise in that paragraph.  I have.  (I’m a socialist, though, not a neo-liberal).  I just don’t see how bringing guns to political rallies is going to convince anyone of anything.  The only thing that it does is greatly increase the likelihood that someone will get shot.

The notion that you can change our authoritarian state by flashing guns at it is, well, just wrong.  Your post sounds like you might think that America needs people to go all Red Dawn on its ass, but believe me, if anyone tried an armed insurrection against the US government it would be crushed in a matter of hours.

So what can you do?  I think political theater is great, but you just need to use less dangerous props.  If you have enough people that believe the authoritarian state needs to be changed, I think you could change it.  I would sign up for an organization that does that.  Hell, I’m already in a couple of them, including the ACLU.

-Wexler

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By Louise, August 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

“Those who speak to the potential for accidental discharge simply fail to understand that no self respecting gun owner would carry a weapon with a cartridge in the chamber.”

~~~

We have to ask ourselves, since none of these guys were packing hunting weapons does “self respecting gun owner” apply?

When it comes to fixating on packing assault weapons, what’s the point, if it’s not ready to kill? Nuts who think they’re in danger and need that gun to attack the “enemy” don’t pack that gun around just because they can. Those committed to saving the nation from “govnermant and them socialist, commie bastards,” keep em loaded!

They celebrate their “constatushanel right to keep and bear Arms.” And that doesn’t mean an arm with a trigger finger. To them that means an arm with a trigger finger packen a loaded gun!

I personally know only one (former) 2nd ammendment nut. He shot his foot off demonstrating his readyness to defend the nation. ‘Course he never would have hurt himself had the gun not been loaded and ready. But it could have been worse. As his wife pointed out when she hauled his guns to the local police station, it could have been one of the kids!

Yes indeed, guns in plain sight, properly registered are not dangerous.

Tell that to the grandfather who shot and killed his five-year-old grandaughter, who playing hide and seek surprised him enough that he pulled his gun and blew her head off, convinced a burglar was sneaking up behind him.

Tell that to the mom and dad of the seven-year-old who was shot by his eight-year-old friend by that “in plain sight” gun that wasn’t loaded.

Tell that to the bride who shot her groom when he arrived home earlier than expected and surprised her in the kitchen.

Tell all the victims killed by guns, not people, that their death doesn’t count because guns not people killed them. OK, I know that doesn’t make any sense, but tell that to the gun nuts anyway. It makes perfect sense to them.

There are rare examples of someone carrying a concealed weapon saving lives. Actually the only one I can remember is the off duty cop who pulled a gun and shot a bank robber, who had taken hostages and was getting ready to kill them. His courage and cool head saved a lot of lives. I have no problem with a cop carrying a concealed gun, because along with that gun training he recieves training on how to deal with crisis.

Unfortunately, and obviously gun toten protesters and those (well regulated?) “militia” types have absolutely no training on how to deal with crisis, or much of anything else! Oh, I guess I have to amend that. They do receive training on how to attack phantoms and conspiracies. So, when they meet in secret and agree to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act, I guess that would make them a group of conspirators.

Little wonder they are frustrated and confused. smile

I have a real problem with people who think if we all pack loaded guns, a Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc., incident will be prevented. The problem with that kind of thinking is when everybody pulls their guns and starts shooting, the challenge becomes who are the bad guys, and who are the good? At least in war we can identify by uniform. And speaking of uniforms, why don’t the gun-nuts show up in their militia uniforms?

Actually, there may be a good reason. Those of us who can remember, remember the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was planned and carried out by members of a militia. Who by the way, planned on bombing a whole bunch of other Federal buildings, before they got caught with the plans. Which proves when it comes to identifying the “enemy” they’re not to good at it.

Unless of course the enemy is private and government employees, colored people and little kids. Gosh that reminds me of the Ku Klux Klan!

Maybe todays “militia” is yesterdays Klan!

KKK in Khaki, eh?

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By Night-Gaunt, August 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

“Do not mistake the flaunting of weaponry for democratic free expression. It’s intimidation.”Maria Cucco

  Yes, that is why police an the military swear by them don’t you know?

