It’s not just a few “nutcases”

It’s not just a few “nutcases” August 27, 2009

Several recent posts at Vox Nova have turned their critical attention to individuals who have shown up at President Obama’s appearances with guns. Countless comments have defended these people as being law abiding citizens, and that only a few of these individuals seem to be motivated by hatred or racism. While I would not want to paint every one of these people with the same brush, it seems really clear to me that this is not simply a matter of a few “nutcases” acting as individuals. This is clearly an organized movement.

A recent news item shows, too, that not only are hatred and racism involved, religiously motivated and justified hatred is involved. It seems that Chris Broughton, who was made famous for bringing an assault rifle to an Obama event in Arizona, attended a service at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe the day before the event during which Pastor Steven Anderson preached a sermon entitled “Why I Hate Barack Obama.” A few passages from that sermon:

I don’t obey Barack Obama. And I’d like Barack Obama to melt like a snail tonight…
[…]
… you’re going to tell me that I’m supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things — you’re gonna tell me I’m supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he’s in Phoenix, Arizona?

Nope. I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.

After the events at the Obama event, Anderson said in an interview, “No where in the sermon did I advocate vigilantism. It’s a spiritual battle…. I’d rather have him die of natural causes anyway, that way he’s not some martyr. I’m praying for him to die just so he gets what he deserves.”

It will be interesting to watch the continued debates around this well-organized and potentially violent hate movement, as well as the ways in which Catholics on the right decide whether or not to distance themselves from it or, in its vigilant defense, continue to make excuses for it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • markdefrancisis

    Michael,

    Thank you for this post. As I already put something up today, I passed over this terrible story, but hoped that someone else here would address it.

  • ben

    Steven Anderson seems kind of like a right wing version of Jeremiah Wright. This reminds me of the overplayed “God Damn America” sermon.

    Does it seem to you that Chris Broughton is a racist? Because he has compared his action of openly carrying a gun making people uncomfortable with the time when showing up places with black skin made people uncomfortable.

    Cleary he doesn’t see himself as racist.

  • markdefrancisis

    Michael did not charge Chris Boughton himself with racism. The issue in his case is the influence of religiously motivated and justified hatred, as he was an attendee of Steve Anderson’s church.

    And Pastor Wright never called for the physical death of someone.

  • phosphorious

    “And Pastor Wright never called for the physical death of someone.

    That’s absolutely crucial, isn’t it? Wright damned America: a political entity that has committed terrible crimes.

    Anderson’s anger, and much of the right’s, is directed at Obama personally. Just look at the slander: Obama wants to kill babies.

    That is simply not true, and no evidence is provided for it. It’s pure abusive ad hominem.

    And I really don’t know why the right gas such trouble seeing this, but carrying a gun anywhere outside of a hunting range sends a message. It is not a neutral act. Do you really think that Broughton carried a rifle over his arm not thinking it would be noticed and commented on?

  • phosphorious

    Response to a deleted post. (ed.)

    Hey! I saw that guy with the M-14. It was a black guy! Did you all miss that?

    Yes, we all. . . every single one of us. . . missed that.

  • Robert M

    Michael,
    Where is the link between ‘Open Carry.org’ and the Obama rally incidents? Chris Broughton? Steven Anderson? Where on their website is the ‘bring your gun to rallies’ stuff? Where is the ‘we want to kill Obama’ stuff? Where is the ‘we hate black people’ stuff? Where is the evidence for your characterization of it as a ‘hate movement’?
    You keep insisting on ‘connections’, ‘organization’, and various other alleged sinsiter machinations that exist so far only in your head and your verbiage.
    You can keep saying ‘clearly this is an organized movement’ but by even the mose permissive rules of evidence you haven’t even come close to demonstrating it.

    Mark D, Michael did call Broughten a ‘racist’ in previous threads (presumably before it was brought to his attention that Broughten was black), and has yet to retract it.

