August 17, 2009

OH NO: Crazies with guns everywhere!

I love this bit: “And that’s not all. A man brought a gun to a town hall with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) last week, without incident.” Stop the presses! A man brought a gun without incident!

This, on the other hand, is mostly incoherent: “At Obama’s town hall last week in Portsmouth, N.H., a man was arrested for having a gun hidden in his car after the Secret Service found him at Portsmouth High School hours before Obama arrived carrying a pocketknife. He didn’t have a license for a concealed weapon.”

Does Obama need a license for a concealed weapon to carry a pocketknife? . . . . And if so, why didn’t they arrest him, too?

Okay, that’s just snark. But really, if you’re going to sell the image of crazy armed mobs everywhere!!!! you’re going to need better anecdotes than this. And, you know, a mastery of 8th grade grammar.

But one of my regular correspondents thinks these incidents are all a ruse by the authorities: “Here’s the set up for that Boston Massacre type of event I keep goin’ on about…”

I’m not seeing it, but then I’m well-known to be Polyannaish in outlook. However, assuming that these aren’t agents provocateurs but rather militant gun-rights activists trying to counter “denormalization,” well, I think this is a bad idea and I’d urge them to reconsider. Barbecue joints are one thing, Presidential appearances another.

Matt Welch has related thoughts. Plus, if people had showed up with guns at Bush events, do you think the press would have spun it as evidence of Bush’s unpopularity?

UPDATE: Reader Nathaniel Ferguson writes:

This is not just a poorly written statement, it also brings up a couple of questions.

1. Is it illegal to carry a pocket knife?

2. Is it illegal to carry a pocket knife in a location where the President is going to be in the near future?

3. Is being found with a pocket knife (oh the horror of it!) grounds for the police to search your car? Did the police have to get a warrant for that?

4. Does a person need to have a concealed carry permit to have a firearm in their car? It doesn’t seem that he was carrying the gun on his person.

5. What’s next, police will visit gunowners’ homes in towns the President will visit at some point in the future and take their guns away before he arrives?

I could be wrong, but I think the Secret Service offers adequate protection for the President in the event of a potential Swiss Army Knife wielding maniac.

If not, our tax dollars are going to waste. Meanwhile, I’ll note that the worst actual violence at any Town Hall event was the Ken Gladney beating. But when a black guy is beaten by white union supporters of Obama’s healthcare plan, it’s not news.

Plus, eliminationist rhetoric from the Green Party? Well, Ken Gladney certainly experienced that “smash critics” talk firsthand.

MORE: SayUncle: “Black man with a gun not breaking the law. Press panics.” Well, it does kind of blow their preferred racial narrative.

STILL MORE: Bob Owens deflates lefty shock:

The armed protesters at events in Arizona and New Hampshire were never “at” Obama’s meetings. They were never inside of the security perimeter that the Secret Service establishes for Presidential appearances. They weren’t ever close.

The protester in New Hampshire who had a gun in a tactical drop-leg rig was on private property well away from the Obama appearance (I’ve heard estimates of ½ to ¾ mile away) and was never in direct line of sight of either the venue or the motorcade. He never remotely a threat to the President, nor did he intend to be.

Likewise, those open carry advocates at yesterday’s event in Arizona arranged for a police liaison the day before the event, and were constantly afforded security by the Phoenix Police Department and had at least one known Secret Service agent shadowing them to assure they were following the law. These citizens were never anywhere near the President, nor did they attempt to go anywhere near the Secret Service’s security perimeter that cordoned off the event and the building in which it was held.

As for the citizens ejected by the Secret Service during President Bush’s meetings in the past, I can’t claim to know much about the specific instances they refer to, but they do make clear these were citizens inside the event location when they were ejected.

Read the whole thing.

FINALLY: The White House and Secret Service are fine with armed protesters. Go figure. Tempest, meet teapot! Er, and somebody tell the folks at Talking Points Memo that they’re diverging from the, er, talking points . . . .

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