Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Man Waits For Obama With Loaded Handgun

Yeah, that's right. A guy was waiting for President Obama to arrive at a town hall meeting yesterday actually carrying a loaded weapon:

President Obama hosted a town hall meeting about health care in New Hampshire today.

Outside the event, a group of protesters shouted slogans and held signs. Raising some eyebrows was protester William Kostric, who showed up with a gun strapped to his leg.

New Hampshire is an open carry state. Kostric said police asked him to move back from school property, but because the gun was in plain view, he wasn't breaking any laws.

There are federal laws about how close a firearm can be brought to a school, but Kostric got permission from an official at a church to stand on its property.

Kostric said he was there to voice his opinion, like everyone else.
New Hampshire has a strong streak of independence running through its citizenry (the state motto is "Live Free or Die") so this occurrence is not altogether surprising and this man will most assuredly not be there wielding his gun when President Obama finally arrives; I have ample trust in the Secret Service to make sure of that. Clearly he did this just to cause a stir and draw media attention to himself. Even the nuttiest of wingnuts obviously know that it's unacceptable and unallowable to wait for the arrival of the president of the United States with a loaded handgun strapped to your leg. But what bothers me about this story is how it dovetails quite neatly with all of the other right-wing fear mongering and intimidation tactics we've been seeing with regard to President Obama lately.

Full disclosure: I am a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the constitution and I fully believe that Americans have every right to own and operate firearms as long as they conform to the laws of this country, and there's no indication that Kostric actually meant any physical harm to the president in this instance. That said, the ominous undercurrent of right-wing anger seems to be roiling closer and closer to the boiling point lately. Incidents like the Glenn Beck-inspired, would-be national guard base attacker are obviously committed by the fringes of society but just like with this gun toting idiot and the various unhinged town hall shouters (they're called "Healthers" now) the atmosphere of discontent is being driven farther and farther towards that fringe while the overall message has been getting uglier and uglier.

First Obama was a Muslim, then he was a Kenyan (from way back in the day), after that he became a Socialist, he got fitted for jackboots to become a Nazi and now it turns out that he's even a eugenicist. Or to put it in "Republican *wink*wink* to our base" speak: He prays to the brown god of your enemies, was born in another country and thus is not really your president, wants to take all of your money and give it to welfare queens and illegal aliens, wants to control every aspect of your life from cradle to grave and speaking of which, ultimately wants to put your retarded child and poor grandmother to death as part of his Final Solution...we mean, as part of his "health care reform". And these claims are not just being made on wacko conspiracy-theory websites read by a few lone malcontents, they're being repeated ad nauseum and pushed as legitimate news stories by the mainstream of conservative media.

So now surprise, surprise, people who disagree with Obama are bringing prominently displayed and loaded firearms to town hall meetings. It appears to me that the actual intent of this man was neither to protest health care reform nor to show support for his right to bear arms: A homemade sign or printed t-shirt would have adequately served either of those purposes. What this guy wanted was for everyone to see not just that he disagreed with Obama but also that he obviously owned a deadly weapon. Again, I'm not saying that he ever intended to shoot the president but the current state of vehement unrest on the right coupled with the incessant demonization of Obama by their media flacks certainly made him feel justified in having that gun on his person with the president en route.

The question some are now asking in lieu of this incident is this: How long is it going to be before someone else feels similarly justified in bringing a firearm to one of these town hall meetings, although much better concealed and with far more nefarious intent? Or as Glenn Beck ominously predicted a few days ago:

You know, um, I have to tell you I think the clock is ticking, gang. I think everybody needs to back away -- not from your passions, not from what you believe in. You believe in health care, you keep going. You believe it's wrong, you keep going.

But we need to be very, very careful. I fear for the future. Somebody's going to do something stupid and it will change the Republic -- [snaps] -- overnight.

Let's just hope that he's as wrong about that as he usually is about almost everything else, although Zeus knows there's no shortage of crazies out there who would be quite happy to see it happen (and undoubtedly a few who wouldn't mind pulling the trigger themselves).

And on that note, a final thought: What do you suppose the media/law enforcement reaction would have been if instead of a hick-looking white guy waiting for Obama to arrive this had been an obviously well-armed black man waiting for George W. Bush? Or better yet, a brown-skinned guy in a turban carrying a sidearm and yelling about "the blood of tyrants" whilst standing on the lawn of a neighborhood mosque? I personally have a feeling that New Hampshire's rather lax gun laws would have become a bit more stringent while at the same time that man would suddenly be living a lot less free.

(hat tip: Doug"e")


JoMala "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Goofball ideas about religion have caused millions of people to act like nuts. Taliban. AlQueda. Etc. It looks as though a goofy interpretation of a zealous form of patriotism is also causing some people to go nuts.

Beck might be correct in that sanity won't come back until some idiot gets someone killed. And as usual, it will probably be some innocent bystander or his/her child.

JBW said...

Agreed, T101. It seems that these are quickly becoming dangerous times. I'm also afraid he might just be right but I truly hope he's not.