    It will no doubt be amusing to watch the VN elite go through the machinations necessary to say that sitting in the audience for Wright’s sermons means nothing but sitting in the audience for Anderson’s indelibly marks one as a fellow traveller.
    RM

  • Robert M

    Michael,
    Even MSNBC reporting on this doesn’t seem to sustain your ‘argument’:

    “John Pierce, co-founder of OpenCarry.org, a social-networking Web site for gun owners that catalogs weapons laws across the nation and chronicles efforts to loosen and remove restrictions against the public carrying of firearms, praised the low-key response of the White House and the Secret Service to the incidents. But he also worried a bit about the actions of those who wear guns near presidential venues….”I absolutely believe open carry should be legal anywhere that a citizen can legally be,” he explained. “Having said that, one of the things that I find a little bit less than perfect about the recent situation is not the fact that citizens were open-carrying, but rather that they were there as a form of open conduct to disagree with a political position that the president has taken, whether it’s about health care or the economy.” Doing so with a gun strapped on sends a “very mixed message,” said Pierce.”

    That’s completely at odds with how you are portraying them.
    RM

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Sorry, RM, but I am having technical difficulties with our domain and lost a few comments.

    I do not see evidence of a tight linked movement, but I do experience unease at the stuff coming out of Anderson’s mouth and his connection to Broughton.

  • Robert M

    Mark,
    That’s a fair statement. Just as I think it was equally fair to express a similar concern in the case of Wright and Obama.
    And while we’re on fairness I should be fair and modify my comment above regarding Michael to be more specific — he (and you) didn’t call Broughten a racist by name, but by implication (as in saying that all the people who brought guns to events were racist, among other things). I didn’t mean to make it sound like you directly called him one.
    RM

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Robert,

    I said racism “was in the mix”, implying that it is there in (possibly many) places.

    I know that “in the mix’ could also be taken to mean being in the whole compound, but that was not what I meant to communicate.

  • doug

    “Several recent posts at Vox Nova have turned their critical attention to individuals who have shown up at President Obama’s appearances with guns. Countless comments have defended these people as being law abiding citizens, and that only a few of these individuals seem to be motivated by hatred or racism. While I would not want to paint every one of these people with the same brush, it seems really clear to me that this is not simply a matter of a few “nutcases” acting as individuals. This is clearly an organized movement.”

    The Open Carry website was up long before Obama even ran for president. When I decided a few years ago to become a gun owner, they were one of the websites I read to educate myself on what is legal and acceptable, and what is not. As you can see here

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://opencarry.org

    They have been around at least since 2003.

    Furthermore, there is nothing promoting hatred or racism on their website. If you look at their image gallery, it features people of all races.

    http://www.opencarry.org/who.html

    It’s rather irresponsible to paint this as being violent and racist. If you want to see violent and racist, go to the Stormfront.org forums. They’re violent and racist.

    Responsible gun owners are not violent or racist. The open carry movement is about mainstreaming firearms so that reactions such as yours do not become the norm. While I think they can be rather silly, they are not what you have labeled them to be.

  • 1) No, I didn’t accuse Chris Broughton of being racist.

    2) No, I don’t think Steven Anderson has anything in common with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Use your brain.

    The defense of these people — by Catholics — continues. Watch it here, folks.

  • The Open Carry website was up long before Obama even ran for president.

    So what?

    If you look at their image gallery, it features people of all races.

    Ha! A touching vision of peace and happiness, that is!

    It’s rather irresponsible to paint this as being violent and racist.

    A group that wants to “normalize” guns in our society counts as “violent” to me.

    Responsible gun owners are not violent or racist.

    Many of them certainly are. I know some personally.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Why the need to carry- in-the-open?

    What is one really doing?

    What does this say about oneself and one’s fundamental views on interpersonal relations?

  • This Steven Anderson is supposed to be a Christian pastor? Incredible.

  • What does this say about oneself and one’s fundamental views on interpersonal relations?

    They don’t want to think about that. They just want to be able to blow the imaginary brown-skinned aggressor’s head off should he come too close to their stuff, whether that aggressor is some random “criminal” or the president of the “united” states.

  • Robert M

    Michael,
    One last try to argue logically with you:
    1) You accused people carrying guns to Obama rallies of being racist (not qualified by ‘some’ or even ‘many’ or ‘most’). Broughton carried a gun to an Obama event. I asked quite directly if you’d revise that statement given that Brougton is black, You declined to answer. Ergo.
    2) I didn’t say Anderson had anything in common with Wright. I said that the arguments used to impinge Broughton through association with Anderson are the same used to impinge Obama through association with Wright. Try using your brain and argue the point raised, not the one you want to see.

