Well this sounds safe.

Militia men will be carrying a bunch of guns into a public park a few miles from the Capitol and the White House today. Why? Because they can!

Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama’s insistence on and the Democratic Congress’s capitulation to a “totalitarian socialism” that tramples individual rights.

A member of several heretofore little-known groups, including Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Oath Keepers — former and active military and law enforcement officials who have vowed to resist laws they deem unconstitutional — Almond, 31, considers packing heat on the doorstep of the federal government within the mainstream of political speech.

I mean, ok. I kind of wonder what the political speech is saying if not “Just a reminder that I can kill you,” but ok. So why today?

April 19 is the anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the government’s final confrontation in 1993 with the Branch Davidian cult members in Waco, Tex. But Almond said he chose the date to honor the anniversary of the 1775 battles at Lexington and Concord that began the Revolutionary War, “and that is the only reason.”

Sure, buddy.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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39 Responses to Well this sounds safe.

  1. PrettyAmiable says:

    I can’t imagine going to that even if I weren’t against gun control. Sure, I would trust myself to behave responsibly, but a bunch of other random people? Hell fucking no.

  2. ScaryJoann says:

    Um, I have guns. I in fact, have many guns, and in a few months at twenty-one it will become legal for me to own pistols, and I will have many more. I inherited my fathers guns, who was a policeman and taught hunter safety and many other gun related classes. So it’s always been part of my life, and I consider the right to bear arms very important to a ranch lifestyle.
    I do not however think it’s okay for a bunch of pissed off people to organize a gun rally as close as possible to the white house. That sort of sounds like a borderline threat, which sounds like domestic terrorism. hmmm.

    As a gun owner, I fucking hate it when people with guns decide to act as obnoxiously and irresponsibly as possible. I was taught to use guns very, very carefully and not walk around with several potentially loaded weapons just to look tough. I was taught to be efficient and safe as possible with guns. Which is why lots of people with guns is bad, inevitable one will be pointed at someone else. Which is dangerous. I have a friend, James, whos son pointed his BB gun at his brother, so James took the gun and went and smashed it. Guns are not toys.

    I’m watching Rachel Maddow tonight either way.

  3. preying mantis says:

    “Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried”

    If one is carrying one’s firearm as a demonstration rather than for the protection of one’s person/hunting/etc., does one really need it loaded? Surely this would be a particularly pressing question if one were doing so as a large group, where safety concerns tend to mount geometrically rather than linearly?

  4. The Chemist says:

    I’d rather see one person with 100 guns than 100 people with 1 gun each. I’m not anti-gun, but I am anti-stupid. There’s more than one patriotic day to pick from if you want to associate your protest with a significant cause. You can play dumb about the Murrah building all you like, and you can actually not intend the coincidence- still it looks bad and if it’s about symbolism, I’d be a little more careful with message management. Note that I haven’t raised a single philosophical objection to what they’re protesting (although I do object), I’m basically just giving advice.

  5. beth says:

    If everyone has a gun, no one will be shot. Also Aristotle is a woman and I’d be in grad school right now if it weren’t for my horse.

  6. Resisting/protesting laws you believe to be anti-Constitutional, I can actually get behind. I may not *agree* with the logic behind the protest, but I can get behind citizens using their voices.

    Doing such protesting openly armed, and possibly hot — not so much. As stated above: it sounds like a threat akin to terrorism. You want to change the system? Do it the way it was built in — VOTE.

  7. norbizness says:

    “This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.”

  8. Politicalguineapig says:

    I hate my country somedays, I really do.

  9. Tabitha says:

    Patriot’s Day (commemorating the Battle of Lexington) does get a lot more play in separate regions. Up here in MA it’s a state holiday. Otherwise, he’s pretty off base with the whole brandishing-loaded-weapons-because-a-few-more-people-get-health-insurance thing, but he at least might not be pulling the date justifcation completely out of his butt.

  10. ScaryJoann says:

    That “This is my rifle” creed bugs the hell out of me.
    I am not useless without a rifle. Nor is it useless just because it’s not in my hand. Not only that, the guns coming to this event are not “defending my country”, it seems more like they are trying to intimidate my country.
    I know that if anyone tried to carry their rifle to my doorstep, I would consider that a threat. In Colorado there’s a “Make My Day” law, which allows you to shoot people who trespass, and to use deadly force if the resident has reason to believe the trespasser is a threat.
    So good thing they’re in DC and not Colorado.

  11. Nomen Nescio says:

    for reference, “this is my rifle” is an old U.S. Marine chant, used to indoctrinate recruits in the importance of being riflemen and learning to use their rifles well. i very much doubt it was ever meant to be understood in a civilian context.

    and this demonstration is taking place in Virginia, not in DC. it would be all kinds of illegal in the district proper.

