Stupid People With Guns
Monday 05 April 2010
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
I'm sitting inside my dark little office on a sunny day to write this, and believe me, it's a sacrifice. We got more than 14 inches of rain here in Boston during the month of March, and it has reached the point that people have forgotten what the sun is. They're outside right now sacrificing goats and Pekingese dogs to the Yellow Orb God so the harvest will be good. Well, no, not really, but you get the idea. If it had been snow all through this last month, we'd all be dead, and now it's nice out for the first time in five months and I'm inside writing.
Because I've stopped being appalled and aghast and unsettled by all these brain-donor right-wingers who have been making threats and breaking windows and running people off the road. I've stopped being appalled, and now I'm just pissed. I have had enough of these blowhards, these false heroes, these empty patriots, these bigots and liars and doomed fools. It is enough.
Press play to listen to author William Rivers Pitt read his column, "Stupid People With Guns":
Press play to listen to author William Rivers Pitt read his column, "Stupid People With Guns":
I'm also pissed at myself, because at least a small part of the problem is my fault, too. The more attention these wingnut gasbags get, the more their profile gets raised, and that's no good for any of us. I mean, come on, all the networks show Sarah Palin on a daily basis for the same reason they show car accidents and people stuck sideways on amusement rides (that one occupied a fair portion of CNN's afternoon broadcast the other day). It's the spectacle of it all, the sad and sorry spectacle, and as a writer, it's hard to resist. When someone shows up at a health care town hall meeting and starts shrieking, "Keep your damn government hands off my Medicare," well, the die is cast. Every picture I see of these Tea Party gatherings looks like the monthly meeting of the There But By The Grace Of God Go I Society, and laying off them has proven exceedingly difficult.
Well, no more. This last time will have to pay for all, because I am done paying mind to that which is wholeheartedly, proudly and oh-so-conspicuously mindless. I'm missing out on a beautiful day so I can let these people know what I really think of them, their whole agenda, and what exactly they can do with it, one final time.
I know plenty of people, liberal and conservative, who are politically angry and not shy about sharing their opinions. My conservative friends are up in arms about what they perceive as an unacceptable expansion of government power - who, because they have integrity, also felt the same during the Bush years when George and the boys were piloting one of the largest federal expansions in modern American history - and my liberal friends are furious about the decision to open offshore drilling, about the public option head-fake, about the escalation in Afghanistan, and about any number of other things.
They're mad, but they're not stupid.
Really, that's the thing here.
There are right-wing people who are angry, and there are right wing people who are angry and stupid, and that turns out to be a pretty ridiculous combination, especially when these angry stupids also happen to own firearms.
The most recent example of this, of course, is this Hutaree group in Michigan. Long story short, a bunch of Taliban-style, Biblical, absolutist bucketheads who were armed to the teeth decided the End Times had arrived, and were gearing up to go to war against the Antichrist. As it turned out, however, His Satanic Majesty was booked elsewhere that week, and these Hutaree people found themselves in need of a new target. They found one: cops. Their plan was to go kill some cops, and then attack the funerals of the cops they killed so they could kill more cops, along, presumably, with cop wives and cop kids and cop parents and cop friends. Fortunately, they got busted, and are now going away.
Why did Hutaree think the seven bowls were in the process of being spilled? Funny you should ask, because it's pretty damned funny. Apparently, at some point, they received a chain email about a bill before the house called H.R. 1388. The text of the email read:
Something happened ... H.R. 1388 was passed yesterday, behind our backs. You may want to read about it. It wasn't mentioned on the news ... just went by on the ticker tape at the bottom of the CNN screen. Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA. This is the news that didn't make the headlines.
By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in "migration assistance" to the Palestinian refugees and "conflict victims" in Gaza. The "presidential determination", which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States, was signed on January 27 and appeared in the Federal Register on February 4.
Doubtful? To verify this for yourself: www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2009-02-04-E9-2488 PLEASE PASS THIS ON ... AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW. WE are losing this country at a rapid pace.
