Update: Thanks to reader Jamie C. for pointing out that The National Association for Gun Rights appears to have taken notice of the media attention and reversed the direction of the gun in this image on its website.
A new scare campaign backed by Senator Rand Paul and aimed at gun owners literally features an image of a gun pointed at the President’s head.
The National Association for Gun Rights, which Rand supports, is alleging (with no factual support other than their fevered imagination) that President Obama plans to ban millions of guns. The emails with the image are signed by Paul. The group are also fundraising off this allegation, which echoes those made by the National Rifle Association.
Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Raw Story:
We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president — would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president's] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.
Death threats against the President are 400% higher than those against Bush.
Last week, a New York man who made a death threat and a Virginia man who made threats and said “Ted Nugent was right” were arrested. Nugent made comments alluding to assassination should Obama be reelected in April.
I reported in April on how stickers were being sold with ‘Liberal Hunting Permit’ on them and how violent, extreme rhetoric has become pervasive on right-wing websites, including Fox Nation.
In March, the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) reported on “truly stunning growth” in the anti-government “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.
Last September, the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement officials entitled “Sovereign Citizens: A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement” that describes the movement (who believe they are not obliged to pay federal taxes, follow most laws, or comply with requirements for driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations) as “domestic terrorist” after a series of violent incidents including murders of police officers.
Rhetoric has consequences
Just a sample of some of the domestic terrorism incidents since 2008 include the murder of three Pittsburgh police officers by a disturbed man convinced the government intended to confiscate his guns, as well as James David Adkisson, who plotted to murder and kill people in the San Francisco ACLU. A white supremacist bomb plot narrowly avoided in Spokane before the MLK march. Firebombings and vandalism of local Democratic campaign offices.
There was the pipe bomb attack on a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida. A Republican editor of a county Republican newsletter advocating a coup d’etat. Then there is the ongoing terrorism against abortion providers, including the murder of Dr. George Tiller, gunned down at his church by an individual who was encouraged to act in part by the rhetoric of Bill O’Reilly who frequent refereed to the doctor as “Tiller the Baby Killer.”
SPLC warned in February that, based on the documented growth of violent attacks:
If the primaries generate more attacks on the nation’s first black president based on complete falsehoods — that he is a secret Muslim, a Kenyan, a radical leftist bent on destroying America — it’s likely that the poison will spread. And if he wins reelection next fall, the reaction of the extreme right, already angry and on the defensive as the white population diminishes, could be truly frightening.
In this context, Rand’s actions are truly irresponsible.
Photo credit: National Association for Gun Rights email