Bob Owens is no “cool and clear-thinking moderate.”

Last week Rick Perlstein published a nice little rundown of the “far-right’s counter-resistance” in the Washington Spectator.  He opens:

Afriend writes, “For basically the past six months or so I’ve been trying to tell my lefty friends in so many words, ‘Hey, there are a bunch of people on the Internet who are waiting for someone to tell them it’s okay to start shooting at you.’”

Perlstein wrote Nixonland, a well-researched and argued case that Richard Nixon’s manipulation of fear and racism in his pursuit of the Presidency helped set the conditions for today’s partisan political climate.  His new book, The Invisible Bridge looks good as well.  “Guns, Extremism, and Threats of Escalation” is a great article and you should go and read the whole thing.  Perlstein by all accounts understands the right wing of American politics and writes well about it.

But I have to challenge him on this:

The march turned into a “small riot,” as gun-rights blogger Bob Owens, one of the most widely read on the web, and a cool and clear-thinking moderate, described it after reviewing the available documentation. (emphasis mine).

Bob Owens, an editor at Bearing Arms, aka “Confederate Yankee,” is no “cool and clear-thinking moderate.” I’ve read his work since I got into a bit of dialogue with him after the Virginia Tech tragedy. in 2007. He’s a racist gun nut who writes barely coherent screeds against Black Lives Matter and suggests that “propagandists for elitists” (Media Matters for America) need a “serious review of our capacity for violence.” He has advocated for the formation of private militias and advised them on proper armament.

In 2010 he argued that since “Our would-be ruling class has abandoned the principles that founded this nation” it’s time to “revolt and destroy the ruling class and reform our government based upon first principles.

He more recently expressed concern that the “radical left” has become “much more insistent in their desire to use force to get their way and impose their ideas on the American people.”  After opening with a suggestion that the “survivors of the Democrat rebellion will meet their end” on a gallows, he uses a quote from one professor to suggest that Democrats want to “forcibly disarm” gun owners and then straight-up lies about Obama’s proposed gun control policies.  Not finished ranting, he then seems to advocate the resistance by police officers and soldiers to lawfully-passed gun control legislation – presumably because no regulation of his ability to arm himself can be legitimate.

This is a man who believes black people are solely responsible for the social problems afflicting their communities – slavery, Jim Crow, and housing and job discrimination have left no lasting legacy.  He thinks every liberal agrees with the most radical leftist he can find but believes right-wing extremists are just normal Americans worried about losing their liberty to an oppressive government.  And he advocates violent overthrow of the US Government whenever it embraces liberal principles that do not match his view of Constitutional legal legitimacy.

Don’t let his opinion that use of deadly force is more restricted in California than it is in Texas fool you. Bob Owens is an extremist, and he offered that advice not to discourage violence but to help his fellow travelers avoid crossing a line..  He is no “cool, clear-thinking moderate,,” and I bet he hides his old Confederate Yankee archives for a reason..

 

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Guns, the Second Amendment, and Politics in Virginia

It appears that guns and gun control could become a hot issue in next year’s state level elections here in Virginia.  Attorney General Mark Herring started the hue and cry when he ended concealed carry permit reciprocity with 25 states on the grounds that they don’t meet Virginia standards.  Gun rights activists objected one the grounds that it would hurt tourism and that no one can point out a case where someone from a state with lower standards had committed a crime in Virginia.  One blogger called it “slavery.”  They complained that Herring just wanted to go around the General Assembly to achieve a liberal result using an executive action.

This of course ignores the plain fact that Herring did nothing unilaterally. Virginia code – in a section passed by a Republican-controlled General Assembly – requires periodic State Police audits of concealed carry laws in other states. It then mandates an end to reciprocity with those states whose laws don’t include prohibitions Virginia’s law bans, or don’t have a system for rapid verification that an applicant should not be kept from carrying a concealed weapon.  Whether or not he liked the result, Herring had to take this action once the State Police reported that the laws in those 25 states don’t pass muster. Continue reading

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Sunday Morning Coffee, Snowed In Edition

National Review stood across Donald Trump’s path to the Republican nomination shouting stop! this week with a series of essays by a who’s-who of the right-wing movement. Their argument amounts to “Trump is no Conservative” and it’s pretty rich coming as it does from the folks who basically created this monster.  Do yourself a favor and click that second link – Jeb Lund has a funny take and writes well in the Matt Taibbi mold.

