Don’t Ignore The ‘Why’ With Extreme Gun Ownership

A woman no doubt prepared for when Biden tries to invade her driveway.

Back in late 1999, I was chatting with my immediate boss at the Internet startup I worked at. We were walking to our cars at the end of the workday, and he asked me about what my New Year’s plans were, and I told him, and he said “well, I’m worried Clinton is using this Y2K stuff as an excuse to attack us.”

I asked him what he meant, and he told me about how Clinton was going to declare martial law and occupy the country, throwing us into concentration camps. But I knew that was what he meant. I had already been a guy who hung out from time to time in online communities, back then known as “chat groups.” I had seen enough wackadoodles who were proclaiming that it was clear to them, as REAL AMERICANS, that Clinton was up to no good with this Y2K stuff, and they were ready to resist when Bill tried to pull any martial law stuff when society was falling apart on January 1.

One of the guys that I worked with was a retired Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist who was with us part-time and also with Mellon Bank part-time as one of the armies of people fixing old code to avoid such a mess. So I knew it was a real problem, and not some government trickery designed to imprison us all. Then when we got through it all on New Year’s Day with minimal problems, I knew that my co-worker and his colleagues had fixed the issue. But not this guy.

He was convinced that indeed, it was the right-wingers banding together that gave ol’ Bill second thoughts about any chicanery. The local and national right-wing radio hosts proclaimed victory as well. It was the very well-armed citizen militia that scared off the liberal would-be conquerors and saved liberty.

I tell this story because in 2000, this was a view held by extremists, the fringe, but no longer. It now has moved into the mainstream Republican Party: That at any time, those evil government liberals may attack and take away freedom. Therefore, we the people must be armed to the teeth in self-defense.

The far-right has believed all sorts of nutty stuff over the years. At various times during the Obama administration, the online fever swamp predicted the complete collapse of the stock market and economy. I’d see threads on a gardening forum I was part of, that was an odd mix of old lefties and crazed survivalists, with titles like “What is your strategy to defend your vegetable garden from food looters during the coming collapse?”. If you wondered whether guns were part of that garden defense, oh you betcha.

There were also crazed right-wing conspiracies during Obama’s time, such as those FEMA coffins that many of us were going to end up in when we were sent to the Obama concentration camps.

I sort of see a turning point for all of this scary craziness happening in 2015, during the Jade Helm hysteria. For those who do not remember, Jade Helm 15 was a military exercise held in Texas that the conservative media universe glommed onto as evidence of an attempt by Obama to…invade Texas. Why invade Texas? Well, that ranged from taking over the state and turning it into a lefty dictatorship to imprisoning conservative politicians (probably in those concentration camps).

This would be all fine and good if this was the strong belief of just the craziest guys at the diner counter or the wackiest Reddit subgroup. But, Horrible Human Being Greg Abbott – yes, that Greg Abbott – was the new Texas governor, and he took it seriously enough to *deploy Texas National Guard troops to monitor military personnel*.

Hard not to see that as a “through the looking glass” moment for the American right. Besides Abbott, you had people like Cancun Vacationer Ted Cruz talking about how he “understood people’s concerns” given how the government has acted leading up to that point. You now had Meet the Press guests slinging this garbage.

Some Republicans raised red flags about that type of rhetoric, but those people are either now fully on board with the crazy, out of the party, or keeping quiet. Today, we have mainstream Republican elected officials fanning the flames of insanity about guns. Their rhetoric is much more open about the idea you must have an arsenal in your home to defend yourself, and it’s not just from burglars. They are quite clear, it’s about fighting this phantom government threat, that somehow, The Squad led by Col. AOC and General Pramila Jayapal could sic the U.S. military on God-fearing Real Americans at any time. And you better have your AR-15 ready to go as the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is closing in on your suburban compound with orders to imprison or kill from Chuck Schumer.

That level of delusion is real and is a key part of American gun culture. That elementary school kids can be slaughtered so easily with weapons that are sacred to that culture is just a small price to pay for “freedom.”

Yes, children lost their lives thanks in part a crazed fantasy that no sane person would believe.

The last word goes to The Black Crowes.