Cross posted at Media Matters Gun Facts
The inevitable has happened. A man with a license to carry his gun was arrested in Oregon after taking a video of the group at the Occupy Portland venue. An argument ensued with the folks at the "occupy" movement and the man flashed his gun. This was inevitable. With the extreme right wing nuts making provocative statements about the folks involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was just a matter of time before a gun rights extremist would claim to be threatened by the group. These folks are afraid of the people who are, for the most part, peacefully gathered in cities all over this country. The group does not have people carrying guns around.
Remember the tea party movement at it's height in the summer of 2009? You can look here, here, here, here, and here to see photos and signs of and references to guns and gun carrying during the Tea Party demonstrations. A simple Google search reveals a myriad of photos and articles. Check out the video in this article of Congressman Cleaver being spit upon by a tea partier. This was one angry crowd. Does anyone remember the angry taunts and rants and the ugly signs then? Did Fox news criticize those folks?
To continue with the discussion about the use of guns in public political debates and protests, the right wing's own Andrew Breitbart seemed to be bating the groups from the liberal side in this article and video. Can you say this?
Bring it on. Because I know who’s on our side. They can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. They cannot win. We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns. (laughter) I’m not kidding. They talk a mean game, but they will not cross that line because they know what they’re dealing with.
And I have people who come up to me in the military, major named people in the military, who grab me and they go, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing, we’ve got your back.’So is that what this Second Amendment rally meant in the spring of 2010? And from this article in Human Events, a conservative magazine, rally organizer Skip Coryell wrote:
They understand that. These are the unspoken things we know, they know. They know who’s on their side, they’ve got Janeane Garofalo, we are freaked out by that. When push comes to shove, they know who’s on our side. They are the bullies on the playground, and they’re starting to realize, what if we were to fight back, what if we were to slap back?
Without the right to keep and bear arms, we revert to humanity’s default state of “law of the jungle”, where only the strong survive, where the big rule the small, and where the weak die in a puddle of blood, flesh and urine. We need the firearm and the freedom to use it or our children will live in a binary world of masters and slaves, with no check on immorality, no governor to hold the strong accountable, and no way to protect the weak from the strong.
My question to everyone reading this article is this: "For you, as an individual, when do you draw your saber? When do you say "Yes, I am willing to rise up and overthrow an oppressive, totalitarian government?"
Is it when the government takes away your private business?
Is it when the government rigs elections?
Is it when the government imposes martial law?
Is it when the government takes away your firearms?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating the immediate use of force against the government. It isn't time, and hopefully that time will never come. But one thing is certain: "Now is the time to rattle your sabers." If not now, then when?
... I understand that sounds harsh, but these are harsh times. ...It's clear to me what these writings mean. Being armed makes you ready to "rattle those sabers" against the lawfully elected government. Get ready for the insurrection. It's coming. And further, not only are these far right extremists prepared to use their guns against the government but possibly against selected groups who they fear. The radical talk from the gun guys includes ridding our country of any gun laws so the guys with the guns can make the rules. This article by Adam Winkler exposes the intent of politicians and gun rights extremists alike here:
I hear the clank of metal on metal getting closer, but that's not enough. The politicians have to hear it too. They have to hear it, and they have to believe it.
Come and support me at the Second Amendment March on April 19th on the Washington Monument grounds. Let's rattle some sabers and show the government we're still here.
Despite gussying up their arguments in the language of federalism and states’ rights, these laws are intended to eliminate gun control. Advocates have no intention of pushing state legislatures to require background checks. And the impact of these laws, if upheld, would be far broader than background checks. Federal bans on the possession of firearms by drug users and domestic batterers could also be undermined, as would basic gun dealer record-keeping laws used to solve gang crime.
Now a major player in the Tea Party, Pratt is also usually credited with starting the crazed patriot militia movement in the 1990s. Although the militias lost their luster after one of their supporters, Timothy McVeigh, bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, they’re seeing a comeback under the Obama Administration—despite the fact that the President has shown no interest in new, restrictive gun laws. Obama has actually loosened rules on guns in national parks and on Amtrak, disappointing activists in his party and earning the President an “F” rating from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In the world of the Tea Party, however, facts don’t matter. They seem to know for certain that Obama is coming to get their guns.From Winkler in the linked article: " The Tea Party candidates want Americans to believe they’re only interested in economics or federalism. Make no mistake: when it comes to guns, they’re talking about a revolution." Is that what this new talk about the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about? I believe common sense may not prevail if that is the intent of those on the far right claiming to be afraid of the Occupy movements. Questions need to be asked.
Given the way the law is usually written, these days, showing a gun as a way of discouraging unwanted attention is generally a bad idea. He'd have been better off, legally, had he waited for them to attempt to assault him, and then to shoot them in the attempt.And then this when I challenged him about what he meant by the comment:
And in most states, any use of a firearm is considered to be a threat of deadly force. So while shooting someone who is attacking you is legal, pointing a gun at someone in order to convince him not to attack you is not. The first is justified self defense, the second is aggravated assault.
I agree it makes no sense, but it is the state of the law, right now. Which is why carry instructors are pretty much unanimous on teaching that you should only draw when you intend to shoot.
