So is Anthony Weiner’s, erm, gravitas still a thing? Because that, unlike armed vigilante groups, is really important. But I digress.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the authoritarian streak within the conservative movement and gingerly stepped around the ‘f-word.’ Well, fuck that (boldface mine):
Was it a show of force? Or a display of freedoms? All those people from multiple states, each packing heat — some as many as three firearms each. They flocked to this small Schuylkill County community [Gilberton, PA] in lock-step support of a local police chief with a loud mouth, a bold message and a megaphone called the Internet….
Many in the gun-toting crowd, which seemed to out-number the considerable media and the sparse towns folk, seemed to agree. Some bearing arms said they were there to protect Kessler, who has claimed to have received multiple death threats in wake of the Internet firestorm. Some said they were providing “security” for the meeting.
When it came time to open the small borough building for the public meeting, these armed men blocked the doors and prevented people from going inside. The mayor hand-selected members of the media who were granted access. Gilberton residents were admitted first.
It’s a pro-gun crowd that goes on about United Nations code No. 7277, which Zangaro said declares international law intended to restrict and register weapons…
And while Kessler enjoyed his share of support from those who hail his Second Amendment leadership and vigorous video defense, the chief had detractors among some residents brave enough to speak out.
“He was way across the line,” said Wade Greg Necker, who lives just outside the 700-resident borough. “He’s a nut. I do not feel safe with him around at all.”
…Another, Gregory Grove, said his wife lives in fear of the chief. “She’s afraid of him,” he told council. “Kessler is a detriment to this borough.”
…But Morrill [of Keystone Progress] said the group purposefully declined to mobilize its own set of protesters, fearing an altercation with the gun-carrying crowd. As it was, Morrill was shouted down, including by someone with a bullhorn.
I’ll write about the UN Resolution 7277 nonsense shortly, but let’s look at the bigger picture. A group of armed thugs denied access to a public, government hearing. Those who opposed them decided not to exercise their rights of free assembly and speech because they were afraid of violence. This isn’t a bunch of loudmouths shouting people down (though there was that too), this was the use of an overt and open threat of violence in a successful attempt to deny people their rights.
This is bad enough, but, at some point, someone isn’t going to back down, and something stupid and horrible will happen–because guns make people stupid.
Remember when Democrats had to eat a shit sandwich because of MoveOn.Org’s “General Betrayus”? If the Democrats weren’t craven and incompetent, they would be forcing Republicans to take a stand on this. Instead, nothing. Once again, Republicans will get to have it both ways: they can placate and encourage the psychiatric wing of their party while not being linked to it.
This is not your crazy uncle arguing at a family gathering, but a serious civil rights infringement. Unfortunately, this event looks like it will be disappeared.
And that’s how it starts.