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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I admit, I think this may be unwise.

There's just something about this that makes me nervous. See if you can figure it out:

Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to "muster outside D.C." on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is deliberately being held just a few miles from the Capitol and the White House.

Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama's insistence on and the Democratic Congress's capitulation to a "totalitarian socialism" that tramples individual rights.

A member of several heretofore little-known groups, including Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Oath Keepers -- former and active military and law enforcement officials who have vowed to resist laws they deem unconstitutional -- Almond, 31, considers packing heat on the doorstep of the federal government within the mainstream of political speech.

If you answered, "The seemingly random decision to carry and display firearms at a political rally" then you're absolutely right! But wait, it gets better!

The brandishing of weapons is "not just an important symbol" but "a reminder of who we are," said Almond. "The founders knew that it is the tendency of government to expand itself and embrace its own power, and they knew the citizenry had to be reminded of that."

Countered Horwitz: "Our founders thought they got rid of political violence with the Constitution. That was its point. The basic idea of America is one person, one vote, equality."

Vanderboegh and Horwitz both said: "We have a fundamental difference in worldview."

April 19 is the anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the government's final confrontation in 1993 with the Branch Davidian cult members in Waco, Tex. But Almond said he chose the date to honor the anniversary of the 1775 battles at Lexington and Concord that began the Revolutionary War, "and that is the only reason."

I'm inclined to assume that the date selected by Almond is just an unfortunate coincidence and, likewise, that the sequence of quotations is somewhat unfair (i.e. because it makes it sound like supporters of the rally think political violence is a-ok). That said, I have a very difficult time imagining what the point of assembling a whole bunch of people in opposition to the current administration that close to the capitol with firearms is if not to be threatening towards the government. And I'm fairly sure that the guys assembling would likely agree if the demonstration were by a bunch of anarchists or communists or some other group with which they disagree.*

And even if we're of the opinion that this form of political speech is just fine, there's a pragmatic issue: leaving aside the risk of accidental discharges or the risk of people getting fired up by rhetoric and then deciding to riot, there's the basic issue that large groups of people occasionally have disagreements. These disagreements sometimes spawn arguments. And arguments are more likely to turn deadly when there are lots and lots of firearms around. So, basically, this has the potential to turn into a PR nightmare if nothing else.

I support the individual right to own firearms, and I'm not against concealed weapons permits and the like. But somehow it just seems like a good idea when petitioning your own democratically-elected government for the redress of grievances, that you not wave guns in their faces while you do it.**

* Before you ask, I don't particularly love anarchists or communists and would be equally annoyed if they pulled a stunt like this.

** For anyone who wants to draw a parallel to the American Revolution- go right ahead, but keep in mind that these guys actually have representatives in Congress. Parliament and the colonies were a somewhat different matter.

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Blogger Marf said...

I'm much more inclined to draw a parallel with the Civil War.

I haven't read up too much on this Tea Party thing yet, but I wounder if it was like this in the years leading up to the Civil War...

I really wish Palin would have just crawled back under her rock in Wasilla and disappeared from the political scene. I'm ashamed to be from the same state as her.

I'm even more ashamed that I actually voted for her to be the Alaska Governor. She was an unknown on the ballot and I thought it'd be cool to have a woman governor. I didn't know... I DIDN'T KNOW!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger scripto said...

"The basic idea of America is one person, one vote, equality."

They sure seem to have trouble accepting the clear results of the last election. Revolt of the comfortable. They're bullshit. The Panthers would have had them for lunch. (of course the cops ended up eating the Panthers lunch - firepower is firepower)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:58:00 AM  

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