    When you’re ready to substantiate any of your ridiculous accusations with some actual evidence, I’ll read your posts. Until then you’ve successfully demonstrated only that the right has no monopoly on the Limbaugh/Coulter/Levin school of rhetoric, and like them, outside your own little echo chamber of like-minded sympathizers you’re a pretty poor advocate for your ’cause’.

    Mark D, I think Open Carry is a bad idea and I oppose it. However I do think the idea that they all ‘want to kill brown-skinned aggressors’ part is Michael’s unique and once again wholly unsubstantiated, entirely projected view.
    RM

  • Robert M – Given that the first statement within your first point (#1) is simply untrue (see, for example, one instance of my attempt to qualify my statements in this very post), I’ll assume that the rest of what you have to say is, contrary to what you think you are doing, NOT an attempt to “argue logically.”

  • Dayn Perry

    “I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.”

    What an absolutely blasphemous and revolting thing to say.

  • phosphorious

    I think the racism is a red herring, even if true.

    People are brinign assault weapons to townhall meetings that have nothing to do with second amendment rights. The topic is healthcare, and conservatives show up armed.

    And then they act surprised when this gesture has a chilling effect on discourse, when it is treated a s a threat.

    I would have thought that responsible gun ownership means, at a minimum, that guns are not displayed lightly or treated frivolously.

    A gun is not a fashion statement, it’s not a “symbol of dissent”. It is a weapon and should really be treated as such.

  • It seems negligent at best and deceptive at worst to mention “hatred and racism” in one sentence and in the next use Chris Broughton as an example of the same without explaining that he was Black.

    Asserting that this is an “well organized and potentially violent hate movement” is only adds to calls for an organized, i.e. violent, response from the State.

    Here’s how one Catholic on the right, me, distanced himself (slightly) from the events you describe — Don’t Take Your Guns to Town (Hall Meetings) .

  • Ronald King

    Why would a black man show up at an Obama event with a gun? Fear or hatred or both? The same holds true for a white man with a gun at an Obama event. The two can have the fear and hatred as the source of their actions but what is the source of that fear and/or hatred? Each would have to be honest with himself first. Each would have to see how fearful and powerless they really are and how desperate they really are to have significance in a world in which they are insignificant. Their attempts to be something with their display of weaponry demonstrate how inferior they feel.
    R.D.Laing stated that people are afraid of three things: death, other people and what is in their own minds. The symbol of the gun carrying protestors reveals their last desperate attempt to protect themselves from the truth of what they really fear and hate about themselves.

  • Ron,

    “The symbol of the gun carrying protestors reveals their last desperate attempt to protect themselves from the truth of what they really fear and hate about themselves.”

    I agree.

    Going further, my suspicion is that individuals such as Christopher have been unable to satisfy an “unmet need to Belong.”

    Spiritual alienation is the stuff of Hell and, for reasons people like Christopher don’t understand, it is also the stuff of their life. They seek by any means to mitigate their predicament.

    Fear flows out of an inability to love. Possessed by fear, individuals seek to dominate instead, even if only through symbolic means. But having to rely on a symbol of dominance — carrying a gun to a presidential event — they reveal how fragile is their hope for salvation. Salvation for them is predicated not on the radical strength of openness and vulnerability — and the redeeming power of Grace — but on what they themselves can Will.

    Christopher’s action constitutes a pathetic display of human void, impotence, and existential aloneness. While it is too sad for words, it constitutes a threat to society nonetheless.

  • Ronald King

    I absolutely agree Gerald. Power is one of the substitutes for the loss of love. To gain power the vulnerable self must remain hidden so as not to feel the pain of nothingness and isolation. Once that takes place the freedom of choice is lost. The choice is to love or not love. When that choice is lost there is only the reaction to a perceived threat based on the socialization of the instinctive response to what is perceived as for me or against me. Beliefs reinforce these instinctive responses and if faith is a part of this belief system then that faith becomes mutated into the “Church Militant”. Very dangerous indeed.

