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“All Rifles Welcome, Especially The Evil Black Ones”: Just A Small Reminder Of The Revolution To Come

While Adam Kokesh’s much-discussed July 4 march on Washington by gun-toting sons of liberty got called off (perhaps because of Kokesh’s frequent incarcerations), the spirit lives on in Colorado, as reported by TPM’s Tony Kludt:

A tea party group’s vow to march with guns in a Fourth of July parade has caused panic in a small Colorado town.

The Southern Colorado Patriots Club announced that its members would march with guns in the annual Independence Day parade in Westcliffe, Colo. to “make a statement that we still believe in our Constitution” to protest new gun control laws in the state, the Denver Post reported. A flier distributed by the group urged members to come to the parade with unarmed rifles.

“All rifles welcome especially the evil black ones,” the flier read.

The announcement prompted the Custer County Chamber of Commerce, the event’s sponsor, to cancel the parade as nervous citizens circulated a petition to stop the club. Donna Hood, president of the chamber, abstained from the vote to cancel the parade but told the Post that the matter has “polarized this community in a week.” The parade was ultimately saved when the Town of Westcliffe agreed to pick up the sponsorship tab.

And get this:

Although the group has marched with guns in the past, the passage of new statewide gun measures has heightened public sensitivity to the action. The state’s new 15-round limit on gun magazines is slated to take effect next week.

I’m guessing the “sensitivity” was mostly raised among second amendment absolutists, who want to remind their fellow citizens that if their “liberties” are further trifled with, they’ll feel free to respond with revolutionary violence, though they tend to call it “resistance to tyranny” or even “self-defense.”

At some point, it would be nice if regular old conservatives would denounce this sort of nonsense, not because it’s embarrassing, but because it reflects the “constitutional conservative” belief that the public policy preferences of self-styled right-wing “patriots” cannot be overridden by democratic majorities operating according to the rule of law. The thinly-disguised motive for these armed demonstrations is to remind the rest of us that we can have our Obamacare or our legalized abortion or our gun safety regulations only so long as the real Americans choose to let us by leaving the ammo at home.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Editor, Washington Monthly Political Animal, June 28, 2013

July 1, 2013 Posted by | Fouth of July, Gun Violence | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ignoring The Real While Fighting The Imaginary”: The Dangers Of The Right Wing Panic Machine

It should’ve been the shot heard around the world. Chances are, you didn’t hear it.

An ominous sort of history was made last week near Austin, Texas, but it seems to have largely escaped notice. There was some media coverage, yes, but less than, say, Lindsay Lohan’s latest stint in rehab, certainly less than you’d think for something whose ramifications will likely shadow us for years.

On May 2, you see, a group called Defense Distributed, led by law student and self-described anarchist Cody Wilson, accomplished what was apparently the first successful firing of a gun “printed” entirely by a 3-D printer. According to Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg, who witnessed the test, the gun is made almost entirely of plastic, the only metal in it being the nail that served as a firing pin and the bullet it fired.

A 3-D printer, for the benefit of those who remember when the mimeograph machine was the cutting edge of duplication technology, is a device that can download computer blueprints and use them to manufacture complex physical objects right on your desktop.

The one Defense Distributed used is said to have cost $8,000. Amazon has one listed for $1,299.

So we now have technology, largely unregulated, with the potential to turn every desktop into an armory. Forbes reports that, in just two days, 100,000 blueprints were downloaded.

Hold that thought as you ponder another recent headline. It seems one Adam Kokesh, an Iraq War veteran and activist, is organizing an armed march on Washington for Independence Day. Participants — he claims 2,500 so far — with loaded rifles slung across their backs plan to march into the nation’s capital to protest the “tyranny” of the federal government.

While D.C. residents are allowed to have registered firearms on their property, they are not allowed to carry them in public. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has said marchers will be met at the border and if they break that law, “we’ll take action.”

Kokesh, apparently delusional, promises to turn back peacefully if confronted, but says it is his hope the city will suspend the law for him and even provide his group a police escort.

You will not be surprised to learn that, by “tyranny,” Kokesh means the duly elected (not a hanging chad in sight) president of the United States going about his job. Thing is, if you don’t like the way he does his job, you get a chance every four years to make a change. People in North Korea would doubtless love to live under that kind of “tyranny.”

Because it isn’t. Kokesh’s march is just the latest product of the great American panic machine, the mechanism by which the extreme right works itself into spasms of apoplectic terror over threats that don’t exist.

“We’re going to be under Sharia law!”