  12. Erika says:

    I know it makes me a bad American or something to admit this, but I’m terrified of guns and the people who own them and carry them in public (not just owning! I understand owning them and keeping them at home for sport, I guess). I really, truly wish I lived in a place where this kind of thing were either illegal or very, very unacceptable.

    And what in the world is this guy listening to that makes openly carrying lethal weapons a mainstream form of political protest? I guess I probably already know the answer, but that’s really scary to me.

  13. PrettyAmiable says:

    Nomen, is it illegal to have an unconcealed weapon in DC? I can’t find what the laws are now since the gun ban was overturned.

  14. phira says:

    I was going to comment with what Tabitha mentioned, which is that in Massachusetts and Maine, today is a state holiday, Patriot’s Day, which does commemorate the Battle at Lexington and Concord (which is also the Boston Marathon). So I don’t think it’s totally fair to assume that Almond is totally lying about the reason.

    The rest of it is total fucking bullshit. But I do think the date may be legitimate.

  15. Nomen Nescio says:

    DC makes it illegal in most every case to carry weapons around outside your home. the ban that got overturned was on owning firearms at all, not on carrying them.

    although, of course, IANAL; if i’m wrong, i’d welcome corrections.

  16. Ruchama says:

    Nomen, is it illegal to have an unconcealed weapon in DC? I can’t find what the laws are now since the gun ban was overturned.

    I’m pretty sure that the rule now is that you need a permit from the DC police. Virginia has reciprocity agreements with most other states, so if you’ve got a permit to carry wherever you live, then you can probably carry in Virginia with no extra paperwork, but not in DC. At least, that’s my understanding of it.

  17. Brandon says:

    @Jill,

    I think your attempt to link this event to that of the OK city bombing is weak at best. All you have to do is go back in history to see that both good and bad things have happened on every day.

    Not only was the Revolutionary War started on this date, but Charles Manson was sentenced to death and the Simpsons premiered on The Tracy Ullman Show. There was even a anti-war rally in DC by Vietnam veterans.

    You are attempting to mock and marginalize them because by happenstance, their event happened to take place on a sad day in American history. By that logic, they should never have their event because no day is completely free of tragic events.

    @ScaryJoann: The creed is from the armed services and serves as a way for soldiers to see the importance of their rifles on the battlefield (i.e cleaning, maintaining them, etc…). As “Nomen” said, it doesn’t really have a civilian use.

    Also, the firearms at the event don’t have to serve your purpose of “defending my country”. Just like most people would find a pro-nazi person on a soapbox spewing their hate atrocious, they are within their rights to do so. As long as the firearm owners are law abiding citizens, I see no reason why they can’t be at the rally.

    @Erica: Just because you don’t like firearms around you, doesn’t mean they should have their second amendment rights revoked. What if someone could prevent you from speaking because they felt “terrified” of what you might say? Also, if you don’t like the lethal nature of firearms, you might want to know that cars actually kill far more people than firearms every year in the US.

    We don’t blame the car, we blame the driver. The same logic applies to rifles and their owners. We should not be afraid of law abiding citizens that own firearms, but criminals that own them.

    • Jill says:

      We don’t blame the car, we blame the driver. The same logic applies to rifles and their owners. We should not be afraid of law abiding citizens that own firearms, but criminals that own them.

      The difference, though, is that the primary purpose of cars is to move human beings from place to place. Sometimes things go wrong — there are accidents — and people are killed or injured.

      The primary purpose of guns is to kill, either people or animals.

  18. William says:

    Resisting/protesting laws you believe to be anti-Constitutional, I can actually get behind. I may not *agree* with the logic behind the protest, but I can get behind citizens using their voices.

    Doing such protesting openly armed, and possibly hot — not so much. As stated above: it sounds like a threat akin to terrorism. You want to change the system? Do it the way it was built in — VOTE.

    Our nation was founded by a bunch of people who decided that the laws of England infringed upon their natural rights and responded by shooting agents of the English government to death until England surrendered. Those same people, when making a list of enumerated rights, chose to put keeping and bearing the tools of revolution as second on the list, right under the basic freedoms of speech, association, and conscience. Lets not forget that our founders were, at their core, violent revolutionaries who have escaped the label of terrorist by winning and getting to write the history books. I happen to think their particular brand of violent terrorism and it’s reasoning were, on balance, a good thing, but lets not pretend that our nation is rooted in something else. We couldn’t even end slavery without a not-insignificant portion of our population killing each other in the process.

