Civilization & its Discontents: Community Organizer for Glenn Beck Draws Gun on Foreclosed Homeowner

A swhat?

That’s about it — after a homeowner questioned a man photographing his recently-foreclosed home, an argument ensued, and the photographer, an organizer for Glenn Beck’s 9/12 project, pulled out a firearm.

This story would be another ho-hum instance of far-right violence — like men toting rifles outside Obama events which, even with White House permission, is insane — but for the right wing’s vigorous online defense of the photographer. Let’s be clear on this, then: there’s no privilege to brandish a firearm, as in pointing it at someone, unless you’re facing an imminent threat to your life, or the life of others. Otherwise, it’s an assault, and you’ll go to jail, as this man should and will.

A freedom from the threat of violence is a basic right of every American, one that co-exists happily with the right to bear arms. Where the latter trumps the former, we have anarchy.

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26 comments

  1. Gotchaye · ·

    Well that’s proof, isn’t it? Those community organizers are a bunch of violent nuts on the political fringe.

    It should probably be noted that the post you link to identifies the resident as female, but the news article it links to doesn’t give a gender, and another news article I found gives the resident’s sex as male.

  2. God bless internet journalism :)

  3. From ACG:

    “This story would be another ho-hum instance of far-right violence — like men toting rifles outside Obama events…”

    That statement is so messed up I don’t know where to begin.

    1) How is it an example of’right wing violence’? If I pull a gun on someone is that another example of Catholic violence? Or white violence? Or Louisvillians with red hair violence? Unless his gun-pulling was somehow politically motivated (and even then it’s a stretch) then I don’t think this is an example of anything other than a gun owner showing bad judgement.

    2) How is it violent to carry a gun outside of a political event? Scary for some liberals? Yes. Legal? Yes. I don’t know how that = violence.

    1. Guns slung on someone’s back is no essential part of any protest, and the message of threatened violence that it sends is unequivocal

      1. Big difference between ‘threatened violence’ and actual violence. I would compare what they are doing to police officers wearing a gun on their hip verses a concealed carry. Or when the US plays war games with other countries in the vicinity of one of our enemies. It’s a show of force…and completely legal.

    2. Wait, I thought it was only criminals who got guns and showed bad judgment!? (JK)

    3. Wait a second, I just re-read your comment. He’s not equating it to violence, but the threat of violence.

      I think if you think these people are showing up, just happen to also wear their assault rifle everywhere and they just happen to show up at a political debate, at least from the descriptions of some of these men.

      “a protester posing for cameras with a pistol and sign reading, “It is time to water the tree of liberty” — a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote promising violence. And this past week, 12 armed men — including one with an assault rifle — not only showed off their firearms at Obama’s Arizona speech, but broadcast a YouTube video threatening to “forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority.”

      I still think this is a narrow group of people, but it seems these incidents bring more and more people out as the debates go on. This stuff shouldn’t be scary for just “liberals” but for a peaceful democracy. We shouldn’t get enraged enough where we’re brandishing guns to debates with references to violent revolution. But I love your reference to the debate being enemies from different countries. Great that’s where you think we are as a country.

      1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using legal means of demonstrating your passion for a cause. Liberals do so by chaining themselves to KFC doors or blocking streets to protest the IMF. Conservatives carry guns. Both are an attempt to bend the other side to their will…one is just slightly more persuasive.

        1. Yes, the second is more persuasive, because it threatens an extralegal act of violence. Our objection is that these kinds of vulgar intimidation tactics are more at home in China or Iran than here. It could be argued that when these regimes roll out the troops and tanks to quell dissent that if they don’t actually open fire they are technically using “non-violent persuasion” but the message is clear, if you don’t do what we say we will hurt you.

          1. So you’re saying it should be illegal to do what these people did?

          2. I’m certainly not. It should be legal, but it’s still stupid. Rights can but shouldn’t be abused.

            1. So it should remain legal – but they shouldn’t actually do it.

      2. One of the things that’s usually valued in America and seen as one of the cornerstones of a democracy, is the ability to compromise and have different people elected without falling into civil war and revolutions.

        I just find the threats of violence backed with armed men, disconcerting and not at all comparable to…chaining yourself to a tree.

        I guess I should take “heart” that they haven’t actually done violence, but I find it alarming.

  4. mike, if someone walked into your place of business with an assault rifle on his/her shoulder, how would you perceive that???

    1. No one is going to walk into my place of business with a gun because we have security guards and metal detectors at the entrance. Just like the President had at his rally.

      If people want to stand outside my business with guns, I have no problem with it. If anything happens as I’m driving in I have a loaded 9mm in my glove box.

      1. Assuming you can get to your glove box before they open fire that is.

        Seriously, angry men with semi-autos marching outside the building wouldn’t make you the slightest bit nervous?

        Also, an individual that feels the need to be armed and showing it at all times and who is not an officer of the law, is someone who is deeply and pitiably insecure. They have essentially abandoned the idea of civil and peaceful protest in favor of subtle threats of violence. A police officer has the right and duty to present a potent threat of violence as a deterrent to crime. These dinks with there big metal penis extensions marching about crying disjointedly about socialism do not.

        1. If I’m walking through a rough-looking area with a handgun in plain sight…am I not also deterring crime?

          And I fear folks with guns less than I fear most people’s driving. I would rather stand next to the agitated protestor with a gun than be on the road next to the yuppie on his Blackberry.

          1. Both points are irrelevant, the first because this is not a discussion of self defense in an area where crime is more likely to occur, but one about an implied threat of deadly violence made against a political opponent.