Except, we’re not.

“We’ve become a socialist country!”

Except we haven’t.

“There’s a War on Christmas!”

Except there isn’t.

“They’re trying to take our guns away!”

Except that it is now theoretically possible for a mental patient to manufacture his own gun in the comfort of his aluminum foil-lined basement. That’s a sobering development with far reaching implications barely considered, much less addressed, by lawmakers though this technology has existed for over a decade. Since Wilson’s test, there’s been a flurry of calls for legislation. On Friday, the federal government ordered Wilson to remove the blueprints from his website. All of which is the very epitome of locking the garage after the Hyundai has been hotwired.

It’s a pity some of the energy that has gone into fighting imaginary tyranny did not go into pondering this real and eminently predictable threat. But, then, we are unserious people in a very serious age.

And therein lies the danger of the panic machine. We spend so much time fighting threats that do not exist, we are left ill-prepared for the ones that do.

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr.,  The National Memo, May 12, 2013

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Guns | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Guns Are a Right”: Yet, The Idea That A Citizenry Free To Bear Arms May Impose More Of A Threat To Freedom Than It Guarantees

We are at a point in the debate over gun control where these are dueling headlines: “At Least 71 Kids Have Been Killed With Guns Since Newtown” versus “A march on Washington with loaded rifles.” Given the status of gun control legislation in Congress, they’re equally infuriating, but one gives insight into why this debate is stalled.

Libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh is planning a gathering of gun owners and gun rights activist where they will…maybe it’s best to read him in his words. From the Facebook page:

On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

Currently, 3400+ people on Facebook have stated their intention of participating (an admittedly shoddy means by which to gauge likely attendance), but it makes me wonder if anyone involved is reading the same news that I am.

What’s telling is the language used to promote this action. On May 3, Kokesh tweeted: “When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery.”

It’s not that he doesn’t know the horrors of guns, but that he views his right to own guns as integral to his freedom as an American. That’s the strain of thinking among pro-gun folks that’s difficult to defeat.

It’s why Glenn Beck doesn’t flinch when co-opting the message and symbolism of Martin Luther King Jr., to promote a pro-gun rights agenda. King’s nonviolent philosophy isn’t as important to Beck as the fact that his life represents a fight for freedom and Beck sees his crusade in the same light.

Here’s a thought this group may want to consider: the rights we have can, and do, have and will continue to change.

Slavery was once a right. Now-outdated notions of privacy and property allowed marital rape as a right. But the costs of those rights were the violation of others’ rights, and we reached a point as a society (through much debate, struggle, blood, sweat, tears and more) where we decided that protecting rights like slavery and marital rape was no longer worth the damage they inflicted. Alcohol was a right, then it wasn’t, and then it was again because prohibiting drinking caused more trouble than we were able to tolerate. However, when the right returned it did not go unchecked. This is how we negotiate rights in a democracy.

But on guns, we seem unwilling to even consider the idea that a citizenry free to bear arms may impose more of a threat to freedom than it guarantees. I understand why that is, as guns are tied into our national identity, our sense of masculinity, our desire for power, and it frightens some of us to think who we would be without that. And then more headlines read “13-year-old Florida boy shoots 6-year-old with handgun at home” and I just want us to pause to consider: Is the right to bear arms worth the deaths of our children?

We may well decide that it is, but a debate about guns that is afraid of that core question isn’t one worth having.

 

By: Mychal Denzel Smith, The Nation, May 10, 2013

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Gun Control, Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fun And Games Until People Get Killed”: Constitutional Conservatism’s Non-Violent March To Threaten Violence

As readers have probably noticed, I’m on something of a campaign the last few days to train a spotlight on the revolutionary rhetoric and gun-brandishing of many Second Amendment activists and “constitutional conservatives,” which has leeched over into standard conservative and GOP messaging to an alarming degree. Like anyone shining a spotlight into previously dark shadows, I’m not always familiar with what I’m seeing. That’s definitely the case with Adam Kokesh, an Iraq War vet and omni-libertarian who is planning a non-violent march of armed citizens on Washington for Independence Day to show, best I can tell, that resistance to the demands of people like him that government radically retract its size and scope will eventually face real fire. Here’s Paul Szoldra’s write-up of Kokesh’s scheme at Business Insider:

Adam Kokesh, 31, is planning a July 4 rally of pro-gun activists openly carrying rifles from Virginia to Washington as an act of “civil disobedience.” The plan, according to his Facebook event page, is to march across Memorial Bridge with rifles loaded and slung across the back “to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated [and] cower in submission to tyranny.”