”“It changes the nature of political debate to add these weapons,” says Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s really hard to talk back to somebody who’s got a gun. This is the part that’s new. It’s trying to trump political discourse with the weapon.” “Maria Cucco

We have seen the cops, and military units do just that at plenty of places where people turned out to peacefully protest all kinds of things. Why don’t we disarm the police and military and take them out of their empowering uniforms to lower the intimidation level for a start?

As for being loaded or unloaded? What good is it if it is unloaded?

“What ever happened to the prohibition that “yelling fire” in a crowded theater is not protected by the 1st Amendment of Free Speech?”Bogie666

It is only if you are falsely crying that there is a fire. Which most people seem to leave out in their redactions of it.

Sampson they already have control of both parties so that eventuality won’t happen. Nipped in the bud.

In the 1770’s most people brought their own guns to that militia which was organized locally. And there is no specific prohibition against bringing one to a rally but it is a mistake. We have a lousy “gun culture” because so many do not have weapons or are trained in their use so they are alien and dangerous to them. A child wouldn’t reach for a shiny gun if they had been trained not to.

We all know that if this happened at anything that the Repubs put together the person wouldn’t get out alive. The signs too tell they are there for anything other than benevolent reasons.

I recall during the first part of the USA-Iraq war when GHWBush came to speak to a hand picked audience of soldiers, all the guns were emptied of ammunition except for his direct body guards. Curious isn’t it?

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By knobcreekfarmer, August 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

might i suggest that from this day forth, where a given state has laws allowing, all
gun owning progressive liberals take their guns and make a bee line for any and
all conservative lawmaker’s town hall meetings, public events and perhaps even
their office as a show of constitutional rights.

-wonder who will shoot first?

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By Rodger Lemonde, August 20, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh Oh I can see the movie coming on. Cheerful good
natured gun toter is happily displaying his good ol’
2nd amendment rights when some dastardly gun toter who
conceals his weapon assassinates a Senator. Imagine the
hilarity as police descend on our patriot.
In chapter 2 72 hours later just before his release,
his new best friend for life tells him that the guy he
took the fall for is going after the president. Now
with this arrest behind him he has to locate and stop
the real assassin. To bad the movie title ‘Dumb and
Dumber’ is already taken.

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By ardee, August 20, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Like it or dont, those who brought guns to a political rally were making a political statement, and doing so in accord with state and local law. One might disagree with their opinions of course, but not with their right to do what they did.

Those who speak to the potential for accidental discharge simply fail to understand that no self respecting gun owner would carry a weapon with a cartridge in the chamber.

I believe that a majority of our fellow citizens are rather firm in their conviction that gun ownership is constitutionally guarranteed. I further believe that the left shoots itself in the foot, so to speak, and loses much political traction by engaging in such talk as I read herein.

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By ChaoticGood, August 20, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Just how does this amendment permit carrying assault rifles into political rallies.  Even in the “old west”, the sheriff often demanded that the “cowboys” turn in their guns at his office while they were in town.  That is only common sense.

I am a liberal, I was raised with guns and I am a very good shot, so do I need to start carrying guns to political meetings to counter the presence of conservatives.  If I do, then, we have devolved as a society back into barbarism.  America looks more and more like professional wrestling every day.

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By Flick, August 20, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ms. Cocco,

All of the controversy is about one thing, which no one is discussing honestly:  intimidation.

Gun toters are accused of causing intimidation, but the establishment and the media just aren’t getting it.  The intimidation has, until this week, been moving esclusively in one direction—from government to the people.

Fedgov continues to violate the Constitution, which is the lawful covenant between the people, the states, and the federal government.

Ms. Cocco, why don’t you show all your readers here where in the Constitution the states or the people grant the federal government the power even to have a say in health care, let alone legislate anything having to do with health care.  And health care is just the latest in a “long train of abuses” against that covenant, which are really abuses against the states and the people.

You want to talk about intimidation?  Let’s talk Patriot Act, DHS, police militarization, TSA, DoD, Military Commissions Act, fedgov attempts to eliminate Habeas Corpus and the Posse Comitatus Act, recent law enforcement and DHS reports demonizing what amounts to people with views unsupportive of the government, the recent and growing upswing of police brutality tasings and coverups, torture of U.S. citizens if labeled enemy combatants, the IRS, NORTHCOM, free speech zones, and obscene bailouts against 95% of the people’s will (of those who called their senators and representatives).

