On April 18 and 19, I attended gun shows in Antioch, California, and Reno, Nevada, to probe the culture of gun enthusiasts at the onset of the Obama era. I came away from these events with a portrait of a heavily armed, tightly organized movement incited by right-wing radio to a fever-pitched resentment of President Obama and his allies in Congress. Even as the economy suffers, gun dealers and their Washington lobbyists are leveraging renewed anti-government sentiment into unprecedented sales figures and fattened membership rolls. “We’ve been swamped today,” an NRA representative from Antioch boasted. “We’ve practically ran out of our materials that we give away at sign-up.”
Fueled by the screeds of radio hosts Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and the lesser-known but increasingly influential online conspiracist Alex Jones, many gun-show attendees I spoke to were convinced Obama planned to usher in a Marxist dictatorship. They warned that the president’s power grab would only begin with mass gun seizures. “If Obama takes away our guns,” a young, .45 pistol-toting man from Reno told me, “it’s just a step into trying to take away everything else.”
I will be on MSNBC at 9:30 AM this Tuesday discussing Palin’s latest political disaster. I should have a Youtube clip up at some point soon. Until then, I leave you with an email I received from an apparent apologist for spousal rape:
Regrettably, America and the rest of the Western world is currenlt overrun with fucking pantywaists like you, who relentlessly work to marginalize any man who offends feminist nutbags (like Leah Burton).
I don’t know where you lost your masculinity, or why you feel the need to turn your society into a matriarchy, but it probably won’t work (either way, if you know what I mean). What a piece of shit you are, though.
Palin's Attorney General nominee, Wayne Anthony Ross, allegedly declared, "If a man can't rape his wife, who's he gonna rape?"
While priming her political machine for a likely 2012 presidential primary run, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has fomented a scandal that threatens to further erode her reputation in the Last Frontier. In March, Palin nominated Wayne Anthony Ross for attorney general. Ross, a colorful far-right lawyer and longtime Palin ally who sports his initials, W.A.R., on his Hummer’s vanity plates, was once considered a shoo-in for confirmation. However, his nomination was thrown into grave peril when his opponents presented evidence that he called homosexuals “degenerates,” leveled invective against an African-American student offended by a statue of a Klansman, vowed to undermine the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and allegedly defended men who rape their wives. According to two sources close to the confirmation hearings, Palin may ask Ross to withdraw before his appointment comes to a vote.
According to Burton, who detailed the allegations for me, Ross allegedly declared during a speech before a 1991 gathering of the “father’s rights” group Dads Against Discrimination, “If a guy can’t rape his wife, who’s he gonna rape?”
Palin’s hopes for a swift confirmation process were dashed April 10 when Leah Burton, a veteran lobbyist on children’s issues and domestic violence, submitted aletter to the Alaska State Judiciary Committee claiming that Ross publicly defended spousal rape. According to Burton, who detailed the allegations for me, Ross allegedly declared during a speech before a 1991 gathering of the “father’s rights” group Dads Against Discrimination, “If a guy can’t rape his wife, who’s he gonna rape?” (In a subsequent letter, Ross denied the remark and claimed, “I don’t talk like that!”)
On April 6, two days after the 22-year-old Richard Poplawski allegedly murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, a radio host named Alex Jones settled in before a microphone in his studio in Austin, Texas, to do some damage control. “The mainstream media has certainly enjoyed tying me into this story,” Jones complained. “They’re attacking me and saying I’m delusional and there’s no New World Order… The Second Amendment, what the country’s founded on—it’s all my fault!”
Poplawski was a neo-Nazi wannabe who railed against blacks, Jews, “Zionists,” and gun control. And like many members of the far-right fringe, he allegedly visited Jones’ Web sites and posted alarming reports by Jones’ writers on Stormfront, a white-supremacist message board. (Poplawski’s posts are here, authored under the handle, “Braced For Fate.”) While Alex Jones generally avoids overt racism, he has found an eager audience on Stormfront by conjuring dark visions of an impending New World Order, claiming FEMA is secretly building a national concentration-camp network, and announcing that President Barack Obama has planned mass gun seizures on his way to establishing a leftist dictatorship. “Remember, the first step in establishing a dictatorship is to disarm the citizens,” warned a March 13commentary on Jones’ Web site, Prison Planet.
In the wake of Poplawski’s alleged murder spree, the killer’s friends and family members painted a portrait of a paranoid young man whose worldview was informed almost totally by the kind of conspiratorial themes entertained by Jones. Poplawski’s best friend, Edward Perkovic, who also spouted white-supremacist rhetoric, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his friend “grew angry recently over fears Obama would outlaw guns.” Poplawski’s mother remarked to police investigators that her son targeted cops “because he believed that as a result of economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society.”