  • Robert M

    Western Conf, you are exactly right, the danger in the unsubtantiated but repeated assertion that this is a ‘well organized potentially violent hate movement’ is that it invites violent response from the State in return, which currently has the monopoly on ‘well organzied potential violent hate movements’. That’s why its so important to be hoesnt in assessing what’s there.
    Michael your reply was disingenuous at best, your one qualified comment on this thread was not about Broughten, open carryers or people who carried guns to Obama events, and it was in any event immediately countered by your subsequent categorical assertion that ‘they’ open carry because ‘they’ all want to kill brown-skinned aggressors.

    RK, maybe he just showed up with it because a) he likes guns and b) he’s not too smart? Let’s not over analyze here, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and no ‘an unmet need to Belong’ or ‘an existential display of human aloneness’. It may comfort you to think that, but I don’t want to commit the same error of over-analyzing why it’s so important to you that that be the case.
    RM

  • Ronald King

    RM, I make my statements based on 30 years of study and experience with women and men who are victims of violence and some of the perpetrators. My work has become my vocation through God’s intercession 5 years ago and I never asked for His intercession. I did not want to return to Catholicism which I had rejected 40 years earlier.
    A cigar is not just a cigar. It is the result of unseen dynamics that have formed it. These dynamics are the people who work for the owners of the company who choose to make money off of something that has been proven to cause harm to some who are addicted to their money making scheme. Those who work for them have probably been denied other avenues of making a living and may not even know the value they have as a creation of God. Consequently they may be seen as objects to be used for another’s selfish gain.
    Now, if you want to know about interpersonal neurobiology and the effects of an insecure or unsafe attachment of the child to her or his caretaker on the actual physical development ot the brain I will respond.
    We are called to love one another and we must separate love from what is not love in order to have a clearer path to travel. This can only come through Grace.

  • wj

    I have a question that is tangentially related to this topic. Does anyone know of any books addressing the issue of “right” populism in the US as opposed to “left” populism, why the former seems so much more prevalent–i.e. a populism that is cultural and ethnic rather than class-based?

    By the way, it’s incredibly disingenuous for those on this thread (Robert M) to try to minimize the action of bringing a loaded gun to a public rally as evidence merely of the fact that (1) the person likes guns and (2) is not very smart. Surely both these points are correct, but hardly substantive enough to exhaust an analysis of the situation.

    For months now, talking heads on the right like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have been insinuating that Obama is a legitimate *enemy* to the country, that he is to be *resisted*, that he is *dangerous*, etc. And Beck especially has come very close to encouraging exactly the kind of behavior we now see at these town halls. “We surround them, they don’t surround us,” etc., etc., etc.

    So it seems doubly disingenuous to pretend that this sort of action is not (1) caught up in a wider, highly orchestrated response of the Crazy Right (which includes Fox, National Review) to Obama and that (2) this wider response does demand some kind of substantive analysis and critique: what motivates it? why do people believe it? what are its origins and consequences? etc.

  • Gerald A. Naus

    “If you look at their image gallery, it features people of all races.”

    “Ha! A touching vision of peace and happiness, that is!

    Heh!

    “Don’t take your guns to town”

    Johnny Cash reference bonus 🙂

    If you go to a town hall meeting with a gun, you might be a redneck.

    Only.in.America. Seriously.

    Obviously, this is meant to be threatening. They’re only sad they couldn’t bring a noose.

    The black guy as excuse is funny. Did he wear a “T” shirt like Token on South Park ? (tangentially – know the KKK bit by Dave Chappelle ?)

    Of course, it has to be said, one can have a career on Fox News by being

    a) a black Republican
    b) a third-tier actor espousing conservative views
    c) a black, third-tier actor espousing conservative views (double bonus)
    d) a beauty queen who’s found Jesus

    (and of course by being an ignorant blowhard (the triumvirate/trio infernale of O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck)

  • ben

    Michael,

    Are you saying that Broughton may not be racist himself, but is a member of a racist movement?

    Because it seems that you have clearly stated that his showing up with a gun at the event indicates his participation in an organized movement, and you have clearly stated that you believe this movement to be racist.

    Personally, I don’t think there is any movement here. I think that what we have are several isolated instances of people exercising poor judgement.

    It also seems that Steven Anderson has given scandal to the church.

  • phosphorious

    Is Broughton the only person who has shown up at a townhall meeting armed? Or even the only one who has shown up armed with a rifle?

