George Graham

Appreciating the Irony of Gun Appreciation Day

 

 The people who worry about the government coming to take their guns turn out to be mostly white and mostly very, very dumb. So dumb that five  people were shot accidentally during Gun Appreciation Day events this month.

During the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, NC, three people were sprayed with birdshot when a 12-gauge shotgun accidentally went off at a security check point.  A man was shot in the hand, a woman was hit in the side, and a retired deputy sheriff received a head injury.

At the Medina County Gun Show in Ohio, a man accidentally shot his friend in the arm and leg when handling a semi-automatic handgun he had just bought. Officials said the wounds were caused by a bullet ricocheting off the floor.

And in Indianapolis, a man shot himself in the head while loading his .45 caliber semi-automatic as he left the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show.

As Matt Taibbi observes in Rolling Stone magazine:

You can’t make this stuff up… You literally can’t script a worse outcome for a political sideshow meant to highlight Americans’ love of the wholesome, safe exercise of gun rights.

Taibbi adds that the conservative activists who planned the event to counteract the current groundswell of public opinion in favor of gun control were sponsored at first by “the American Third Position,” a group that purports to represent “the unique political interests of White Americans.”  The event organizers ended their affiliation with the white supremacists as soon as it was publicized, but still held their nationwie events on Martin Luther King Day.

Taibbi writes:

So now, Political Media has not only decided to hold its Gun Appreciation Event on a holiday meant to celebrate the life of a black leader who was a symbol of nonviolent protest and who was killed by a white man with a gun, it’s done so with the financial help of some yahoo white supremacist group. But this doesn’t derail the whole thing, as it’s of course just an innocent mistake. Political Media kicks “Third Position” out and appropriately issues a statement, saying, “We have removed the group and reiterate this event is not about racial politics, it is about gun politics.”

So what is “gun politics” about?

Of course, the main special interest group involved is the National Riffle Association, which claims to represent the interests of American gun owners but actually fronts for the weapons manufacturers. And as strident as the NRA has been in blocking any and all common-sense gun control, there are other – even more ferocious – organizations across the country.

According to an NBC report:

Saying that the National Rifle Association is too willing to compromise with gun-control advocates, 22 state and 5 national pro-gun groups have coalesced in recent weeks to form the National Coalition to Stop the Gun Ban. Among the national groups involved is Gun Owners of America, which claims a membership of 300,000.

I’m sure some of the people who join these gun rights groups are well meaning, but I’m equally sure there are thousands of “white-power” militants among the groups’ members.  “White power” groups are forming militias and arming themselves apparently in anticipation of some kind of assault on America by the United Nations or by federal government forces – or simply in response to the increasing diversity in America and election of the nation’s first black president.

These militias are proliferating alarmingly.

According to Ron Carver, a former field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies :

Today, the proliferation of armed hate groups, which sometimes call themselves militias, is at least as dangerous as isolated, unbalanced, and gun-toting men with scores to settle. The number of anti-government so-called Patriot groups, such as armed militias, grew by 755 percent in the first three years of President Barack Obama’s first term, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The number of these groups rose from 149 at the end of 2008 to 1,274 in 2011, the SPLC reports.

Hate groups have expanded into every state but Hawaii. They are in everyone’s backyard.

There’s obviously more to the “gun rights” movement than love of the United States Constitution. And we are not getting enough information about the hidden forces at work in the nationwide resistance to common-sense regulations proposed by President Obama.  

Photos above show the gun appreciation day poster (left) and gun rights protester Joseph Gabriele of Littleton, Colorado at the state Capitol in Denver.

Click here for Taibbi’s article.

Click here to read about white vigilantes.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com