Saturday, August 29, 2009
I was reading a Paul Krugman blog about an entirely different subject (well, sort of) than what is on my mind today...but it had a comment that pretty well sums things up for me. A Len Kemisky wrote:
”What confuses me is that if ignorance is bliss, why are these people so angry? “
The subject that won’t leave my mind is the folks showing up with guns at these town hall meetings. Especially the one in Arizona. I understand several showed up with guns but Chris Broughton -- along his pastor Steven Anderson -- has become the poster child of the craze due to this story at Talking Points Memo.
I happened to see Mr. Broughton on CNN -- live -- as the meeting was unfolding last Monday. I kept waiting for the story to develop. It seemed as if I was waiting in vain. Who are these people ? Have we gone so far over the edge that we don’t even consider this bizarre -- much less unacceptable ?
Let’s get a few things straight. I’m not a gun nut. I’m not an anti-gun nut. I’ve been around guns my entire life. I’ve got four...make that five (six if you count the pellet gun)...in my house right now. I just don’t shoot much and I haven’t been hunting in years.
As far as Mr. Broughton and his religion, I grew up Baptist so I feel I have a license to talk about them. Just like people that own guns, in the South, you can’t sling a dead cat without hitting a Baptist. I know they cover the entire spectrum from almost-liberal to the right-wing-looney bin. If you read that TPM story and are shocked about the mixing of politics with religion, you haven’t been to many churches in the South. Or Arizona. Or Colorado Springs, CO. That is where many people get most of their politics. That is what the Republicans refer to as “the base”.
Now, lets get down to it. If you show up at a town hall meeting in America with a loaded gun on display, you’re a nut. I know you might not think you’re a nut -- but trust me -- you are. I’ve seen nuts. I’ve seen nuts with guns. Trust me, you’re a nut. And not the good kind either.
Let me show you. The folks at SASS are (mostly I suspect) the good kind of nuts. They like to play with guns and they like to play dress up. It’s all in good fun. But the fun stops and the serious starts when it comes to gun safety. This is a direct quote from their “Safety Practices”. (a .pdf file)
”Long guns shall have their actions open with chambers and magazines empty and muzzles pointed in a safe direction when transported at a match.“
It’s basic safety that any 14-year-old country boy knows. You don’t carry loaded long guns (i.e. a gun with a long barrel, not a handgun) in a crowd. It’s simply good manners to make it obvious that one isn’t loaded. Mr. Broughton had a magazine in his rifle, leaving me to guess about whether his rifle was loaded or unloaded. The magazine in his left pocket is loaded. No guess work needed. You can see it.
You can come up with two conclusions from all that. Either Chris Broughton is ignorant of gun safety or he wants you to guess whether or not he’s crazy. Crazy or blissfully ignorant is about equally dangerous when it comes to guns. In that he (and his preacher) doesn’t seem happy, I’m going to go with crazy.
Here, let’s check his pastor’s blog.
Brother Chris carries an AR to Obama event "because he can"
”Good job, Chris!”
Yep. I’m going with crazy. If you watch the video at the link immediately above, you’ll find out that the whole thing was a publicity stunt. When it hits you that these are reasonably intelligent people, capable of rational thought and with planning skills...I’ll let you decide if that makes them any less crazy or not. It certainly doesn’t make them any less scary.
Let’s sum it up. Crazy preacher man wasn’t able to convince enough people to vote against Obama so he preaches to crazy gun man (and people like him) that he wishes Obama would die and go to Hell. Crazy gun man shows up outside a health-care forum to exercise his Second Amendment right to bear arms and be crazy. Except crazy gun man isn’t insane, he’s in cahoots with crazy radio man trying to generate publicity and get more crazy radio listeners.
Armed and intolerant fundamentalists trying to intimidate the leaders and citizens of the country. Hmmm....why does that sound so familiar ?
I don’t know about y’all but if I saw a guy like this at a rally -- especially one at which the President is attending -- I wouldn’t come within fifty feet of him. No, I’m not sacred that crazy is contagious. I’m not particularly scared of the fact that he’s packing. (We see a lot of that down here in the South.) I just don’t want to block the site line of these guys.
You thought about that didn’t you ? I guess for the folks standing around this guy in Arizona, ignorance really was bliss.
“If you show up at a town hall meeting in America with a loaded gun on display, you’re a nut.”
Maybe I should have gone with "stupid".
August 29, 2009