Last week President Obama, inspired by December’s Newtown shootings, announced 23 executive actions, and proposed some legislation, to address gun violence. The actions are rather mild (“Require criminal background checks for all gun sales,” “Nominate an ATF Director,” etc.) and the legislation probably won’t go much of anywhere. So you might imagine rightbloggers would just declare victory and move on to some other outrage.
Not a chance. Anything Obama does about guns, however toothless, presents an opportunity for the brethren to rouse some of their less compos mentis followers. In fact, some of the rightbloggers seem less than stable on the subject themselves.
Some of the smarter players had a hard time concealing their disappointment that Obama handn’t given the Cold Dead Hands crowd something juicier to declare rebellion over.
“Obama could have tried something new,” Power Line’s John Hinderaker laments, “perhaps something more sweeping: a ban on all semiautomatic rifles, perhaps, or even a ban that includes some handguns.” Nonetheless Hinderaker still has objections to the weak stuff Obama proposed — for example, legislation reducing the maximum magazine size to 10 bullets. “Isn’t it odd,” he says, “that the administration aspires only to limit the victims of a mass shooting incident to ten? If the best that gun control can do is limit the number of victims to low double figures, shouldn’t we be looking for a more effective approach?” Clearly no gun control measure is meaningful unless to reduces gun deaths to zero — in which case it’s obviously unconstitutional. Win-win!
But other rightbloggers have managed to whip the watered-down material Obama gave them into something resembling their usual froth.
Ted Nugent calls Obama’s proposals “psychotic” (which is funny for so many reasons), explaining that “if you further disarm innocent Americans, you are literally engineering slaughters.” Republican Congressmen Stockman, Radel, and Gohmert have threatened Obama with impeachment. (“Hallelujah,” says George Rasley of Richard Viguerie’s Conservative HQ, “at least three Members of Congress get it.”)
When Senator Rand Paul remarked that Obama “wants to bypass the Constitution” and to “act like a king or a monarch,” says Reason‘s David Harsanyi, he “may be a bit hyperbolic, but it is also a bit true.” In case you were wondering what bit Harsanyi found true, he adds that Obama is attempting to “restrict a right that is explicitly laid out in the Bill of Rights,” refers to Obama’s “executive bender,” declares “it is amazing how many times this president uses majoritarian arguments to rationalize executive overreach,” bitches that abortion is “now a constitutional right, unlike owning a gun in Chicago,” and generally does what you expect a libertarian to do in such cases, that is, be a conservative.
At Accuracy in Media, Jim Khouri headlines “Obama Now King of the Gun Grabbers” and denounces “Obama’s overreach and disregard for the U.S. Constitution.” Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily says “if the U.S. government renders its citizens as subjects by disarming them, it will be the end of the dream of liberty that drove our founders to arms to fight for self-government and independence.” He also compares Obama to George III, and says “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Ph.D. in history to know that every mass-murdering tyranny in the history of the world started like this,” etc.
Some Guy at Ace of Spades is very clearly upset — he claims the announcement means gun nuts are the new black people. You know how that must hurt!
“Under segregation, blacks were ‘The Other,'” writes Some Guy. “Every black man was a rapist, thief or murderer who just hadn’t been caught yet. There really aren’t words to describe how wrong this was, yet the left has no problem at all doing the same thing to legal gun owners. We are now ‘The Other’ who are bent on killing your kids at school by our mere existence.” Maybe after a few hundreds years of this oppression, gun nuts will develop a vibrant culture.
At his event Obama was surrounded by schoolchildren who’d written to him about gun violence, probably to remind viewers of the slaughter of children that started this whole thing. You can imagine how rightbloggers interpret this.
“OBAMA STANDS ON GRAVES OF CHILDREN OF SANDY HOOK TO PUSH GUN CONTROL,” screams Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com. Michelle Malkin calls it “child abuse” and the use of “kiddie human shields,” which explains why the kids looked so terrified at the press conference.
“Obama Surrounds Himself With Kids to Announce New Gun Control Plans,” thunders Doug Powers. “If kids wrote to the White House to call for action on the hundreds of thousands of babies abortion kills every year or all the debt they’re being saddled with would the White House release those?” Probably not but please send us those kid’s-abortion-letters-to-Obama, Doug. We smell a book deal!