If you’re so opposed to intimidation, why don’t we see you speaking out against these things?  What you’re seeing is the Second Amendment coming into play precisly as it was intended.  If our elected officials no longer represent the people, what is left to us but to resort to arms?  No doubt you’d rather be a slave than fight against tyranny.  Then again, you’d have to first be able to recognize tyranny when you saw it.

You, like so many others, need to take the red pill and stop worshiping the state.  You still seem to be caught up in the old divide-and-conquer tactic called Democrats and Republicans.  Each party hacks away at the tree of liberty when it’s in power; they just hack at it from different sides.  The left happens to hack away at rights that you don’t agree with and the right hacks away at rights that others don’t agree with or feel are important.

Stop mollycoddling our elected representatives as though they are worthy of some higher form of honor or deference or should receiving the benefit of the doubt.  Until and unless they abide by the Constitution, they don’t deserve such gracious treatment.  Right now, they deserve to be intimidated.  Why?  BECAUSE NOTHING ELSE IS WORKING!

The Second Amendment was included for precisely such a time as this—when nothing else is working.

Maybe you desire a socialist state.  That’s fine, but you need to understand that it’s not Constitutional (guarantees a republican form of government) and there are those of us who will resist your attempts to make us over in the fashion of a European socialist “utopia” by making end runs around the covenant.

I applaud these courageous individuals who brought their firearms to presidential town hall meetings, and I will continue to applaud them until our elected servants on Capitol Hill stop spitting in our collective faces.

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By purplewolf, August 20, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Ender brings up a good point about these losers being like the Taliban interfering with the voting in Afghanistan. Next these whack jobs will appear at the voting polls in this country with their weapons and intimidation tactics to force their views on everyone or else the possible threat of great bodily harm or death for those who try to vote opposite of the right wing gunfreaks warped views. Many people would turn and go home and not vote rather than face the possibility of harm to themselves or their families, as many voters have their younger children with them when they go to the voting polls, and most the voting in my state takes place in the elementary schools during the school day when the children are in classes. Not the safest thing if/when this comes to pass unless something is done to control this problem before geets becomes out of hand.

You can’t reason or argue with an idiot, crazy person or a Republican for that matter. These gun toting people fit into that category.

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By bogi666, August 20, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

The gunner’s being unable to display their genitals in public opt to use their phallic substitute, their guns. The gun has become their object of worship, idol worship which is a sin.

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By bogi666, August 20, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Wexler, great point about the gun nuts being cowards. The women from Code Pink have shown more courage than all the gun nuts combined. They challenge in an open forum directly to those they disagree with,without all the braggadocio of the gun crazies which is all they have and do is talk and talks cheap.

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By William W. Wexler, August 20, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

mike112769,

You seem to be glossing over a few things in your defense of guns at public events.

First, you make the false argument that if the gun is in plain sight it is not to be feared.  Using that argument in reverse, you are saying that instead of fearing people carrying guns at rallies we should be fearing everyone who appears to NOT be carrying a gun.  Bogus.

Second, you say that if one fears people carrying guns at political rallies we should obtain one and bring it along.  This is patently false on a number of levels, but just let me point out two.  Every person who is carrying a gun is not on equal footing.  The “great equalizer” myth is a myth.  In order to be able to shoot a gun you have to practice.  Some people will never be expert due to physical limitations (e.g., my lousy eyesight).  Also, you fail to account for the number of bullets shot by everyone “defending themselves” that hits innocent bystanders.  Like kids and other unarmed persons.

Third, I put it to you that the persons who carry guns are the cowards, not the other way around.  They are so afraid of their own shadow and their own inability to express themselves that they have to carry a gun to “prove” how brave they are.  LOL, that’s really an absurdity.

Fourth, you raise the false argument so often heard by NRA members that other objects can be used to kill people so why not ban them, too?  It’s because 99.9999999999% of the people who use cars, belts, kitchen knives, or whatever the argument du jour is use them for the peaceful purposes intended.  It’s true that if you want to kill somebody you can use other devices.  But I don’t see anybody sitting in their cars at these rallies waiting to run down somebody who looks threatening.  Do you?

