Friday, April 05, 2013

A New Front In The Gun Culture

On March 28 Eric Dolan of Raw Story reported

A group participating in the “National Day to Demand Action” to end gun violence in Indianapolis this morning faced a counter-protest from gun rights advocates, who brought their loaded firearms with them.

The group Moms Demand Action held the rally outside the Indiana Statehouse on Thursday to call for an assault weapons ban, restrictions on magazine sizes, and an end to the so-called gun show loophole. A member of the organization told Think Progress she was unsettled by the presence of armed counter-protesters, who were from a group calling itself Indiana Moms Against Gun Control.

The National Day to Demand Action was organized by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The event coincided with the release of a television ad featuring family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year...

It was not the first time armed protesters showed up at the Indiana Statehouse. In February,hundreds of gun advocates demonstrated at the Capital against new gun laws. Many of them came armed.

Moms Demand Action and Indiana Moms Against Gun Control also faced off at the Indiana Statehouse earlier this month.

On April 3 The Huffington Post noted

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) says she received death threats at her Manhattan office Tuesday over a piece of proposed gun control legislation.

According to Maloney, three phone calls were made to her Upper East Side office about an hour apart from each other, ABC reports. Disturbed by the phone calls, the congresswoman decided to skip an event where she was scheduled to present an award that night.

"They said they were going to kill me," Maloney told The Daily News. "I couldn’t go. Who knows what could happen? I think any member of Congress would be scared after what happened to my good friend Gabby Giffords.”

The NYPD confirmed an investigation looking into the phone calls. Maloney said her staffer's received all three calls.

In March, Maloney introduced a bill to require gun owners nationwide to hold liability insurance before being able to purchase a weapon. Failure to show proper coverage would result in a $10,000 fine.

Following the tragic Newtown shooting, Maloney blogged for HuffPost advocating  fo increased gun control...

That morning (9:00 Pacific Time), the U.S.A.'s finest blogger remarked

Can we see what's happening here? 

I don't know the answer, but when you have an armed movement that fetishizes the potential necessity of revolution against the government you can certainly understand why politicians and citizens alike might not be eager to put themselves in the metaphorical --- and literal --- line of fire. In this case, many people, including pols, probably feel that their best insurance policy is "don't make trouble."

And I thought: there is no need to panic- two events (or 3-4, depending upon how the Indiana face-offs are counted) don't make a trend. But roughly five hours later, Digby conceded that she had not known

The National Rifle Association’s security guards gained notoriety earlier this year when, escorting NRA officials to a hearing, they were upbraided by Capitol authorities for pushing cameramen. The thugs were back Tuesday when the NRA rolled out its “National School Shield” — the gun lobbyists’ plan to get armed guards in public schools — and this time they were packing heat.

About 20 of them — roughly one for every three reporters — fanned out through the National Press Club, some in uniforms with gun holsters exposed, others with earpieces and bulges under their suit jackets.

In a spectacle that officials at the National Press Club said they had never seen before, the NRA gunmen directed some photographers not to take pictures, ordered reporters out of the lobby when NRA officials passed and inspected reporters’ briefcases before granting them access to the news conference.

The antics gave new meaning to the notion of disarming your critics.

By journalistic custom and D.C. law, of course, reporters don’t carry guns to news conferences — and certainly not when the person at the lectern is the NRA’s Asa Hutchinson, an unremarkable former congressman and Bush administration official whom most reporters couldn’t pick out of a lineup. But the NRA wasn’t going to leave any doubt about its superior firepower.

"Free speech isn't much of a "right" when people people who disagree with me are ostentatiously carrying a loaded gun," Digby noted.  But intimidating the media is, at least, a mainstream tactic.  The GOP has been using it, successfully, for years.

But now it's getting serious.   The Dallas Morning News has revealed

Jay Hileman, an assistant U.S. attorney in Houston, has withdrawn from a large Aryan Brotherhood of Texas racketeering case due to security concerns.

Richard O. Ely II, a Houston defense attorney who is representing one of the 34 defendants, said Hileman sent him an email on Tuesday, informing him that he was off the case.

Ely said another Justice Department prosecutor from Washington D.C. will be assigned to the case to replace Hileman...

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is a key focus in the investigation of the recent murders of the Kaufman County district attorney and one of his prosecutors. No evidence has emerged tying the prison gang to the killings. No one has been charged or named as a suspect.

District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their homes on Saturday. About two months earlier, felony prosecutor Mark Hasse was gunned down in a parking lot near the county courthouse.

Ely said Hileman, who he called a good friend of his, is likely concerned about his family after the killing of the DA and his wife.

“He’s obviously made a decision based on something,” Ely said.

It's nothing new for America's premier crime lobby, the National Rifle Association, to intimidate legislators.  But now its allies are going after law enforcement, and Charles Pierce recalls

I'm old enough to remember when the NRA joined an ensemble conniption fit to condemn Ice-T for merely writing a song called "Cop Killer." The NRA followed that up by fighting a ban on armor-piercing "cop killer" bullets, and everybody appreciated the irony, and things went on as usual. Now, actual cops are being killed and Ice-T's on a successful TV cop show, so I guess we're all good.

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1 comment:

Greg said...

Why do so many NRA members stay with the organization, even those among them who are in favor of gun control?

Plain and Simple

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