The invite continues, stating, ” … This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”

Kokesh writes that if 10,000 attendees RSVP by June 1st, “we have the critical mass necessary to pull this off.” He said he wants to have at least 1,000 actually marching in the event, and as of this writing, more than 1,400 have said they were going.

As the headline at Karoli’s post on this plan at Crooks & Liars rightly says: “Marching On DC With Loaded Rifles: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

But even if no violence ensues, this exercise is actually typical of an awful lot of the stockpiling-guns-to-resist-tyranny talk on the Right (and on rare occasions, the Left) these days. It’s actually the inverse of what Kokesh says: it’s an effort to intimidate political opponents with the threat, if not the immediate actuality, of violence. Otherwise, what’s the point of carrying guns to your nonviolent protest? The point, it seems clear, is to make extraconstitutional claims for the legitimacy of the “constitutional” protests against Big Government. We can peacefully debate, the potential “armed resistance” forces suggest, this or that aspect of gun regulation or Obamacare or drone policy or taxes or “welfare looters” via conventional politics. But in the end, our conviction that your “progressive policies” represent “tyranny” trumps all civil discourse, and that’s when the shooting may start.

And that, of course, is why this sort of talk is not limited to anarchists or even to the kind of “constitutional conservatives” who really do think the policies of Calvin Coolidge or Grover Cleveland or the doctrines of John C. Calhoun came down from heaven and were enshrined eternally by the Declaration of Independence. Consciously or unconsciously, regular conservative politicians see this sort of militancy as a crucial difference-maker (or in times of Democratic political success, an “equalizer”), and so they exploit it. It’s all fun and games until people start getting killed.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, May 6, 2013

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Conservatives, Gun Violence | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What Could Possibly Go Wrong”: Gun Advocate Plans July 4th March In Washington, With Loaded Guns

A former Marine, candidate for Congress, and self-defined libertarian radio talk-show host has sparked some controversy over a Facebook event gone viral. Adam Kokesh, host of Adam vs. The Man, created an event on Facebook entitled, “Open Carry March on Washington #OpenCarry130704” to promote an individual’s Second Amendment rights. In a July 4 march from Virginia to D.C., the participants will pass Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House—all while carrying their loaded guns.

According to the Facebook page, over 30,000 people have been invited, more than 1,500 have confirmed they will attend, and nearly 1,500 have declined — and the numbers are continuing to grow.

Virginia’s lenient gun laws grant protestors the right to publicly load their guns within state lines. Since Washington, D.C. has strict gun laws, law enforcement may be able to arrest any Open Carry March participants if they cross state lines with their loaded guns.

The description on Kokesh’s Facebook page states, “This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”

Kokesh said that the event website needed 10,000 supporters and at least 1,000 confirmed marchers by June 1st for the march to take place. This goal was met Monday afternoon, when Kokesh posted an update confirming that he’d reached the required number. “Now that it’s undeniable that this is going to happen, allow me to make clear how. There will be coordination with DC law enforcement prior to the event,” he wrote. “Failing to provide that commitment to safety, we will either be informed that we will only be allowed up to a certain point where we would be arrested. If this is the case, we will approach that point as a group and if necessary, I will procede [sic] to volunteer myself to determine what their actual course of action with someone crossing the line will be at which point fellow marchers will have the choice of joining me one at a time in a peaceful, orderly manner, or turning back to the National Cemetery.”

Kokesh is a former Marine who received a general discharge, one step below an honorable discharge, after wearing his uniform to an anti-war protest. His radio talk show on Russia Today, a Russian-sponsored network that is critical of American policies, was canceled after he supported and fundraised for Representative Ron Paul’s (R-TX) presidential campaign. Kokesh stands for anti-government policies and his past run-ins with authorities show he is not afraid to make a statement for the sake of his political cause—in fact, two of his latest tweets include: “It’s time to abolish the US federal government,” and “When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery.”

There is no doubt that Kokesh’s views have become a bit extreme and radical—marching across Washington D.C. militia-style is just one way his ideology is sadly rubbing off on right-wing gun nuts across the country who relentlessly believe the government is trying to take away their guns. It is still uncertain if Kokesh will actually go through with the march, or if the event will achieve what he hopes. After all, arguing to uphold one law he enjoys by breaking another and triggering arrest wouldn’t make him a hero or patriot — it would make him a criminal.

 

By: Allison Brito, The National Memo, May 6, 2013

May 8, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Right Wing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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