            The second is a disingenuous dismissal of the issued by using the statistically less likely chance of being shot as compared to being killed in a car accident to dodge the fact that there is a huge difference in the societal implications of being killed by a negligent motorist as opposed to being deliberately gunned down by someone as retribution for holding an opposing political viewpoint. One is negligent manslaughter; the other is often premeditated murder.

            1. I’m saying I have an equal fear of both… and I’m just slightly less scared of puppies.

        2. “Seriously, angry men with semi-autos marching outside the building wouldn’t make you the slightest bit nervous?”

          Pet peeve of mine, you’ve been using two non-interchangeable terms (“assault rifle” and “assault weapon”) as if they are. All assault rifles are assault weapons, but not all assault weapons are assault rifles. Specifically, there are no semi-auto assault rifles. Assault rifle’s a military/engineering term based on a gun’s functional characteristics: it means an automatic-fire rifle chambered for an intermediate-sized round (7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, or 5.56x45mm) and of reduced length and weight (compared to a battle rifle) to be more convenient for city and jungle combat, typically with an effective range of about a quarter mile at most. Assault weapon is a legal term referring to any weapon that meets the criteria the legislature picked for the term or is on the list the legislature specified by name (which is why “assault weapon” can include guns that aren’t even rifles, like pistols and shotguns, or of firing the wrong sort of bullets to be assault rifles, as shown by this handy list of what Maryland law says is an assault weapon), and it’s also a vernacular term for scary-looking semi-autos.

          “Also, an individual that feels the need to be armed and showing it at all times and who is not an officer of the law, is someone who is deeply and pitiably insecure. They have essentially abandoned the idea of civil and peaceful protest in favor of subtle threats of violence. A police officer has the right and duty to present a potent threat of violence as a deterrent to crime. These dinks with there big metal penis extensions marching about crying disjointedly about socialism do not.”

          Bullshit. Everyone has the right to lethal self-defense, it’s one of the two fundamental human rights. And everyone has the duty to lethal defense of others, it’s a basic moral obligation of being a decent person. As to “an individual that feels the need to be armed and showing it at all times”… they’re an individual doing what they should. The problem is that we’ve got a law and culture too influenced by the poisonous and immoral ideology of pacifism.

          As for police… yes, their job description partially includes exercising people’s self-defense rights on their behalf (although that’s a minimal portion of their job, which is really after-the-fact investigation of crime, and do note that a slew of SCOTUS rulings, most recently I believe Castle Rock v. Gonzales 545 U.S. 748 (2005), have affirmed that police have no obligation to deter crime or respond to crimes in progress). But, seriously, do you pay attention to the news? Have you browsed Youtube? Do you know anything about the history of this country? By and large, the police are powertripping thugs with badges. After the committably mentally ill and convicted criminals, they’re the last people who can be trusted to use weapons responsibly – and yet this country’s full of people like you who want to give them a monopoly on them? Cops shoot people’s pets for shits and giggles – but as the Black Panthers so rightly demonstrated, one thing that will keep a racist thug with a gun and a badge in line is having one of his intended victims following him around with a copy of the state criminal law and a 12-gauge of buckshot.

          1. That said, brandishing a gun at somebody for no good reason is rightly criminal. Also, it’s damned unsafe and irresponsible. Basic rule of gun safety: guns only ever get pointed at things that are ok to shoot. Period.

          2. Steve,

            You’re wasting your time trying to educate liberals about how to use ‘assault weapon’ properly. Most of them wouldn’t know the difference between a BB gun and an AK. They use the term because it sounds scary and to them guns are scary, unnecessary things.

          3. All right, now that you two have had fun beating the liberal straw man I’d best clarify a few things. One, I have no problem with gun ownership for self defense. I to am a happy gun owner and in the instance that some one enters my home with intent to do me harm I’ll use it. I don’t have a problem with assault weapons and don’t regard the assault weapons ban as an effective means of controlling gun violence and trafficking. While I’m not entirely sold on the idea of concealed carry laws I’ll give the idea a chance so long a effective measures are taken to ensure that those in possession are law abiding and sane.

            To get back to the actual discussion, this is not about the right to bear arms in general but about whether or not it is appropriate to be displaying a firearm in the public forum. I must reiterate that it is not. When one enters into debate in the public square it is with the unspoken assumption that your opposition should not retaliate violently. This of course is not always true but when you enter the public forum armed you presume that that trust is absent which means that your opposition can not trust you to behave civilly either. This makes meaningful debate impossible. It is an un-democratic and unproductive display of insecurity and paranoia on the part of perpetrator.

            The last point you made seems to be a reiteration of the idea that if the government fears its people it will keep out of peoples business. I can see the logic behind this thought the Black Panther Party is hardly a shining example of this principal. If anything they are a fine example of what happens when a private organization with limited resources tries to play the “My gun’s bigger then your gun” game with the government. That is, they lost, hard. Sure they may have gotten the local flatfoots to back off but that hardly stopped the FBI from tearing the party apart and stomping it out of existence in less then a decade after its creation. Further, the void this destruction left in leadership in many of the poorest black communities has been linked to the formation and perpetuation of the past 40 years gang warfare and unending poverty in these communities. The first, best chance for effecting change in your leadership is at the ballot box and in the courtroom, when you’re reaching for your rifle its already to late.

            1. I would never advocate allowing those guns to be taken into a townhall. Standing outside with one is free speech.

      2. and why do you have security guards and metal detectors??? afraid of something or someone??

        1. Actually it’s to prevent stealing since we have a lot of expensive equipment in the building…but it works both ways.

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