One way the conservative movement has paved the way for a demagogue like Trump: consolidation of power through ignorance.  People are more likely to believe we can actually build a wall along the Mexican border when they’ve been trained to reject critical thinking in favor of conspiracy theory while distrusting our most basic institutions.  You can find a lot of good writing at Hullaballoo these days, by the way.

Democrats apparently also go after each other with “bile and bullshit.”   Corey Robin documents much of the atrocity of Clinton attacks on Bernie Sanders at Crooked Timber.  Note number 10, where Robin points out that the term “Socialist” may not carry the negative weight some people think.  I highly recommend Robin’s book, The Reactionary Mind, by the way.

Speaking of books, a couple I’d like to read once I’ve finished Robert Reich’s book Saving Capitalism.  Kevin Kruse’s book connecting corporate attacks on the New Deal with the rise of religiosity in America, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, looks like an important read if this review accurately captures it.  And Jane Mayer writes to broaden our understanding of how the wealthy use their resources to influence public policy in her new book, Dark Money.  Alan Ehrenhalt reviews it for The New York Times here.

Finally this morning another armed moron has an accident with his firearm.  This one is especially rich – he felt like he needed a gun for self-protection in church.  Maybe God is trying to tell him something.  And maybe I need to start a new series: Moron Labe.

 

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Gun Control Means…Hitting the Target?

For a good example of why it makes no sense to let just any yahoo walk the streets with loaded weapons, see this article at Talking Points Memo.

That’s right.  Some “law abiding  citizen” carrying a firearm around for self protection accidentally shot someone because he couldn’t properly handle the weapon.  Then he leaves the scene and drops the thing again in a restaurant.  It fortunately didn’t discharge the second time fumble fingers lost control.  But it does suggest that armed citizens walking around town are more likely to hurt others or someone else that use it for self-protection.

This is also a good example of why we should require gun owners to have liability insurance, by the way.  I hope the victim here sues this dumbass for every thing he owns.

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From Dog-Whistle to Open Racist Politics to…Stand Your Ground?

A Donald Trump supporter dragged a protester out of a rally in Miami today.  A large man in a red polo knocked Ariel Rojas, a senior at Florida International University and a pro-immigration activist, to the ground and dragged by force out of the room before walking back into the crowd with his arms raised.  Onlookers shouted “USA! USA!” rather than stopping the violence.

Many Trump supporters come from the same constituency that responded to Republican dog-whistle politics and the Southern Strategy (welfare queens, state’s rights). They like him because he says out loud what they believe – that immigrants come here to commit crimes while abusing the US social safety net.  Other conservative candidates dog-whistle this message with rhetoric about makers and takers and sanctuary cities.  Trump backers want it said more openly and clearly.

It’s not just immigrants and foreigners.  At a Mobile, Alabama rally supporters yelled “White Power” during Trump’s speech.   This of course does not make Trump himself a racist, though his campaign manager said of the incident “I know there were 30-plus thousand people in that stadium. They were very receptive to the message of ‘making America great again’ because they want to be proud to be Americans again.”  He also praised the “passion” of two men in Boston who responded to his message by beating and urinating on a homeless Hispanic man.  And in 1991 he said “Laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Now Trump’s goons – really can’t think of another word – have begun to violently suppress speech in opposition to their views.

I wonder how this would have turned out had Mr. Rojas been armed.  Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law he might have defended himself by shooting the man in the red polo without having to worry about prosecution.  Except for one thing: Mr. Rojas is not white, and his assailant was not black.

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An Armed Society is a Polite Society – Except When It’s Not

Concern that other movie goers might be armed did not keep Chad Olsoun from annoying others in the audience by impolitely texting his 22-month-old daughter’s caregiver during previews in a movie theater last week.  Nor did the possibility that Olsoun might have a firearm keep Curtis Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, from losing his temper and starting an argument over this annoying behavior.

But because Mr. Reeves did happen to be armed, Olsoun’s family held funeral services today.  In this case the “good guy” escalated the argument over texting in a movie theater until he drew a weapon and shot Olsoun to death.   Continue reading

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