Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On armed protestors at the town halls

I'm probably more in favor of the right to bear arms than one might expect given my "flaming godless liberal" ways. But this quote from Talking Points Memo (here) is a good one.

In a stunning amount of irony, Mansonite Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was released from prison this week, after 34 years in prison. The gun she pointed at President Ford had no bullet in the firing chamber-- unlike Sarah Jane Moore, she never even pulled the trigger or fired. Presumably, these gun nuts showing up for the health care events have their weapons actually loaded. I repeat, Fromme did *34 years in prison.* Where, may I ask, was the Secret Service today? Far be it from me to tell them how to do their job, but letting armed extremists near the President of the United States would appear to not be in their job description. Were the AR-15 guys questioned? Detained? Quite frankly, given the history of political violence in this country, I would think that the operative policy would be to disarm these guys first and ask questions later. The legal standard for determining what is a threat to the President is rather low, as these things go (as I recall, requiring only a threat and an apparent ability to carry it out-- Francisco Duran, while he fired his gun, never got within a hundred yards of President Clinton, who was behind several walls at the time. He's doing 40 years in prison.). What is going on here?

While I don't believe the police need to intervene if the gun remains holstered, the reality is the Bush administration had no problem with keeping folks with anti-war t-shirts way the fuck away from his rallies. So I think it's perfectly reasonable to draw a big 500 yard radius with a "no firearms allowed" sign.

But then "perfectly reasonable" doesn't seem to get me much these days.

Maybe I'll start shouting.

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