    Broughton is a symptom of a larger of a larger atomosphere of irrational fear and hatred.

    When was the last time that a large number of Americans felt the need to arm themselves against the president?

  • phosphorious

    Also, I have to mention: I simply don’t trust conservative judgement on this, or indeed any issue. When “lefties” criticized Bush for Abu Ghraib, and the GWOT, they were roundly dismissed as over-reacting by the right. They must be motivated, it was smugly asserted, by Bush-hatred and anti-Americnaism. They should just settle down and stop being so emotional.

    Well, just about everything said by the left turned out to be true: things were exactly what they looked like.

    Over the last eight years, conservatives at every level, from highly paid pundits to the holders of national office to the lowest anonymous troll on the internet, have proven that they are simply unable to take a close look at their own party and describe what is going on right under their noses.

    Broughton is just a harmless dope, and the soldiers at Abu Ghraib were just blowing off steam. The first assertion is as plausible as the second.

  • Robert M

    wj,
    You are correct, but you misunderstand, perhaps I was unclear. I am not saying definitively that he’s just a not-smart gun nut — I’m saying that’s just as valid a possible explanation, and perhaps more so, than the ‘conspiracy theories’ advanced by Michael and his ilk (who again has yet to provide any evidence for most of his claims).
    For the record I think your response is more appropriate — it is worth looking at and it is worth asking some questions. What I object to is people leaping to pre-established conclusions to confirm their own worldviews. Michael is not interested in asking questions to figure out what’s really the case — he’s more interested in pounding this square peg into his pre-arranged round hole.

    RK I am glad you have such experience and am truly glad you have such conviction in God’s having called you back (I mean that in the utmost sincerity, I think you most blessed in that). That said I don’t think it’s especially proof of anything. I don’t know if your treatment of the ‘cigar’ metaphor as a vehicle for indicting the tobacco industry is intentional misdirection or simple misunderstanding. The point I was making with it (in the more conventional use of the phrase, as a reference to the excesses of Freudianism) was simply that a cigar is not always a substitute for sexual issues, sometimes it’s just a cigar. Likewise a gun. The projections of the observer must be taken into account in assessing their evaluation of something. Obviously this is subjective as well — to you it’s a symbol of violence, emptyness etc and so we can conclude that were you to carry one, that would be what you’re expressing. But I tend to think it is quite possible that other peopl may have other motives or motivations for doing the same things. And I am extremely wary of ‘experts’ who provide people with motives ‘even though they don’t know it themselves’.
    RM

  • Robert M

    phosph,

    For the record I was disgusted with Abu Graib and so were the vast majority of normal ‘conservatives’ I know, none of whom attempted to excuse it or the government’s responsibility. But keep on using that broad old brush if it makes you feel better and makes it easier for you to figure out who the ‘bad guys’ are.
    RM

  • phosphorious

    Conservatives were not disgusted enough to not vote for Bush. The first photos for Abu Ghraib appeared in february of 2004. . . nine months before the election. Conservatives. . . including a majority of catholics, preferred to look the other way.

    And I’m not using a broad brush to paint conservatives as bad guys.

    I am saying that conservatives are simply unwilling to police their own. They will extend the benefit of every doubt, no matter how thin, to all conservatives, no matter how loony.

  • Robert M

    ‘Conservatives were not disgusted enough &tc’…? Not necessarily true. I was, for example. I know others who were too. And you know you can’t just win with ‘conservatives’ (or ‘liberals’) — it’s the ‘moderates’ too — why not excoriate them? It’s more complex than that. The political problems in this country are not problems of the right or the left — they’re systemic problems that occur across the board.

    Why is it so many of you can’t see how you sound just like the ‘right’? ‘Conservatives do this…’ ‘gun nuts want this…’. How is that any different than ‘liberals want this…’ ‘Obama and his minions want this…’ spouted by the talk radio people? It’s not.
    All I’m saying is you need to qualify these categorical statements just as much as the right does. I know it seems a small thing but it’s not — it’s absolutely essential if there’s ever going to be any productive cooperative dialogue.
    RM

  • digbydolben

    I have to say that, in this case, at least, I agree with Robert M: “conservative” is not a bad word at all, and neither is “liberal.”