    Personally, I love the idea of this kind of protest. I love the idea of citizens reminding their government that they govern only with the support of the people. I even tend to like that such a reminder might also remind politicians that losing that support could well lead to losing one’s life. Its a rough world out there and I wouldn’t exactly vote to convict someone for murder if they killed Jesse Helms and it stopped him from continuing to be an evil putz, maybe it shouldn’t happen often but I like to think that we’re mature enough as a people to recognize that thats part of the discourse. The government engages in violence on a continual basis, theres absolutely nothing wrong with sometimes reminding members of that government that force isn’t as monopolized as we like to believe.

    The problem, for me, is that the kinds of people who are likely to engage in these kinds of demonstrations are more often Tim McVeighs than Huey Newtons. Thats why I’ll never attend one, thats why you probably won’t see me breaking bread with people who do. I still like the fact that they exist, even if it makes me more than a little sad that we live in a society in which they would have to.

  19. cathy says:

    This does sound like a terrorist threat, but that aside, for those who think that gun ownership is an important human right, why aren’t you fighting for the rights of the poor and of people of color to own weapons without fear of police violence? The only pro-gun group that I can think of that actually treated gun ownership as a right like free speech was the Black Panthers, and we all know that groups like the NRA and the right weren’t happy about all those black folks with guns. “My guns are for protection” is an argument that in the US only is politically or socially acceptable for whites.

  20. JSC says:

    Can we analyze this?

    “The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama’s insistence on and the Democratic Congress’s capitulation to a “totalitarian socialism” that tramples individual rights. ”

    Where the fuck are theses people getting the idea that Obama is a totalitarian socialist that wants to take away their guns? And what do the other points, which are at least legitimate issues, have to do with gun ownership?

  21. Melissa says:

    Let me just say that this whole militia movement scares the hell out of me.

    I’m afraid the outbreak of domestic terrorism we’ve been seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

  22. AnonymousCoward says:

    Does it count as irony if the only reason you can protest in a particular place about the supposed strengthening of gun control laws is because those laws just recently became more lax and started to allow openly carrying in that place?

  23. William says:

    but that aside, for those who think that gun ownership is an important human right, why aren’t you fighting for the rights of the poor and of people of color to own weapons without fear of police violence?

    And that is why the NRA will never see a penny of my money. One of the saddest thing about the gun rights movement in this country is that it has so badly failed the individuals who could have benefited most from it’s activism had it been less encumbered by a pretty ugly history of racism and reactionary support for “anti-crime” laws (which threw poor people, especially in urban areas and especially poor people of color, under the bus in the name of compromise). The Second Amendment Foundation has done a better job recently (mostly by ditching the “sportsman” angle and focusing on the right to self defense, especially in urban and rural areas with inadequate or actively hostile police presence), but we in the gun rights movement still have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting our house in order.

  24. norbizness says:

    From the WP article covering the story:

    “As many as 2,000 gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument, and about 50 people at Gravelly Point and Fort Hunt parks in Virginia.”

    Holeeee shit. That’s only 1/1000th-1/2000th of one of those worldwide pre-Iraq invasion anti-war protests. No wonder they’re getting all sorts of coverage! It was also 1/3rd the attendance of the recent Texas Longhorns/Texas State Bobcats Tuesday afternoon baseball game.

  25. eilish says:

    William said: “I even tend to like that such a reminder might also remind politicians that losing that support could well lead to losing one’s life. Its a rough world out there and I wouldn’t exactly vote to convict someone for murder if they killed Jesse Helms and it stopped him from continuing to be an evil putz, maybe it shouldn’t happen often but I like to think that we’re mature enough as a people to recognize that thats part of the discourse.”

    Killing elected leaders who act in ways that displease you should be part of the governing process? Murdering people who espouse beliefs you don’t like is part of discourse? I don’t know that ‘Mature’ is the word to use when describing contemplating such a ‘rough’ world. ‘Terrifying’ would seem more congruent.
    I am suddenly afraid to be in conversation with you.
    You’re not a friend of Scott Roeder, are you?

  26. MertvayaRuka says:

    “The Second Amendment Foundation has done a better job recently (mostly by ditching the “sportsman” angle and focusing on the right to self defense, especially in urban and rural areas with inadequate or actively hostile police presence), but we in the gun rights movement still have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting our house in order.”