Debra J. Saunders of TownHall has a genuinely unique angle: while Obama “brought children to his gun violence event Wednesday who had written to him about the Sandy Hook deaths,” she writes, he “did not invite children to discuss urban violence — that is, the sort of crimes best addressed by tougher law enforcement, not gun restrictions.” What an interesting discussion that would have been! “So, Julia, don’t you think fewer people would be shot if street gangs had a right to open carry?”
Some have worked past inchoate rage at Obama doing anything about guns, and made specific complaints.
Boots and Sabers, for example, is pissed about executive action 14 (“Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence”). “This is preparing for future gun control laws,” they explain. “Once they identify the ’cause,’ then there will be a push for more ‘fixes.’ Somehow I doubt that the CDC will conclude that the cause of gun violence is bad people.” Because that’s what the communist scientists at the Centers of Disease Control are all about: Control. It’s even in their name!
Neither does Boots and Sabers like the next item — “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” To you and us, that may sound like the sort of thing that would naturally come up when a physician suspects someone is about to go all shooty-shooty. But to Boots and Sabers it’s this: “Obama is pushing to have doctors ask patients if they have guns in their homes and then provide that information back to the national database. This will aid the federal government in developing a database of every American who has a gun in their home… I encourage you to refuse to answer if a doctor asks you if you have a gun in your home… If a doctor ever asks me that, it’ll be the last time they see me.” Maybe the last time that commie doc sees anything, if you know what we mean.
And of course there’s plenty of Obama is Hitler (and/or Stalin, Pol Pot, et alia) stuff out there — your grandma may have forwarded you some. Our favorite is “CHILDREN SURROUND OBAMA AS HE FURTHER DIMINISHES FREEDOM, JUST LIKE HITLER” — especially as it comes with the disclaimer, “I usually despise the ‘Obama vs Hitler’ juxtapositions as ridiculous and un-founded. So to clarify: I am NOT saying that President Obama is Hitler…” — but really they’re all winners.
One of the more reliably outrage-prone respondents to any gun-related government activity is Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom. (His immediate reaction to the Newtown shooting was to advise readers, “get a concealed carry permit, and ignore signs telling you to leave your guns in the car…”) In anticipation of Obama’s announcement, Goldstein excitedly wrote, “Is today the day?… How ironic will it be if the next iteration of declaring our independence comes as a result of a free people refusing to abide an overreaching centralized government coming yet again for their weapons?” In another pre-game post, he reminded readers, “the left wants us living in a beneficent police state … they will use every occasion to try to further enslave us… Resist we much.”
Well, on what Goldstein called “Imperial Assault on Natural Rights Day” the announcement by the “dictatorial-minded demagogue” Obama came, and Goldstein did not leave his laptop to lead a resistance cell. But he does continue to complain: “…isn’t this law essentially a means to creating a stratified populace,” he writes, “in which police and criminals are both better armed than law-abiding citizens exercising their right to bear arms under the second amendment?” He also calls the gun-grabbers “despicable, dishonorable men and women… as they act unconstitutionally, their claims to control me through selective prosecutions and an inequitable deployment of law (hi, David Gregory!) are, in a word, nullified. I’m nobody’s slave. And given the circumstances, I’m proud as hell to be an outlaw.” So maybe he’ll still serve as a Posse Comitatus captain, but you’ll have to ask real nice.
Even better is Bob Owens, formerly the proprietor of a popular rightblog called Confederate Yankee, now operating under his own name and given to hints of violent resistance to anticipated government tyranny.
Early this month Owens appeared in a PJ Media video with top rightblogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit on the subject, “Are lawful Americans preparing for civil war?” Reynolds gets the ball rolling by lamenting the “open hatred and the wishes for violence aimed at the NRA and gun owners” by such public menaces as Joyce Carol Oates. Owens says he’s not surprised, because Democrats have “displaced anger at not getting what they want all the time; they feel so close to being able to pull off a socialist coup over this country,” but are thwarted by “tens of millions of American out there with firearms who would stand in opposition to that.” Wow, so that’s why Obama hasn’t nationalized the steel mills!
Owens is, however, encouraged that lots of people are buying up guns: “What we’re seeing here,” he says, “is the country getting ready for civil war.” While PJ Media’s 36 viewers gape open-mouthed, Owens adds, “When I look at Obama, I see a General Thomas Gage,” the Redcoat commander in revolutionary times who had “his own little gun control gambit… that was Lexington and Concord, and we know what happened from there… we don’t trust this government, and by we I mean gun owners in general, and it’s quite terrifying,” etc. We’ll say!