    The problem with American politics, however, is that “conservatives” there are not “conservative” at all: they are 19th century positivists whose religious sensibilities are profoundly coloured by Protestant heresy.

  • phosphorious

    Why is it so many of you can’t see how you sound just like the ‘right’? ‘Conservatives do this…’ ‘gun nuts want this…’. How is that any different than ‘liberals want this…’ ‘Obama and his minions want this…’ spouted by the talk radio people? It’s not.

    Because, and I can’t emphasize this enough, liberal criticism about what a popular conservative administration was up to were largely borne out, all while conservatives were dismissing them as products of “Bush Derangement Syndrome”.

    Bush enjoyed high levels of support from conservatives no matter what he did: torture, unjust war, lyign about WMD, running up huge deficits, increasing the size of the government.

    I simply don’t trust a conservative judgement when it comes to criticizing their own party. they simply don’t.

    “Libs” do the same, you say? they don’t see the bad things that their politicians do?

    Well, when Obama proves to actually be a baby-killing communist who was born in another country and accomplishes the destruction of America, i will apologize to all the conservatives I may have offended.

  • ben

    phosphorious,

    Those 45 million babies killed in the womb since 1973 aren’t really dead then?

  • phosphorious

    They’re dead.

    But Obama didn’t kill them.

    Those inmates at Abu Ghraib?

    Bush actually ordered them to be tortured. And he carried the catholic vote.

  • Robert M

    ‘”Libs” do the same you say?’
    Uh, no, I didn’t say.
    Though if pressed I might say something along the lines of ‘like some conservatives, some liberals also…’
    But that wasn’t my point.
    RM

  • phosphorious

    And ben,

    THIS is exactly why I don’t trust conservative judgement: as long as you are not pro-abortion, it doesn’t matter what else you do or say or believe, conservatives will defend you.

  • phosphorious

    RM,

    But that wasn’t my point.

    My point was not that liberals are intrinsically moral or that conservatives are intrinsically bad. My point was that conservatives have proven to my satisfaction that their judgement is simply no good.

    They are not worried about armed people showing up at health care debates? Well I’ve seen the other things that don’t worry them.

    I shall continue to worry.

  • Robert M

    But many of them are worried about it — even the co-founder of ‘opencarry.org’ expressed concern about it!!!
    What most of them are not worried about is that the presence of someone with a gun at a rally indicates the certainty of a vast, coordinated, orchestrated violent hate movement.
    You may of course continue to worry about whatever you wish to. We all have our pet fears. But here’s an idea for combatting worry — instead of surrounding yourself with people who are as scared as you, trying talking to people who aren’t, and see why they are not afraid of the things that frighten you. I’ve found it a useful intellectual exercise.
    RM

  • phosphorious

    But many of them are worried about it — even the co-founder of ‘opencarry.org’ expressed concern about it!!!

    Yes, but from what I’ve gathered what they are worried about is that the government will use these incidents as an excuse to crack down on god-fearing Americans. . . which in a roundabout way, simply feeds into the irrational fear of the armed protestors: Obama is poised to take away all your freedom and is just waiting for an excuse!!

    In their raving delusions and in their sober reflection, conservatives are always the victims.

  • Rocco

    Given his penchant for incendiary (in certain cases quite offensive) hyperbole and embrace of a, er, *unique* personal philosophy I take a lot of what is written by Mr. Iafrate with a heaping tablespoon of salt. Also, being slightly naive about everything else but what Mr. Iafrate writes I really didn’t think anybody would have been crazy enough to make a sermon like that and escape with out being carted off in a paddy wagon. Instead, after an easy google search I found out that not only is it real and that this pastor is not contrite and ashamed to have said it, but the “Faithful Word Baptist Church” themselves went ahead and made it a podcast on their own website to share that filth with the whole world.
    http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/081609p.mp3

    Amazing. My apologies for my prejudice and compliments to the author for sharing.

  • phosphorious

    More united than people realize.

    Exactly. There doesn’t have to be some central “conspiracy headquarters” for this to be worrisome.

    Let me put tit this way: if conservatives believe even some of the things that are said about Obama. . .that he’s a racist, a baby-killer, a socialist tyrant, that he’s going to take away your guns, and institute death panels, and is actively trying to destroy the country, and to top it all off, he;s not really the president, since he wasn’t born here. . .