    The Second Amendment Foundation is doing a much better job at not toeing the “protect white, straight, Christian male America first” line like the NRA does. But they do still espouse a lot of myths like “the Nazis took guns away from everybody in Germany” and “the Nazis left the Swiss alone because the Swiss are all armed” (see also “the Swiss have less crime because they’re all armed”). Plus they wrap firearms ownership in a thick layer of macho bullshit and right-wing politics and help perpetuate the idea that if you’re left-of-center, you not only can’t be a real gun owner but you’re obviously a traitor or a government stooge spying on them. We’re never going to be served well by groups whose core beliefs are still shaped by misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism and all the other poisonous byproducts of right-wing conservative politics.

  27. Ellid says:

    According to the news wires, a couple dozen people showed for the Oath Keepers rally north of Washington, and a few hundred at the open carry rally.

    Can we say “fizzled out”?

  28. queen emily says:

    “Hey yutz. Guns aren’t toys–they’re for family protection, hunting dangerous and delicious animals, and keeping the king of England out your face.”

  29. delagar says:

    “Personally, I love the idea of this kind of protest. I love the idea of citizens reminding their government that they govern only with the support of the people. I even tend to like that such a reminder might also remind politicians that losing that support could well lead to losing one’s life…”

    Yeah, all right, I can’t really sign on to this as discourse.

    Discourse is when we’re negotiating. What you’re talking about is terroristic threatening. It’s not okay.

    And yes, it’s a rough old world out there where the big boys play rough, but one of the things that makes it less livable is attitudes like that one — we should remind people who disagree with us that they can be killed? (as some columnist recently said, and I am paraphrasing.) No. Threatening those who disagree with you with execution is no way to find common ground.

  30. William says:

    Killing elected leaders who act in ways that displease you should be part of the governing process? Murdering people who espouse beliefs you don’t like is part of discourse? I don’t know that ‘Mature’ is the word to use when describing contemplating such a ‘rough’ world. ‘Terrifying’ would seem more congruent.

    I’d say realistic. Force is already part of the game, the guns are already on the table and people are already hurt every single day. The only question is whether its going to be a one-way street or not. The government still executes people, police still shoot people in the streets, and I haven’t gone a year in my life without the city I live in having a major scandal about it’s officially sanctioned thugs beating the hell out of brown people for sport. This is, sadly, the world in which we live. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.

    I’d like to live in a world in which violence was never necessary, in which the democratic process didn’t tend to boil down to the mob fucking over the scape goat of the week, in which the basic human rights of the citizens least able to assert their rights were respected by the government. Unfortunately, we don’t. All government boils down to force, down to a threat, “do as I say or this uniformed sadist with a badge on his chest and a chip on his shoulder is going to hurt you until you do.” I wish it wasn’t true but I’ve never seen evidence to the contrary. Police carry weapons openly for a reason, to remind everyone (but mostly the oppressed peoples who are so often their victims) that the government is willing to beat, burn, electrocute, bind, and even kill anyone who defies them (and thats just the sanctioned tortures). So yeah, when I see a government that puts black kids in jail for smoking pot and then jokes about how they’re going to be serially raped, who murders seventy six scared, pathetic people because they have the nerve to hide in a bunker with guns, who starts bankrupting wars of occupation while fighting against providing basic health care, who spends money to teach kids that condoms can’t protect them from AIDS because some evil man with a cross behind him said so, who kills Huey Newton for having the audacity to stand up and say enough, who spies on it’s own citizens and tortures them in secret prisons, who spends billions of dollars trying to keep brown people from coming over to do jobs no one else wants, yeah, sometimes I think maybe they should be reminded that they aren’t the only ones with guns. Sometimes they should be reminded that they live in a country which was founded by armed people in response to restrictions on liberty that are far less severe than the ones we’re forced to tolerate today. Does that mean I want to see a violent revolution? No, of course not, but I still like to keep auto insurance even though I’d really like to avoid getting in an accident.

  31. ScaryJoann says:

    @ William
    It is not okay to justify an open threat to the government by going “They did this and this bad, and therefore we shall threaten them with guns over bank bailouts! Grarrr!”. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we all dream of a world where we can all carry guns to each others doorsteps when we disagree, but it’s commonly considered rude and sort of an act of aggression, which is usually met by more aggression, until all the youth of America will carry guns to school with them for protection. That’ll show the government who’s boss! Tally-ho.

    “Police shoot people, so should I!” …. yeah, that’s going to end well.

    And yes, the people who engage in this type of “protest” do tend to have ideas that are similar to Tim McVeigh. And they’re having the protest on the same day of the OK bombing, hence the link.

    Any soldier who becomes worthless without his own special rifle that is only his probably shouldn’t have a rifle to start with.