Last, Rachel Maddow had a retired Secret Service agent on her show a couple of nights back to discuss this very topic.  You should go to her site and watch the segment.  The USSS creates concentric circles with different security levels around the President.  The people outside the building were not in their control, which is why they did not intervene.

Mike, this is a case of conflicting rights.  The people of Arizona have decided to let their citizens carry guns in public.  The right to bear arms is stated in the Second Amendment.  However, the first Amendment guarantees our right to free speech.  “Free” in this case means to speak freely without fear of retaliation or retribution. Allowing people to carry guns in a free speech environment definitely ends free speech.  Your suggestion that we all go packing is just an invitation for us to endorse the behavior that our nation has grown out of and rejected.

This ain’t the Wild Wild West any more.

-Wexler

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By herewegoagain, August 20, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

mike112769 writes: “There is nothing wrong with carrying a gun or rifle to a rally like this.”

You mean it’s not illegal, at least in the states where it occurred. That doesn’t make it right, though, especially if the intent was to intimidate. I can’t see how that wasn’t the intent. These aren’t gun rights rallies, they’re health care reform rallies. And the guy in New Hampshire clearly accompanied his gun with an intimidating measure: “It’s time to water the tree of liberty.” How else are supporters of health care reform supposed to interpret such a message other than “It’s time to kill people who are for health care reform”?

mike112769 writes: “I would have been worried if they had been trying to hide the weapons instead of openly carrying.”

Do you know how many people that open display of intimidation probably inspired? Many who might not be brazen enough to openly carry a gun next time, but will carry a hidden one?”

You are trying to deny these are acts of intimidation. So are the people who are openly carrying these guns, in fact. What worries me is that it won’t be long before you people summon up enough cheap courage to admit that’s your purpose - and that will be the spark that ignites some sort of violent episode sure to kill one or more people, and also very likely result in a clamping down on all our rights in the name of “security.”

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By ender, August 20, 2009 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

These same losers would be in the Taliban stopping voters if they were in Afghanistan.  Instead, they are trying to stifle free speach with intimidation.  Where is Homeland Defense?  This is blatant terrorism.

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By think about it more carefully, August 20, 2009 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Years ago, before I gave it any thought, I thought folks that felt really strongly about guns were ‘out there’. Now I look at events like Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc., and think - these were all so called ‘gun free’ zones. The nut jobs who did the shootings know that ‘gun free’ zones are sorely and tragically mislabelled - the accurate name for them is victim disarmament zones. If most of the victims were armed, the crimes wouldn’t have even been attempted. That’s why these nut jobs don’t attack police stations.

It seems unbelievable that institutions of higher learning (or anywhere else for that matter) don’t have enough sense to know that making a rule like ‘no weapons allowed’ doesn’t automatically make it come true.  If it did, we could make rules against cancer, mosquitos, global warming…

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By DanMorgan06, August 20, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

The problem with these gun rights activists is that they believe their right to own and carry guns trumps the right of everyone else to live in a safe society. Gun ownership has become a politics of identity for these people, and they believe that an attempt to limit what they percieve as their second ammendment rights is a direct threat to them and their civil rights. They are their guns, and anyone that disagrees with their politics is percieved as their enemy.

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By mike112769, August 20, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

There is nothing wrong with carrying a gun or rifle to a rally like this. I would have been worried if they had been trying to hide the weapons instead of openly carrying. If simply the sight of a person carrying a gun scares you, perhaps you should consider getting one of your own. Or maybe you should not be such a coward. Don’t worry about a weapon until it is pointed ay you or yours. Maybe we should ban cars around rallies. Ban belts, someone could be strangled with it! If these guys were a threat, they would be taken care of by the SS (Secret Service, not nazis). People, stop being so damned scared of everything all of the time.

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By FreeWill, August 20, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

These radical gun owners are shooting them selves in the foot by such actions.  This brash intimidating display of threat force is decidedly against the interest of any one who is concerned about loosing the right to own self defensive weaponry.  It only exacerbates the suspicion and anxiety of peace loving individuals toward groups like the NRA.  People who carry arms at a peaceful political event are just sick individuals wanting attention and should be treated as such.  The police should, obviously, set up a weapons free zone at all political events for the safety of ALL participants and not just the protection of the elected official.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

’... This incendiary mix of political passion, weird thinking and weaponry is likely to explode. ...’

