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The New York Times Writes About the Gun Business and Gets It All Wrong – Again.

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              I guess it’s just too much to ask The New York Times to exercise a little self-control and withdraw from the liberal stampede to promote the idea that fascism is just around the corner thanks to all those crazy insurrectionists who show up at various political events toting their AR-15’s.

              Of course, these militia groups are smart enough to leave the guns at home if the place they want to show off how important they are happens to be a location which doesn’t allow anyone to walk around with a gun. 

              So, for example, the jerks who wanted to chase Mike Pence around the Senate chamber last January 6th knew enough to leave their guns at home. Ditto the fifty putzes or so who demonstrated to ‘free’ the January 6th bunch last September but also knew to leave their guns at home.

              This wasn’t the case when a handful of Nazis paraded in Charlottesville back in 2017 and then learned that the President of the United States thought the swastika-mounted gang were some of the ‘good people’ on both sides of the line.

              And it was exactly Trump’s failure to condemn this bunch of shitheads which gave the militia groups a new lease on life all over the United States.

              These great patriots had been pretty quiet and kept mostly to themselves after Timothy McVeigh spent some time with the Michigan Militia before he went down to Oklahoma City and bombed the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

              They had a brief renaissance in 2014 when they showed up at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, but that incident quickly folded into nothing when Fox News and the rest of the alt-right media decided they just couldn’t give that idiot Bundy license to tell everyone about ‘the Negro’ on prime time.

              I never thought that Trump didn’t know what he was doing or saying when he defended the Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville with their AR-15’s. To the contrary, Trump openly solicited support from the militia movement because his entire MAGA narrative aligned itself with what these militia schmucks believe, most of all the idea that America will remain great as long as it remains White.

              What Trump didn’t appreciate (or maybe he did) is how the liberal media would make such a big deal out of the so-called militia ‘threat’ after January 6th.  And a perfect example of how Fake News is trying to  make something out of nothing is an article, ‘Out of the Barrel of a Gun – How Armed Protests are Creating a New Kind of Politics,’ which appeared in the NYT Sunday Magazine back in January and has been selected by our friends at The Trace as one of the most ‘memorable’ articles on gun violence published this past year.

The Trace tells us that this article “improved our understanding of a unique American crisis.”  I happen to disagree. And I disagree because the author, Charles Homans, has spent about as much time hanging around militia groups as I have spent in Weight Watchers meetings over the past few years.

In fact, his article is based on some interviews he allegedly did with some of the schmucks who showed up at the Virginia State House the last couple of years to participate in Lobby Day, when anyone who wants to can get 30 seconds to stand in front of a state legislator and complain about this or complain about that. The militia guys love to come around for such events because there’s nothing better than to look at the expressions of shock on the faces of people who can’t believe that someone would actually parade around the State Capitol building with an AR-15. 

And know what happens after the milling and the massing is over and done with?  Everyone goes back home, including the so-called militia members who appear at rallies organized by a pro-gun group known as the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), which has been around for more than 25 years.

Back in 2016, another gun expert, Katie Couric, did a documentary on guns which featured an interview with several members of the VCDL.  What she didn’t know about this bunch was that they don’t believe in background checks because the words ‘background checks’ don’t appear in the Constitution. And if it doesn’t appear in the Constitution, whatever it is, it doesn’t exist.

That’s who you’re dealing with when you interview members of the VCDL.  In other words, you’re dealing with jerks. Be that as it may, The New York Times would like you to believe that an article based largely on interviews with those morons should be taken as a legitimate representation for what gun ownership in the United States is all about.

Not only are members of the VCDL as stupid as can be, but the members who are involved with the various militia groups are also as law-abiding as can be.  Why? Because if they are charged and convicted of any criminal offense, not just offenses involving guns, but offenses involving anything else, they can’t buy, own, or carry a gun for the rest of their lives. 

And the whole point of being in a militia, pace what Charles Homans and his editors at The New York Times would like you to believe, is that if you can’t show up at the shooting range, wolf down a slice and play with your guns, there’s no point in being involved with any militia group or not.  If you can’t own a gun, you can’t have any fun.

I’m willing to bet you that if you ask the average reader of my columns what they like to do on a Saturday afternoon, they’ll say they want to go to a museum in the Winter months or during the Summer read a good book at the beach. Ask a member of a militia where he can be found after he mows the lawn on a Saturday, and he’ll tell you that he’s going to hang out at the local gun shop or if necessary, drive a hundred miles or so to go to a gun show.

You think dressing up in some stupid, camouflage outfit and trotting around with an AR-15 on your shoulder is any different than getting into a Boy Scout uniform and slinging the sash with your merit badges over your arm?

If you do, you might consider writing an article about the gun business for The New York Times.

The Militia Threat Is Real – So Is My F-15.