    Why wouldn’t some conservative try to assassinate him?

    There is an atmosphere of hysteria directed at Obama, and I really can’t believe that conservatives are so willing to laugh off armed protesters at healthcare debates.

  • Is Broughton the only person who has shown up at a townhall meeting armed? Or even the only one who has shown up armed with a rifle?

    Broughton is a symptom of a larger of a larger atomosphere of irrational fear and hatred.

    Yep.

    For the record I was disgusted with Abu Graib and so were the vast majority of normal ‘conservatives’ I know, none of whom attempted to excuse it or the government’s responsibility.

    The “vast majority”? Where the hell is this gigantic movement of anti-torture “normal” “conservatives”?

    ‘conspiracy theories’ advanced by Michael and his ilk

    Listen to his sermon. This is no “conspiracy theory.” It’s real.

  • Robert M

    […]

    Moving on.

  • Moving on.

    Let’s hope.

  • phosphorious

    I wish you hadn’t deleted Robert M’s post. He admitted that there was something to be worried about.

    That will never happen again!

  • Rocco

    “Why wouldn’t some conservatives try to assassinate him?”

    To play off earlier quotes from Mr. Rocha, let’s not pin the crazy tail on the elephant here with out realizing that craziness is a function of arithmetic not partisanship. There are 300million+ people in this country, that means if one percent are stark raving mad, that equals three million loonies that are ready and quite capable of doing something frightfully terrible. They are certainly in no higher proportion conservative and any claims otherwise are just silly and ad hominem.

    Obama’s racial exposure to these nuts only illuminates a sad and somewhat well known fact, that the President of the United States is under elevated peril at all times. They receive death threats daily by mail by the hundreds(and technological progress has made this more prolific even in recent administrations thanks to the internet). Obama is no more or less a target of violent wing nuts than Bush, Bush I, or as Hinkley proved – Reagan.

  • Robert M

    [Calm down. – M.I.]

  • Perhaps if you ask nicely, he will say something to that effect again but leave out the rest of the nonsense.

  • Robert M

    I am quite calm Michael. Please don’t delete and then misrepresent as if I’ve somehow lost my temper. You get the last say, it’s your thread, I realize that. I’m just disappointed in you.
    RM

  • Ronald King

    RM, I just returned from work. The context within which the gun is being openly displayed is the reality in which I made my analysis. Projection is a primitive defense mechanism that attributes to another what one does not accept within self.
    An ‘expert’ has at least put in the time, energy and risk to study and educate herself or himself about the particular field that gives oneself a passion and meaning in life.
    Every crisis we face on this planet is a crisis within the context of human relationships. What we exhibit in our communication with others reveals the level to which we either love or do not love and whether we have been loved or not loved.
    To dismiss my assessment as a projection indicates that you do not want to explore this any further with me. So be it.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    It has been widely reported that the death threats on Obama are 400% higher now than those on Bush 43 during his presidency. The internet et al. are insufficient to explain this rise.

  • phosphorious

    And again, nothing conservatives ever do EVER worries other conservatives.

    Until it’s too late.

  • Robert M

    RK, to take your points in order: yes; yes; yes among other things; your choice, I’m happy to explore it further but I take it you’re not. I think we’re on different wavelengths and unless we’re both open to the possibility of being mistaken (I am, but I do have an evidentiary standard that has yet to be met on this thread) it’s unlikely to be productive.

    Mark D, I do not doubt you, but I had not heard that figure nor seen it ‘widely reported’. I’d be interested to see that figure substantiated. At last, the possibility of actual facts to back up the contention!

    Phos you are quite simply wrong and stereotyping again. If you were not aware of all the conservative handwringing/argument/condemnation over Bush for the last 6 years, or the current problems within the conservative ‘movement’, that’s either an oversight or a result of not reading enough diverse information sources. The only other alternative is willful blindness, but I hestitate to attribute that to you.
    RM

  • Ronald King

    RM, What evidence are you looking for as far as my statements are concerned? What is your assessment of the man exhibiting his gun at an Obama event? My assessment is a conservative assessment that would rather err on the side of safety. It is based on the history of the gun in terms of its use for control through the threat of death and the instrument of death in political and social encounters. That is the reality of its history.
    So, what is your perception of this man carrying his gun to this event? What does he benefit by carrying his gun to this event? What is this man if he does not carry his gun and exhibit it to the public?
    What does his behavior say to you?