    Not only that, I don’t feel like they are only trying to threaten the fucking system. They are threatening everyone around them, “Here I am, see my gun, I will use it on you if I feel the need to protest your actions.”
    They are threatening the same victims you’re using to justify their actions. They are proving they will stand outside the door of anyone who disagrees. This is not a protest or a way to remind the government not to hurt those certain people or we’ll get you back by gosh. This is a way to threaten the government and the people watching on televisions nation wide. Their way, or the end of their barrel?
    Yeah, very different than the evil government.

  32. eilish says:

    William: so you mean “we should shoot random government officials and representatives in order to express our anger with the world “?

    Becoming what you profess to hate does not redress injustice.

    America: you need to ban guns. Today.

  33. Marksman2000 says:

    “You want to change the system? Do it the way it was built in — VOTE.”

    Laurie, do you feel like you have control of your government?

    A national poll released in February 2010 by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. reveals that 86% of those questioned believe our government is “broken.” Of course, 81% also believe it can be fixed, but they didn’t state how. Five percent say it’s beyond repair.

    I’m one of those who makes up the five percent. This so-called “republic” we believe in is simply a mirage. Through greed and corruption, our state has failed us. A few of us have known this for quite some time–and we’re pissed.

    You can keep kidding yourself by thinking your vote means anything, but you’ll soon find out–I hope–that you’ve been fooled. The system is BROKEN. It doesn’t matter who we put in office: liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, whatever. Our problems don’t reside within the parties or the people, it’s the way Washington, D.C. functions that’s ruined our country.

    And it saddens me to think of what we, Americans, could have had versus what we ended up with.

  34. Sheelzebub says:

    You know what? We live in a democratic republic. There are things about the political system I’m not happy with (the two-party system for one thing), but our voter turnout is sucktastic. And aside from the people who are working two jobs and cannot afford to take the time to vote, every other damn person has no excuse. NONE. Voter turnout in the US is abysmal. And don’t give me the crap that it’s because people are alienated and disillusioned–things might have been different, might have been better, if they showed the fuck up and voted in elections. And not just Presidential elections, but state senate elections and town/city elections. Things might have been better if they wrote to their representatives when they saw something wrong or wanted a certain bill to pass or wanted a law changed.

    Maybe it’s me–maybe I’ve seen too many people on MY side threatened with violence from the right wing. Abortion clinics are bombed, the doctors and staff are shot, and the patients are threatened and intimidated and harassed. People in the LGBT community are beaten and killed. People of color are routinely beaten and often killed by the cops for infractions and behaviors that White people get away with. And right wing pundits like that dipshit Ann Coulter call for our deaths. But the dudes marching with weapons feel alienated from their government, so they’re going to make more violent threats?

    Oh, fuck off.

  35. MertvayaRuka says:

    “But the dudes marching with weapons feel alienated from their government, so they’re going to make more violent threats?”

    But, but, Sheelzebub, don’t you realize they’re the victims here? So they get polite and self-restrained police escorts while we get pepper spray, clubs and tasers. So they get sentenced to 11 years with time off for planning to use sodium cyanide on civilians while we get 28 years in prison with no parole for torching a car lot. So white supremacist groups and anti-choice assassins get soft-pedaled as being powerless and harmless while “eco-terrorists” are the number one domestic terror threat according to the FBI. So they couldn’t stop a guy from bombing a federal building that had all ready been the target of a bomb plot from another guy who threatened that his execution would be avenged by “something big” but they can infiltrate the Quakers and Food Not Bombs. So these morons are protesting about their Second Amendment rights being curtailed when the law allowing them to carry on park lands is newly-minted. That the only thing visible is their preferential treatment from the government and media just proves how deep the conspiracy against them goes!

  36. Bagelsan says:

    But the dudes marching with weapons feel alienated from their government, so they’re going to make more violent threats?

    No kidding. Voting? OMG that takes like, a whole hour! Or even two! And you might have to skip lunch if you’re really busy that day! Or even get an absentee ballot! Soooo hard! Screw that!

    But when it comes to getting a gun license/gun and driving to DC to wander around menacing passersby? Or even just the liberal version (watching the Daily Show religiously and bitching about politics) — yeah, I’ve got the time and energy for that! Bring it!

  37. Politicalguineapig says:

    Sheelzebub: This stopped being a democracy around 2000. In theory, we’re still a republic, in practice, we aren’t anymore. Occasionally the system works (2008!) but we’re still one step away from a monarchy. I confess, monarchy is a very attractive idea, and at this point, I’m beginning to think humans are hard-wired to prefer kings and queens.

  38. Bethany says:

    Is this dangerous? Yes, of course it is, but it is also a very strong reminder to the government that it is supposed to be controlled by the people. The danger is worth the risk in this situation and we must have faith in our fellow Americans that they are simply exercising their Constitutional right and not out for blood.

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