After the Arizona killings, one quote from someone who lost a loved one in one of many earlier mass-murdering rampages in this country and re-cited for the occasion by the media, stuck in my mind. It went something like this: “Every country has its share of madmen, but only in this country are they provided with the best possible weaponry.” And indeed, if there is one major problem that needs to be solved — even more so than toning down the rhetoric — it is the enactment of a gun control law to move the US out of its fantasy 19C Tombstone Wild West era and into a present where no other major country that claims to be at the forefront of “civilization” allows its citizens to buy deadly weapons with the same ease they can buy fresh fruit. As MSNBC pointed out yesterday, if Yemen, home of Osama bin Laden is 2nd in the world with some 60 guns per hundred inhabitants, then the US of A is the unchallenged numero uno with some 90 guns per 100 inhabitants. Here are the opening “shots” of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence‘s time-line for recent politically motivated gun violence (or the promotion of such violence). I won’t put it all up, as it would make the post excessively long, but the missed middle section can be seen here.
On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court embraced the National Rifle Association’s contention that the Second Amendment provides individuals with the right to take violent action against our government should it become “tyrannical.” The following timeline catalogues incidents of insurrectionist violence (or the promotion of such violence) that have occurred since that decision was issued:
June 26, 2008—The case of District of Columbia v. Heller is decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling. The opinion not only endorses the National Rifle Association’s “individual right” interpretation of the Second Amendment; it also affirms that one of the purposes of the right is to “assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny.” The NRA’s amicus brief in the case had argued that “the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny.”
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book,” but was unable to gain access to them.
September 18, 2008—Dick Heller, the plaintiff from the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, provides testimony to the D.C. Council regarding firearm-related legislation. Heller’s written, submitted testimony states, in part: “‘We the people,’ armed, are TRULY what the Writers of the Constitution intended for us to be in Art. 1, Sec. 8, para. 15, and that is the CITIZEN MILITIA. If suicide terrorists DO attact our city, ARMED CITIZENS could be the First to counter these hostilities in our individual neighborhoods.”
September 22, 2008—The National Rifle Association launches its GunBanObama website, which predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, “if elected…would be the most anti-gun president in American history.” The website is part of a $15 million NRA campaign to discredit Obama.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming’s wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, “His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home.”
February 5, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts an hour-long special on Fox called “We Surround Them,” a “grassroots effort to wake up our Nation’s leaders and let them know what many, if not most, Americans truly believe in and stand for.”
February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.
March 3, 2009— FOX commentator Glenn Beck interviews NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris. During the interview, Beck states that, “Somebody asked me this morning, they said, ‘you really believe that there’s going to be trouble in the future?’ And I said, ‘if this country starts to spiral out of control and, you know, and Mexico melts down or whatever, if it really starts to spiral out of control, before America allows a country to become a totalitarian country … Americans will, they just, they won’t stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up.’ And they said, ‘where’s that going to come from?’ And I said, ‘Texas, it’s going to come from Texas.’”
November 10, 2010—Public schools in Broward County, Florida, go into lockdown after an email threat is received by WFTL 850 AM. The email is sent to conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman in response to remarks she made at a Tea Party event in July (“If ballots don’t work, bullets will“). The email expresses support for her view of the Second Amendment and says that to further “their cause…something big will happen at a government building in Broward County, maybe a post office maybe even a school.” A phone call is then received at the station, allegedly from the emailer’s wife, warning that he is preparing to go to a Pembroke Pines school and open fire.
November 23, 2010—Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, writes an editorial in The Register Citizen in which he calls for state and county sheriffs to organize large, armed “posses” as “a check on the unconstitutional exercise of federal power.”
November 29, 2010—U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, circulates a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he compares the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany and likens himself to Gen. George Patton, bragging, “Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it.”
December 3, 2010—At “Roe & Roeper’s Miracle on Indianapolis Blvd. Holiday Extravaganza” promoting “Toys 4 Tots” in Chicago, Illinois, actor R. Lee Emery (famous for his depiction of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket”) tells those in attendance, “The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not gonna quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us.”January 6, 2011—John Troy Davis, 44, is arrested after threatening to set fire to the office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and shoot members of his staff. The threat comes when Davis calls Bennet’s office to complain about his Social Security benefits, telling a staffer that he is schizophrenic and “may go to terrorism.” “I’m just going to come down there and shoot you all,” he declares. Davis is charged with assault on a federal employee.
January 8, 2011—Jared Lee Loughner, 22, shoots U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others at a “Congress in Your Corner” event at a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. He kills six, including federal judge John Roll, and wounds 14, including Giffords, who is shot in the head. Loughner has an extensive history of mental illness and substance abuse, yet is able to purchase two handguns and a high-capacity ammunition magazine legally at Sportsman’s Warehouse on November 30, 2010. In a YouTube video posted in December 2010, Loughner states, “You don’t have to accept the federalist laws … Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.”