Doubtful? You'd better be, because this is gold-medal-winning gibberish from soup to nuts. H.R. 1388 was a bill that expanded AmericaCorps and other federal aid programs dramatically, which the geniuses from Hutaree could have found out for themselves in about 12 seconds, had they bothered to look the bill up ... and never mind the fact that this email describes a House bill and an executive order in the same breath, as if they were the same thing.
The stupid ... it burns ...
Of course, another breathless accusation leveled by another chain email claimed that H.R. 1388 was establishing a required stint of public service for all Americans, which wasn't true either, but that wasn't juicy enough for Hutaree. No, they got an email from Somewhere Out There saying that Hamas was moving in down the block thanks to the president; they didn't bother to look the thing up for themselves, and boom, it was cocked-and-locked-let's-find-a-cop time.
Obama is bringing Hamas to America? Jesus wept.
This miraculous breed of pure stupid has managed to dig itself in pretty deep with a certain subset of American humanity, to the point that black-letter history itself is up for review and redaction. Steven Thomma, writing recently for McClatchy, nails it to the shed:
In articles and speeches, on radio and TV, conservatives are working to redefine major turning points and influential figures in American history, often to slam liberals, promote Republicans and reinforce their positions in today's politics.
The Jamestown settlers? Socialists. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton? Ill-informed professors made up all that bunk about him advocating a strong central government. Theodore Roosevelt? Another socialist. Franklin D. Roosevelt? Not only did he not end the Great Depression, he also created it. Joe McCarthy? Liberals lied about him. He was a hero.
Some conservatives say it's a long-overdue swing of the pendulum after years of liberal efforts to define history on their terms in classrooms and in popular culture. "We are adding balance," Texas school board member Don McLeroy said. "History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left."
"History in the popular world is always a political football," said Alan Brinkley, a historian at Columbia University. "The right is unusually mobilized at the moment."
Unusually mobilized? Sure. That's what happens when stupid people get lied to IN A VERY LOUD VOICE.
Who do you blame for this phenomenon? I suppose the fact that America's education system has been getting bled year after year to support an unimaginably overblown and overpriced "national defense" arsenal should bear some of the burden. Sure, certain dark corners of Christianity have had their hateful and demented effect. The media can take a big bite of the blame apple, either for aggrandizing the demonstrably idiotic, or for taking the worst aspects of it and flashing it across the sky with klieg lights.
Oh, and don't forget the Republican Party, which considers these bozos their "useful idiots" and uses them to great effect, but not before getting them to vacuum up quarters from between the couch cushions to fund RNC efforts toward preventing Hillary Clinton from mandating abortions for all pregnant Christian girls in the land. The GOP got these people all worked up while picking their pamphlet-filled pockets all the while, and the funny part is they're now as afraid of their own base as Bart Stupak is.
What we have here is nothing more or less than stupid people with guns, and you know what? I'm fine with guns. I believe Americans should have them if they want them. I believe in reasonable limitations on being able to purchase assault weapons and bazookas because, well, the words "well-regulated" are right there in the Amendment next to "militia." I believe in background checks to make sure you're not buying a gun because your medication ran out. But I've come to believe that being able to buy and own a gun should also involve passing a fairly difficult civics exam. Before someone goes out to buy a gun in defense of their country and their liberty, we should have some kind of metric to determine if that person actually knows anything about the country, and knows anything about the roots and truths of the liberty they claim to cherish.
If we can't or won't cure the stupid, at least we can disarm it.
In the meantime, I have one last comment I wish to address specifically to those of whom I speak. You, sir or madam, are a small fraction of a person. Your hate has overtaken your higher faculties, and that makes you pathetic beyond words. You are not a hero or a patriot. You are watching the world pass you by, and that scares the cheese out of you. For you, stupid is a defense mechanism, a comfortable blanket wrapped around your head to drown out that which you fear, hate and misunderstand. It is not too late for you, but I'm through waiting to see if you are capable of anything beyond the low behavior and sorry spectacle you have displayed to date. This is America, and you have a right to your grandiose, willful stupidity, but I choose to exercise my right to tune you out. You are a fart in the wind, and I have more important things to do than truck with the likes of you.
Screw these people. I'm going outside.
This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.