I didn’t want to have to write about guns again any time soon as the subject had been beaten to death, but here we go again with more right-wing wackjobs deciding that the federal government is tyrannical and that killing police officers and shooting up a Wal-Mart somehow will trigger a “revolution.” “Revolution,” “oppressive government,” “tyranny” and “FEMA death camps” are common buzz words tossed about on almost any conservative or gun forum, website or Facebook page without the realization that if they did indeed live under a dictatorship, they would have been marched to a ditch and shot en masse.
To say that all conservatives or gun owners subscribe to this hysterical rhetoric is of course, completely false. Yet, many of them tolerate it or look the other way, afraid to speak out against the lunatics that have taken over the asylum. They operate under the assumption that by attempting to squelch the voices of bat shit crazy on their side, that action would somehow be aiding in a “victory” for the political opposition. Any criticism, any pleas to tone down the rhetoric and think in a reasonable, rational manner is being painted as treason, as handing ammunition to the other side and that’s a huge problem our conservative friends are dealing with right now.
Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ron Paul and some other right-wing political pundits and politicians fan the flames of paranoia and mistrust for a living. Seriously, this is how they make their money, by keeping their followers angry, agitated and living in fear that any moment now President Obama is coming for their guns and their way of life. One of the Las Vegas shooters’ Facebook posts looking for a gun shows just how angry and convinced that the government is a tyrannical oppressor some of these more unhinged individuals are. I have blurred out his name as other media outlets have reported it and I do not believe in giving them the attention they may have sought.
As Paul Waldman points out in the “Plum Line” at the Washington Post, some of the blame laid at the feet of conservative pundits and politicians for whipping up these mentally disturbed individuals is indeed justified:
The most obvious component is the fetishization of firearms and the constant warnings that government will soon be coming to take your guns. But that’s only part of it. Just as meaningful is the conspiracy theorizing that became utterly mainstream once Barack Obama took office. If you tuned into one of many national television and radio programs on the right, you heard over and over that Obama was imposing a totalitarian state upon us. You might hear that FEMA was building secret concentration camps (Glenn Beck, the propagator of that theory, later recanted it, though he has a long history of violent rhetoric), or that Obama is seeding the government with agents of the Muslim Brotherhood. You grandfather probably got an email offering proof that Obama is literally the antichrist.
Meanwhile, conservatives have become prone to taking the political disagreements of the moment and couching them in apocalyptic terms, encouraging people to think that if Democrats have their way on any given debate, that our country, or at the very least our liberty, might literally be destroyed. (Source)
This right-wing media conspiracy nonsense isn’t just in response to the United States electing its first black president, the fears of UN commandos swooping in with Blackhawk helicopters and establishing a One World Order have been a mainstay of the paranoid fringe for decades now. However, it seems that it has become an acceptable, inflammatory piece of the more mainstream conservative dialogue each time a Democrat is elected to the White House. Those elections bring those hallucinating, paranoid individuals and the media personalities that cater to their every crazy idea to the forefront. There’s seemingly an Alex Jones or Michael Savage for every part of the conspiracy nut market. Believe that the president is somehow a shape-shifting, time-traveling alien from another dimension? There’s someone there to tell you that’s true and sell you videos or books to reaffirm your delusion, crank up the paranoia for further profit and then hide behind the 1st Amendment when one of their followers finally snaps and starts blowing away cops and bystanders like the recent shooting in Nevada.
It is so far out of control now that the NRA is afraid to stand up to “Call of Duty” armchair warriors who tote AR-15s into the baby aisle at Target, and their only response to one mass shooting after another is “we need more guns.” The right-wing hate and paranoia machine is cranked so far up now that I am afraid that further such incidents aren’t a question of if, but when. People like Alex Jones and others who control the volume could plead for people to calm down and attempt to back the lunatics away from the edge of the cliff, but they won’t. They won’t because they risk losing their fan base and that’s there’s someone else out there that these lunatics will spend their time, money and votes on instead. Condemning these acts of domestic terrorism and attempting to restore some order is what the right-wing media and politicians should do, but they won’t. To them, money and power are more important than the lives of innocent people.
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