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              Sooner or later, I knew it was going to happen. The liberal media would wake up to the fact that the so-called militia ‘movement’ isn’t just a bunch of fat, old White guys eating some pizza, drinking some beer, and then romping around in the woods with their guns.

              Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Police chased a bunch of heavily-armed men into a wooded area on I-95 about 10 miles north of Boston. The highway was closed down, the SWAT teams showed up, the negotiations went back and forth, and the insurrectionists finally gave up. No shots were fired, nobody was hurt.

              The group turned out to be members of something called the Rise of the Moors, an outfit in Rhode Island which has, of course, the usual website and professes to be part of the Nation of Moorish-Americans who do not believe that they are citizens of the United States. Hence, they do no feel obligated to obey American laws, or pay American taxes, or submit to American sovereignty in any other way.

              Why were a bunch of these self-proclaimed separatists sitting on the shoulder of I-95 in Wakefield, MA filling up one of the vehicles in their caravan with gas? Because they were on their way to Maine for ‘training,’ whatever that means. Give me a break.

              What did the liberal media do as soon as this story made the news?  They called up the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, both organizations immediately characterizing the Rise of the Moors as an ‘extremist movement.’ I mean, what else is the ADL going to say? The last movement that the SPLC or the ADL investigated that wasn’t an ‘extremist movement’ was the Boy Scouts, and even then, they weren’t completely sure.

              If there’s one legacy which has come out of the Trump years and refuses to go away, it’s the idea that all you have to do is let some idiots walk around with assault rifles who say they are protecting us from the ‘tyranny’ of the Deep State, and you have proof that the militia movement is here to stay and getting worse every day. One of the really accomplished liberal journalists, Lucian Truscott (who should know better) just put up a piece on Salon in which he claims that the GOP has shifted so far to the Right that the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are the party’s base.

              And what do these groups all share in common? They all call themselves ‘militias’ and they all love to strut around showing off their guns. Don’t forget – they have military commanders like General Roger Stone getting them in line for the next charge up San Juan – oops! – I mean Capitol Hill.

              I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened on January 6th. But I really think that our man Joe is correct when he says that if you want to take on the American government, you’d better have something more than an AR-15, like maybe an F-15, okay?

              The day after he made that comment some idiots on a Facebook gun group to which I belong began telling each other that they knew some guy who owned his own F-15. When I mentioned that a 30-foor, cigar-shaped aluminum cylinder with wings but without avionics or weapons is a replica and not a real warplane, I was denounced as just another anti-gun liberal who’s on the payroll of the Deep State. Which, since I conduct lethal-force certifications for federal law-enforcement agencies, happens to be true.

              I guess because I sold maybe 100 or more assault rifles in my gun shop between 2001 and 2015, I just can’t find myself getting all worked up about the ‘threat’ posed by either the home-grown protectors of the Constitution indicted after January 6th, or by the followers of Sharia law arrested in Wakefield yesterday.

              I’ve actually attended a couple of militia ‘training’ sessions out in the woods. The pizza was still warm, and the beer was cold.

How Big Is The Militia Movement?

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Ever since it took Donald Trump a few days to figure out how to denounce Nazis who marched through Charlottesville in August, 2017, the liberal media has been obsessed with the behavior and potential threat represented by ‘white supremacist’ groups. In particular, the mainstream media focuses much of its attention on the activities of the so-called citizen’s militias, particularly when people connected to such groups show up in a public space toting their guns.

The latest such concern can be found in a long article published in The New Yorker Magazine, which appeared previous to a bunch of militia-styled jerks getting themselves arrested for allegedly planning to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a state that has been a focus of media attention since a  number of these ‘patriots’ began demonstrating against her lockdown rules.

The militia groups in Michigan first got noticed when it turned out that Timothy McVeigh was briefly involved with the Michigan Militia before he went down to Oklahoma City and blew up the Murrah Federal Building.  The resultant publicity put the Michigan group more or less out of business, but it has of late revived, calling itself the Michigan Home Guard. This new group told the author of The New Yorker piece, Luke Mogelson, that they count one thousand members, a claim that Mogelson made absolutely no attempt to verify or even check.

Much of the recent concern about these militia groups has aligned with a narrative about the surge in gun sales that has accompanied the spread of Covid-19. And the fact that these older-generation Boy Scouts show up in public with their trusty guns only tends to underscore the idea that the country may be facing the beginnings of a true, revolutionary movement representing whatever rhetorical nonsense these great patriots put together from a combination of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Granted, there has been a surge in gun sales. For example, In my state, Massachusetts, a year-to-year comparison shows an increase in background checks for guns sold by dealers to consumers of somewhere around 80%.

Granted, there has also been a disturbing increase in homicides throughout the United States. But the guns that figure in most gun assaults, fatal and non-fatal, are rarely guns that are legally owned, and the average time between when a gun is first purchased and when it is used in the commission of a crime happens to be – ready? – more than 11 years.