  • phosphorious

    Phos you are quite simply wrong and stereotyping again. If you were not aware of all the conservative handwringing/argument/condemnation over Bush for the last 6 years, or the current problems within the conservative ‘movement’, that’s either an oversight or a result of not reading enough diverse information sources. The only other alternative is willful blindness, but I hestitate to attribute that to you.

    This is disingenuous. Of course there were some conservatives that disapproved of Bush over the last six years, but mostly they fell in line.

    You, perhaps, stayed home in 2004, but a record number of conservatives came out to vote: Bush received more votes than Ronald Reagan did, and was the first US president in something like fifty years to get a majority of eligible voters. There was wild enthusiasm for Bush among conservatives. Especially among catholics, a majority of whom supported his torture policies, according to recent polls.

    My problem with conservatism is systemic. OF COURSE there are moderate, sane conservatives who rejected and criticized the excesses of the republican party. But they are not in control. The crazies run the show. As we saw with Abu Ghraib: the party is run by the extremists, and the sane ones spend most of their time defending the crazies.

    You;re argument is something like this: “I’m not crazy, and so I wouldn’t belong to a crazy party. These gun toters belong to my party, ergo, they are not really crazy, just a bit eccentric.”

    I suggest you take a look at what your party has actually done over the last eight years, and decide for yourself if it represents your moral values.

  • The open carry of holstered handguns is legal in most states without any permit, and the practice is growing and gaining recognition and acceptance across the United States as both a valuable constitutional right, a great compliment to concealed carry, and an important substitute method of carry where concealed is prohibited by state law.

    The open carry movement has also been very successful in promoting gun rights generally by helping to normalize gun ownership by way of getting gun carry out of the closet.

    Unfortunately some folks are borrowing a page from our playbook and tweaking it a bit too much by carrying long guns purely as a publicity stunt to oppose or support non-gun rights causes in overly dramatic ways. This sort of tactic at best sends a garbled and confusing message about any cause, and certainly does not help any gun rights agenda.

    Learn more at OpenCarry.org, a national online gun rights community with over 21,000 members seeking to discuss, support, and normalize the peaceful open carry of holstered handguns for self-defense purposes.

  • Gun ownership should not be “normalized.” That is a fundamental disagreement that we have with your movement, Mike. I know of no place where the church has encouraged the “normalization of gun ownership” as a solution to violence in the united states. Any conscientious Catholic simply will think differently on this issue.

  • phosphorious

    This sort of tactic at best sends a garbled and confusing message about any cause, and certainly does not help any gun rights agenda.

    And what, pray tell, does it do at worst? This is what conservatives seem unwilling to address.

    If the topic of town hall meetings were gun control, the display of firearms would be an appropriate form of civil protest.

    The topic is health care, and conservatives who think that the president is preparing to graduate from baby-killing to grandparent killing are showing up armed.

    That sends a completely different message.

  • If the topic of town hall meetings were gun control, the display of firearms would be an appropriate form of civil protest.

    The topic is health care, and conservatives who think that the president is preparing to graduate from baby-killing to grandparent killing are showing up armed.

    Yep.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    “In an interview with ABC 15 outside the storefront Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Broughton said of Anderson’s controversial August 16 “Why I Hate Barack Obama” sermon: “I concur, I think we’d be better off if God would send [Obama] where he’s going now instead of later. [Obama] is destroying our country.”

    And when a reporter followed up with, “you’re not advocating violence against the president?” Broughton, who has previously said his weapons are for defense, says “I’m not going to answer that question directly.”

    “I don’t care how God does it, I’m not going into further detail than that,” Broughton says. “It would be better now than later.”

    In fact, Broughton added, he moved to the Tempe area to attend Anderson’s storefront church, which is an “old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, separated Baptist church.”

    Roughly 24 hours after attending Anderson’s anti-Obama sermon, Broughton made national headlines when he showed up heavily armed to an Obama event in Phoenix.”