So yes. He was legally in the wrong, in displaying his gun in response to a threat.
He'd have been in a better legal position if he'd waited until they'd decided to act, and then shot them."If he'd waited until they'd decided to act, and then shot them"... This statement should give us pause. Another comment, in regards to some of the above comments:
...Yes, I do live with the restrictions. Some, like background checks, I can agree with. Others I'm against: registration, bans on cosmetic features or normal-capacity magazines (and probably not for the reasons you think). But they are the law of the land, so I must abide by them until they can be changed. The lovely thing about our system of government is that the laws can be changed by the will of the People, within the limits of the Constitution.
And yet another: " He's said absolutely nothing of the sort that would even indicate that he would take this sort of action. The same use of force laws apply in a protest as they do in other circumstances."And believe it or not, I don't hate the government. They do have a valid purpose, and I agree with you that part of that purpose is to ensure public safety. However, judging by the budget and staffing cuts most police and fire departments are undergoing, public safety is a much lower priority than it should be. With fewer officers patrolling or "on-call," it's increasingly up to us as citizens to protect ourselves, our families, and our property; to look out for our neighbors and communities; and to uphold public safety (I'll expand on that if you like, but it's beyond the scope of this post).
So I leave it to my readers to interpret what these comments are all about. Can a person with a gun bate another to get them to "act" in order then to shoot them? Should we believe that cuts to police officers should be cause for more citizens to get guns to use in self defense because with fewer police officers, you won't be safe? Is it possible that cuts to police officers are purposeful in order for the guys with the guns to have an excuse to use them for self defense in the absence of law enforcement? I think the question should be asked. You can read my comments and questions on the blog site here.
So, back to the Occupy movement, check out this video exchange between Fox News' John Stossel and Bill O'Reilly, who also made the claim that the Occupy groups are druggies. Casting aspersions only hypes up the fear and paranoia about these people. From the linked article:
Here is some interesting data from Douglas Schoen, so-called Democratic pollster, about the Occupy group. Regarding the use of force against the group, here is what Schoen found.Let me set the record straight on drugs, because the right wing media's descriptions of Occupy Wall Street are both distortions and distractions, drawing attention away from the desperately real and pressing challenges that all Americans face today.As for "crackhead drug users and dealers," if Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and other commentators who have demonized OWS by characterizing it as a drug fest are genuinely troubled about drug use they should round up a posse of their compatriots and join the police in a raid on Wall Street firms. It's been well known for decades that the Wall Street folks are among the biggest users and abusers of illegal substances and prescription drugs. And there are solid facts and sources to confirm this.
As to the Occupy group themselves, Schoen found that 31%, when asked, said they would use force if necessary to achieve their goals. That is not reassuring to those who fear that the group could become violent. And why did he even ask the question in the first place? But what O'Reilly says at 2:13 of the video is that "31% of them would use force to take your stuff." Force should not be condoned by anyone during these volatile times in our country and/or at Tea Party rallies or Occupy Wall Street events. I would suggest, however, that the Occupy Wall Street folks would not actually resort to forceful means and they won't be coming to get your stuff in your homes any time soon. That is an interpretation of the data meant to ramp up the fear of the group as a whole and a disingenuous and false assertion by O'Reilly.There are differences along political lines over force being used to end the protests. Democrats say no force by a 70% to 9% margin with 21% not having an opinion. Independents are also firmly against force with 69% saying no versus 18% saying yes. Thirteen percent of Independents did not have an opinion.Republicans were opposed to using force, but by a narrow margin. Forty-two percent said not to use force but 37% thought force should be used to break up the demonstrations. Twenty-one percent of Republicans did not offer an opinion.
And then Rush Limbaugh and other in the right wing media, as usual, are screaming nutty and frightening statements. They may just encourage people to act on their fears. And that would be a tragedy.
And with all of this going on, with our political atmosphere as charged as it is now, here is what the gun rights extremists in California think will make a point. They say their point is that they can legally carry their unloaded long guns in public and they're mad that California just banned the open carry of unloaded handguns in public. So to prove some stupid and dangerous point, they have decided to carry their long guns. Cute. The general public just plain does not want guns carried around in public. This show of disrespect for public safety and their own community is wrong headed. Where is common sense? Guns and politics are not a good mix.
In the end, this article may describe how things are today as opposed to how they were yesterday or during the Revolutionary War where many in the gun rights and tea party groups still seem to reside:
Remember this going forward as we observe the Occupy movement and make inevitable comparisons to the recent Tea Party rallies. Time will tell how this will turn out. But I am hoping for common sense all the way around.Today’s uprisings don’t require guns – they require brains. They don’t call for violence – they call for the massive organization that exists in this age of instantaneous communication.This is no longer the 18th century. The British aren’t coming except to spend a nice holiday at the beach. If you want lower taxes, elect representatives who will vote your point of view. If you think government is too big, choose a president who will reduce the size.Get active and organized if you like– that’s the American way.But please, put down the guns already. Wal-Mart will manage to find some other way to make lots of money without having to sell you all that ammunition.Put down the guns because it’s time to face reality – violent revolution is just so yesterday.
(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)