I’m not trying to dismiss or downplay the fear and intimidation engendered by the spectacle of some guys walking down the street in their camo costumes and brandishing their AR’s. If nothing else, such displays of infantile stupidity on the part of adults always evokes memories and fears of mass shootings like the massacres at Las Vegas or Sandy Hook.

It’s one thing to acknowledge that the legal sale of an assault rifle to a nut like Steve Paddock or Nancy Lanza could result in community-wide trauma and multiple deaths. It’s quite another to foster the impression that behind a dozen or so middle-age schmucks who have nothing better to do than show up at a public rally and wave their guns, there lurks an unseen and  increasingly large army of like-minded dopes getting ready to declare a new civil war.

When a guy sells t-shirts and other crap to support the militia on his website tells you that his group numbers a thousand or more, shouldn’t you at least try to verify his claim? Fogelson’s article describes a gathering of some of these jerk-offs at the barbershop of a guy who refused to close down after Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, imposed lockdown rules back in May.

Guess who called up in the middle of this brief demonstration of patriotic lore? None other than Glenn Beck, who hoped he could score the same degree of media coverage that Sean Hannity thought he would get until Cliven Bundy began lecturing Hannity on ‘your Negro’ during the standoff outside his ranch.

What I’m suggesting is that the militia movement wouldn’t ever get beyond the weekend pizza and beer tailgate party except for the possibility that one of the gang might see his picture that night on Fox News. What I’m also suggesting is that the liberal media might consider not trying to compete  with the alt-right when it comes to taking those dopes seriously or discussing them at all.

Here Comes Cliven Bundy Again To Protect Your 2nd-Amendment Rights.

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You may recall back in 2014 that Arizona rancher Cliven Bundy briefly became the darling of the Conservative movement when a long-standing dispute with the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spilled over into an armed, but ultimately non-violent confrontation between Bundy’s supporters and the federal law enforcement crowd.  Bundy was on his way to becoming the poster-boy for the Right until he uttered a series of racist comments (“let me tell you about your Negro”) that got him condemned by Fox News and that was the end of that.

2A              Now he’s back in the public eye again because his three sons, along with as many as 150 other protestors, have taken over an unoccupied administration compound in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the jail sentences of two Oregon ranchers – Dwight and Steve Hammond – who were convicted of arson on national forest lands and now must serve five years in jail.  The Bundy boys claim they are members of a well-armed militia and are prepared to use force to maintain local control over BLM land.  As of Saturday night, the occupiers were feasting on chili brought up to them by friendly locals; meanwhile, the story is beginning to circulate on national media as well as the requisite Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Although the Bundy boys haven’t yet starting selling t-shirts, they make a point of referring to themselves and their merry band as a ‘militia,’ as well as making it clear that they are armed.  Ammon Bundy has been quoted as saying that he and the others will fight and even die to defend what he refers to as the ‘Constitutional rights of states’ to manage their own lands.  The occupation at Malheur is actually a spill-over from a Carson City rally led by Cliven Bundy to support a bill introduced by Rep. Michele Fiore allowing Nevada to seize and manage any federal property, even though there is no Constitutional provision that would actually allow for such a state of affairs. Fiore is the loony legislator who admits to bringing her handgun into gun-free zones because she claims to carry the piece in her bra, so what’s a girl supposed to do?

You can be sure that if this silliness at Malheur gets serious, we will see the usual liberal-conservative division of opinion that takes place whenever states’ rights versus federal authority hove into view.  And one of the issues that will surely be raised is the alleged willingness of this Bundy militia to use armed force if necessary, particularly when the President is making headlines by considering more regulation of guns.  Sooner or later we’ll be treated to a peroration by some gun nut about how these valiant freedom fighters are a living example of the sanctity of 2nd-Amendment rights.  There were hundreds of such comments floating around during the Bundy ranch standoff in 2014, and I’ll quote just one: “The Bundy Ranch standoff is but the latest example as to why the Founding Fathers codified this Right to bear arms.”

But rather than just dismissing this kind of talk as the usual, right-wing rant over 2nd-Amendment rights, my friends in the GVP movement should take a moment and ask themselves whose ox is really being gored.  Because when the SCOTUS decided in 2008 that Americans had the right to keep a handgun in their homes, it was liberals like Breyer and Stevens who dissented based on the idea that the 2nd Amendment only protected gun ownership in instances of military service completely disconnected from any kind of personal defense.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not defending the Bundy boys or the idea that anyone should walk around armed.  But if liberals want to believe that the 2nd Amendment reflects a tradition of resistance to government tyranny, then they need to be prepared to support such resistance, whether it comes from the Left or the Right.  On the other hand, perhaps it would be more consistent just to junk the 2nd Amendment itself.

 

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