I strongly suspect that the incendiary mix, etc., will fizzle out.  After all, the Secret Service and the cops at these events all have guns, and they’re just as likely to be crazy as the free-running gun nuts, if not moreso; and nobody seems to worry about them.

Exhibitionistic gun-nuttery at a public meeting mostly makes whatever the gun nuts are in favor of look bad—it becomes associated with exhibitionistic gun-nuttery.

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By William W. Wexler, August 20, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

I used to think that Obama was one of the slickest politicians I’d seen.  But after the way this health care reform has spun out of control, and his anemic response, I have serious doubts.  The response to the gun-toters at the town halls is just another mistake in a long series of mistakes.

Reasonable people would approve a federal ban on deadly weapons at political gatherings.  As stated, there is no legitimate use for weapons at those events.  Obama should push this through Congress before the midterms and then hope the Bush/Reagan Supreme Court will uphold it.  If not, political discourse will be held hostage by reckless and insane people who can’t understand that their “right” to carry is infringing on others’ right to speak without fear of being shot down in the street.

-Wexler

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By Rodger Lemonde, August 20, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What worries me is that it’s the squirrels and nuts who
want the guns.
I fail to see evidence of a “well regulated militia” in
any of these gratuitous displays of born arms.

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By Samson, August 20, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Owning guns is a right protected by the Constitution.  However, that does not give the right to bring them to a public event, nor to use them as intimidation to get what you want in politics.

There is a line that to me seems clearly to be crossed by such behavior.  And the secret service should respond forcefully to protect not only the President but the other citizens coming to such events.  As well as to protect the basic freedom and democracy that says that people have a right to express their views without being threatened by nuts with guns.

The secret service should yell out ‘gun’, have all its agents draw weapons and detain the person with the gun.  The scene should look like the scene from The Blues Brothers when the cops finally catch up with Jake and Elwood at the city recorder’s office.  That’s a perfectly acceptable response to someone bringing a gun to a political event and displaying it publicly with clear intention to make a political statement.  Especially since a part of such a statement is clear intimidation and threats of violence against those who hold different political views.

What the right in America reminds me of these days is the right-wing in Spain in the early 30’s.  They seem to have reached the point where they do not accept any political views except their own.  And they seem to be willing to threaten violence to achieve that.  My guess is that if we ever did elect a President to the left of Reagan (Obama is not to the left of Reagan), the right wing might very well reject this and stage a coup.

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By Mailer Demon, August 20, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FAILURE NOTICE: If Anti 2nd amendment-ers think health care deform is
scary…

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, August 20, 2009 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

It’s intimidation, and that is a crime.

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By bogi666, August 20, 2009 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Rush also uses the public airways, which is socialism for him.What ever happened to the prohibition that “yelling fire” in a crowded theater is not protected by the 1st Amendment of Free Speech. Why is it that waring an ANTI BUSH T SHIRT, an expression of free speech, was grounds for police harassment and possible arrest.Why is gun ownership exempt from equivalent expressions of free speech. Ultimately, students should be allowed to carry guns to schools and the NRA should go to court to stop the ban on students carrying guns in schools. It is the only reasonable and sensible thing to do, according to the Constitution.

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knobcreekfarmer's avatar

By knobcreekfarmer, August 20, 2009 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

I used to think the next American revolution would be between the Haves and
the Have Nots. If there ever was a time for those conditions to ripen, it would
be now. But thankfully, the Have Nots are too brainwashed and can’t seem to
get off the couch let alone pick up any pitchforks.

But now the ages old hatred of prejudice and indifference may be back and
back with a “Rush” of vengeance.

Right wing blowhards, like Rush Limbaugh, have turned up the heat in a way
that has brought a large and very scary populous to a near boil. I’m all for free
speech but when someone like Limbaugh gets three hours a day, every
weekday to pound his fist saying over and over that something has to be done
and he hopes Obama fails, then eventually some Have Nots will get up off the
couch.

I’m now afraid that all that brainwashing is bound to be the catalyst that gets
the next big breakdown started.

It’s been said before and I firmly agree that “it’s not the guns, but the gun
owners.” However, some of the guns out there are not for squirrel hunting…

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