Apparently Donald J. Trump’s incessant drum beating is reaching gun-toting Americans seeking liberation from frustrations they can’t escape. In their own bizarre way, the raging reactionaries are another cruel manifestation of Mother Nature’s punishing new game.
Novel coronavirus protesters with military-style mowing machines are showing up around the country to demonstrate their resolve to reopen America by force of arms. Their sentiment is understandable, their motives are arguably even noble, but their reasoning, if any was applied, is grossly flawed. Nobody is on their side except Trump.
At another gun show in Shepherd, Texas last week, armed protesters gathered to support the owner of a tattoo parlor and bar in nearby Odessa, which reopened in defiance of an order that it remain shuttered. The New York Times reported that when owner Jamie Williams opened up her East Texas tattoo business she asked customer Philip Archibald for help. He showed up with his dog Zeus, his friends and his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
“We go out there because we want peace, but we prepare for war,” the Times quoted C.J. Grisham, 46, another friend of Williams. The retired Army sergeant’s gun rights group Open Carry Texas helped the arrested owner of the bar in Odessa get a lawyer. “I hope this never happens, but at some point guns are going to have to cease to be a show of force and be a response to force.”
At some point the scary appearances of armed protesters among peaceful citizens will provoke a confrontation with authorities loaded for bear, The misguided malcontents will lose. Whether or not such a conflict will ignite a bigger conflagration depends on what Trump says and does next. Will he call for more guns if his economic plan causes increased deaths and he fails?
Most folks are understandably concerned when a bunch of Joe Combat wannabes with movieland versions of death machines show up to save them. The potential victims usual reaction is to call for help, loudly and repeatedly, ratcheting up tensions already stoked by the appearance of idiots with guns.
The popular solution is deploying a heavily force trained to distinguish a serious threat from a bunch of gun toting bozos so far just disturbing the peace. Tampering with peaceful assembly is loaded with political dynamite. The pros are taught to approach the situation as a complex problem rather than the end of time. Their need to train for such events is a sad commentary on our society.
Contrary to the movies, most mercenary wannabes go home at the thought of facing down determined police with guns of their own. Sane and balanced people have no desire to use deadly force. Unbalanced people are the threat. Hopefully appearance and demeanor are not the primary keys to identifying them.
Conversely, most of the idiots carrying their gunshow marvels are locked in Rambo mode, convinced that with their souped up $1,000 semi-automatic assault rifles they can take out the opposition they way role models do. The problem with that is, while they are standing around wearing their best “I’m-not-a-SEAL-but-I-play-one-at-protests” face, the authorities confronting them are thinking about the best way to kill them.
In contemporary times, think Waco, Ruby Ridge, Wounded Knee, the Attica prison riots, and lastly, the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2, 2016. None of them ended well for the gunmen or for the soul of our nation.
Stories of armed protests are woven throughout the fabric of American history. Since the American Revolutionary War at least 24 major insurrections and dozens of protest related shootings and slaughters have occurred in America. In between were range wars, coal wars, sheep wars, cattle wars, and bloody miner strikes.
In modern “civilized” America thoughts of anyone shooting fellow Americans to protest used to be almost beyond belief. Apparently not anymore. Somewhere, some governor or sheriff is going to get tired of Bubba and the boys usurping their authority and forcefully act. If the hooligans resist and survive, they get to go to jail. If they aren’t that lucky, they may become more unfortunate victims of COVID-19.
America is in a fragile, vulnerable place. Guns are not the problems, it is the people openly carrying them around and the elected idiots encouraging them on. No doubt Trump is ecstatic at the very thought of his budding Brownshirts.
Is it reasonable to get scared?