Reefer Madness

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The past is
a troublesome little bugger, but it’s easily fixed. Watch how easily
Dennis Henigan does
it
this week at the Huffington Post (ellipsis in original):

The determination
of NRA leaders to generate paranoia and hatred toward the government
has gotten them into trouble before. In a now-infamous fundraising
letter sent on April 13, 1995, LaPierre warned his members about
the "jack-booted government thugs" of the federal Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who have the "power
to take away our Constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize
our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us…."
Six days later, as NRA members found this noxious letter in their
mail, Timothy McVeigh, convinced that the time to resist federal
tyranny had arrived, bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City
that housed the local offices of the ATF.

Suddenly, in
the mid-1990s, crazy extremists started worrying that the BATF was
maybe kind of overly
militarized
and bizarrely
aggressive
. There was no reason for it – this strange theme
just emerged from their crazy mouths, born from the mists of complete
fantasy. Then, six days later, Tim McVeigh blew
up a building
. A complete explanation of cause and effect, neat
and entire. Don’t send letters that criticize the government, kids
– people will die.

It’s everyone-to-the-right-of-Josh-Marshall-is-an-incipient-terrorist
theme week in the sillier precincts of the news media this week,
and the quivering is unmistakably built on a falsified past.

In a Time
magazine cover
story
that would have made Henry Luce swoon with pride, Mighty
Wurlitzer-wielder Barton Gellman uses up much of the world’s supply
of adjectives. Gellman’s rant is, words fail me, hilarious.
Watch the master at work:

A small
but growing number of these extremist groups, according to the
FBI, ATF and state investigators, are subjects of active criminal
investigations. They include militias and other promoters of armed
confrontation with government, among them "common-law jurors,"
who try to make their own arrests and convene their own trials,
and "sovereign citizens," who respond with lethal force
to routine encounters with the law. In April, for example, Navy
veteran Walter Fitzpatrick, acting on behalf of a group called
American Grand Jury, barged into a Tennessee courthouse and tried
to arrest the real grand-jury foreman on the grounds that he refused
to indict Obama for treason.

Members of
these groups "respond with lethal force to routine encounters
with the law," regularly gunning down cops on the street! For
example, uh, some guy yelled at a grand jury. 1.) Lethal force,
2.) Routine encounters, 3.) For example (thing that isn’t lethal
force in routine encounters.) Yes, I see that he also talked about
people who "try to make their own arrests." But it’s awfully
clever to drop in that "who respond with lethal force to
routine encounters with the law" along the way, and to follow
it with "for example" when you don’t have any.

They harvest
fruit, bake pies, and engage in mass murder. For example, cherries.

Gellman opens
his they-walk-among-us diatribe with an overawed description of
a training exercise for members of the Ohio Defense Force, a militia
group that Gellman says may be preparing itself for a confrontation
with Islamists or the federal government. And then, this: "As
militias go, the Ohio Defense Force is on the moderate side."
So he’s led with an example that isn’t an example. 1.) Here’s my
description of a thing that happened! 2.) But this isn’t the thing
I want to tell you about, ’cause it’s way milder than my actual
topic, which I don’t have any examples of, but it exists, despite
the fact that I’ve just described something else entirely.

Amazingly,
people pay to subscribe to this magazine.

Anyway, "extreme
militias" are so out there that they believe "only a well-armed
populace can enforce its rights. Any form of gun regulation, therefore,
is a sure sign of intent to crush other freedoms." Then he
places that belief in its historical context: "In a reversal
of casting, the armed antigovernment movement describes itself as
heir to the founders."

A coalition
of armed militias that express a desire to resist government power
claims, in a "reversal," that it’s the heir to the revolutionaries
who waged war against British sovereignty for eight years. An "armed
antigovernment movement" strangely describes itself as heir
to an armed antigovernment movement. I only wish Barton Gellman
had been alive and writing in
1774
.

At the Harper’s
magazine website, Scott Horton finds
Gellman’s discussion of Holocaust Museum murderer James von Brunn
"mesmerizing." Because Gellman, you see, says that von
Brunn didn’t just kill a security guard at a museum: "What
authorities did not disclose was how close the country had come
to a seismic political event. Von Brunn, authoritative sources say,
had another target in mind: White House senior adviser David Axelrod,
a man at the center of Obama’s circle. "

My god –
it’s mesmerizingly seismic: a batshit crazy near-nonagenarian
thought about his fantasy about having a desire to shoot a hired
political adviser! It’s an event that almost could have shaken America
to its very core. Traffic lights almost stopped working! Fires could
have burned unchecked as firefighters sat helplessly in their firehouses.
"Axelrod was almost taken from us," they could possibly
have wailed in hypothetical horror over possible events that may
have occurred if things had happened differently. "What care
have we for a fire alarm?"

"How
close the country had come to a seismic political event."
Some people don’t have the sense to feel embarrassed by themselves.

Reprinted
from History
News Network
.

October
13, 2010

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