More recently at his own site, having apparently not received counseling in the interim, Owens tells his readers that he and his buddies drove around a power substation in all-terrain vehicles without getting hassled, proving to him that it would be easy to take out a power grid.
“Were an angry group of disenfranchised citizens to target in a strategic manner the substations leading to a city or geographic area — say, Albany, for example — they could put the area in the dark for as long as it took to bring the substations back online,” fantasizes Owens. “Were they committed enough, and spread their attacks out over a wide enough area, perhaps mixing in a few tens of dozens of the residential transformers found every few hundred yards along city streets, they could overwhelm the utility companies ability to repair the damage being caused or law enforcement’s ability to stop them…”
After Turner-Diarizing the scenario further (“insurgents could cripple a city, region, or state, without ever firing a bullet at another human being”), Owens warns “progressives seeking to undermine the Constitution” that “they are not remotely prepared for what will happen if they attempt to cross Constitutional boundaries and natural rights. It could be a cold, dark winter. Tread carefully.”
In a post on the day Obama made his announcement, Owens seems to grasp that the President’s proposals “amount to little more than words,” but still tells readers that this has only “averted — for a time — a second American Revolution,” and adds, “We have neither ‘won’ nor
‘protected’ anything today, except more time to train and prepare for a more brutal conflict, and rest assured, that is precisely what Obama intends to bring against America. He needs breathing space to arm and attempt to consolidate his allies behind him, and has four years in front of him. Arm. Train. Network. Resist.”
He’s still at it, calling for the American people to “arm itself against the creeping tyranny, as Americans have done in the past four years, and especially these recent weeks as petty tyrants seek to squelch the greatest threat threats to their existence, and desires… No man wants war, but only a man blind to human nature and the history of nations would not prepare himself for it now.” Owens adds, “there are rumors that the byzantine laws regarding involuntary commitment to mental health facilities gave [Newtown shooter Adam] Lanza both the warning that his freedom was ending, and the time to lash out angrily against a world he must have felt was punishing him. Though I’m sure it won’t be popular to say so, I weep for Adam Lanza as well.” Well, we can see how he’d relate.
Other rightbloggers — moderates, we guess you could call them — are encouraged by the prospect of state nullification of the federal actions. Alex Newman at The New American notes that several red state government officials have proposed legislation to protect their citizens’ gun rights from Obama. This seems to excite him — he uses the “nullification” or “nullify” 20 times in his article — though at least he knows enough to steer readers away from America’s most obvious association with nullification, the Civil War: “The principle of nullifying unconstitutional federal activities goes back to the earliest days of the republic,” Newman writes, “when Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson invoked it… The state of Wisconsin, for example, nullified a federal statute purporting to require that runaway slaves be returned to their masters.” Smooooth.
Bob Owens is also excited by the prospect of nullification (“a movement that has picked up significant steam across the nation to push back against creeping federal tyranny”), perhaps he knows what comes after. Rand Paul also likes the idea, which he probably got from one of his dad’s old newsletters.
To fight the advancing wave of gun-grabbing, some folks put together a Gun Appreciation Day, which was celebrated Saturday by various gatherings of gun enthusiasts, several of whom accidentally shot themselves and/or others. Whoops! Well, at least nobody shit on a police car.
Professor William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection cheerfully compares the event to those other recent patriot gatherings, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and Empty Chair Day — which surprises us, since those actions were anti-gay and anti-Obama, respectively, and given the recent election results seem like nothing to brag about.
The Gun Appreciation Day website has various odes to shootin’ ahrns, including “If you know anything about guns, you know they’re sexy (because they represent power and power is sexy),” and links to “Gun Day Memes,” including the now famous ones about how gun control equals Hitler and Stalin. Our favorite is a post affecting to celebrate black people’s Second Amendment rights; it says Martin Luther King Jr. “would support gun rights” because he once applied for a pistol permit (which explains why he ditched that non-violence bullshit and sent snipers after Bull Connor), and decries California’s 1967 Mulford Act without once mentioning that the Governor who signed it was Ronald Reagan. (Rightbloggers are always very evasive about that one.)
There’s certainly a healthy number of Americans who don’t want the government interfering with their guns. But there’s also a healthy number of Americans who would find the kind of jabber we’ve described kind of nuts. And there’s probably a substantial overlap between the two groups. This, we suspect, is what Obama has been counting on, and if so his gun show has been a great success.
“It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you,” says Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media, having obviously never considered the corollary: If they’re not really out to get you, you are paranoid.