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..