Assault weapons and the President

So everyone’s in a tizzy about the folks showing up open carrying at some Obama event.

About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle…

Because as we know, scary looking guns are more dangerous than non-scary looking guns.

He said he’s never heard of someone bringing an assault weapon near a presidential event. “The larger the gun, the more menacing the situation,” he said.

There’s a “penis size compensation” joke in there somewhere.

“To me, this is craziness,” [Paul Helmke] said. “When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you’re just making the situation dangerous for everyone.”

Yeah. I guess all the cops and Secret Service guys, bringing all their weaponry, that makes it dangerous for everyone. Well, there was that video floating around a week or two ago where someone was claiming a Secret Service agent in the back of a car was pointing a rifle at the crowd. I shall go get my tinfoil hat now.

To be honest, all of this reeks of ignorant hysteria. People that don’t understand guns, that are afraid of guns and people that own guns, and Paul Helmke who has his agenda to push. It’s just ignorance and fear. Gain some education — like I did — and you’ll find out that things aren’t as bad as you make them out to be.

In this particular case, these guys are out to make a political point. What that point is I’m not sure, but basically they are out exercising their First Amendment rights. The key thing about 1A and “freedom of speech” is precisely to protect unpopular speech. So what these people were doing is quite fine from a legal perspective. To abridge what they were doing would be a dangerous and unconstitutional thing. They were peaceful, no one was harmed, no laws were broken. I think the only bad thing that happened was some people may have pooped in their pants and got hysterical, and that or any other sort of “being offended” is not reason enough to abridge any sort of activity these people were involved in. The President was in no true danger (even the Secret Service commented accordingly in the article).

That said, while it might be legal and certainly all aspects Constitutionally protected, I personally feel what they did was poor judgment. What message are they trying to send? I liken this to PETA. While I agree we shouldn’t be cruel to animals, PETA takes a radical approach to their message and that turns off a great number of people. If you want to win people to your side, you have to consider who you want to win, and who you’re willing to lose. Maybe you only want to attract other radicals, but realize in doing so you are going to marginalize yourself from the majority. If you’re willing to do this, that’s fine. The key thing is to know your audience. Unfortunately in this case, the situation gets blown wildly out of proportion and I think may serve to have unintended side-effects on the greater scale. Most people are going to look at this — and how the typically gun-unfriendly media will portray it — and think that all gun owners are kooks. We’re not. But we’re going to get lumped in with the guys and it sets back a great many things.

Sebastian chimes in with similar sentiments.

I wish I knew exactly why these guys chose to do what they did. That might lend some better insight into the matter. I’m not satisfied with “exercising our 1A and/or 2A rights” because it was an explicit choice to leave the house with an AR-15 strapped over your shoulder and to attend a protest outside an Obama event. You’re trying to make a point. What’s your point?

Updated: Murdoc has more. What’s more interesting is that these folks were not just law-abiding, but coordinated. They took time to work with the local police, there was a Secret Security detail. These folks were accomodating, polite, working with law enforcement, colored within the lines… gosh, they handled things much better than most protesters. But hey, let’s not let this get in the way of a good round of PSH.

Updated 2: The black man with the gun speaks. (h/t SayUncle)

Well, I understand his point now. In general I’m in agreement with it. As for the AR, it was a simple thing. Attention. He carried the rifle, it attracted attention. That’s all it was being used for folks: a prop. And it worked. Everyone is talking about it. All the news media is buzzing about it. He wanted attention, he got the attention.

I do find it funny tho. It’s an educated black man, with a gun. How different would it have been if it was a redneck white guy? Or a more “urban” African-American? I think the media is having a tough time with this one. I notice in the AP article that there’s no mention of the “man with a gun” being a “black man with a gun.”

Updated 3: Further thoughts, part 2.

Updated 4: White House response. OK, going try to stop updating this post and just updating the later related posts. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Assault weapons and the President

  1. Pingback: Assault weapons and the President – part 2 « Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Pingback: White House Backs Right To Bear Arms, Even Outside Obama Events « Stuff From Hsoi

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