Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women, Part Two


The gun nuts are now armed and taking target practice in preparation for the Conservative War Against Women, as we see as we continue with Part Two of Mark Follman's article at Mother Jones, "Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women."


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"The Female Mannequin Firing Squad


"Open Carry Texas takes pains to convey a clean, friendly image in the press. Last November, the group made national news after some 40 members armed with assault rifles showed up outside an Arlington, Texas, restaurant where four women from Moms Demand Action were having lunch. The group released a statement saying it was being misunderstood: 'In reality, the peaceful gun owners were posing for a photo.' After a rally outside Austin City Hall this April, Grisham told the Texas Tribune, 'We're not out there to bait police officers or to scare the community. We wave, we smile, we hand out fliers. If we see someone who seems really nervous, we’ll talk to them.'

"What the group hasn't publicized are some of its members' more degrading antics. In March, a group of them held a 'mad minute' at a firing range, pulverizing a female mannequin with a hail of bullets. They positioned the figure with her hands raised in surrender, naked from the waist up. Afterward, they posed with the bullet-riddled mannequin, her arms blown off and her pants down at her ankles. 'Mad minute' is a military expression referring to a burst of rapid fire, and Open Carry Texas members have often referred to Moms Demand Action as 'mad moms.'

"Four of the men who shot up the mannequin were present at the Arlington restaurant, including one listed by Open Carry Texas as a board member and the group's Director of Operations.

"Grisham said he was not part of the group at the gun range, but when the mannequin video was posted on Facebook, he commented: 'Warms the cockles of my heart.' Recently he called women from Moms Demand Action 'ignorant, retarded people,' and last fall he referred to them as 'thugs with jugs.'

"'My purpose with language like that was to draw attention to the hypocrisy,' Grisham says, noting that opponents have used similar invective. 'A lot of times when I make these statements, I'm making them in jest, based on language that's being used against us. I've since decided that it's petty, it's childish, I'm not going to play those childish games anymore, so you wont catch me using 'thugs with jugs'. I've moved on.'

"Listen, I Don't Want to Beat an Old Guy Up"


"Last October, hundreds of armed people gathered for a rally at the Alamo in San Antonio, where Open Carry Texas had invited Alex Jones, the fringe radio host known for whipping up fans with squalls of anti-government paranoia. At the podium, an assault rifle strapped across his back, Jones got into such a lather about Hitler and Mao and the Obama administration preparing to 'enslave' Americans that he blew out his voice in less than five minutes. 'These scumbags are all the same!' he shouted. He described a worldwide conspiracy to take away everyone's guns, whose perpetrators included 'the few dozen Democratic Party operatives they're gonna have marching here in a little while, the so-called moms.'

"At the end of his speech, Jones had one last thing to say to the cheering crowd: 'Don't be mean to the million mom march, all five of 'em. These are pathetic zombies. Just realize they're stupid victims that want us to live like they do, slaves.'
"Jones soon headed to a Moms event for kids, to 'confront the victim disarmament crew."
"Jones then hugged CJ Grisham before heading out to, as he would later put it on his show, 'confront the victim disarmament crew.' He went to a local taco bar about a mile away, where Moms Demand Action was holding a midday kids' event with crafts and family activities. Jones and his camera crew began cornering members of the group. The women told him they weren't interested in talking on camera, but he kept at it.

"An older couple walked over to intervene, the man telling Jones, 'A gun grab is something that nobody in this country wants.' Jones got in the man's face, hands gesticulating, chest puffed out. 'Well sir, all I can say is you're really gettin' in my space!'

'"Well, why don't you back up?' the man said.

"'No, I'm not gonna back up.' Jones retorted, inching in closer. 'You're the one got in my space.' He glanced over to his camera crew. 'Look at this, look at this guy.'


"The woman tried to pull her husband away. 'All right, go ahead,' Jones continued. 'Listen, I don't want to beat an old guy up,' he added, poking the man's chest. 'So don't touch me.'

"As Jones went on, Stephanie Lundy of Moms Demand Action approached his sidekick, Anthony Gucciardi, to tell him who the couple was: Lonnie and Sandy Philips, whose 24-year-old daughter Jessica was murdered in the 2012 gun massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Gucciardi ignored her, according to Lundy.

"Jones kept up the baiting. 'Did you know assault rifles are used in 2 percent of crimes?'

"Lonnie Phillips had enough. 'I know an assault rifle was used to murder my daughter in Aurora,' he snapped back, his voice rising. 'I know that.' Jones appeared taken off guard for a second. 'Well, I'm sorry that…'

"'Yeah, you're sorry,' Phillips said.

"'I didn't hurt your daughter,' Jones said.

"Jones posted a video about the altercation on his site, Infowars.com, closing the segment with him turning to the camera: 'I mean that's the big issue,' he says. 'There's five people here against the guns, and they're claiming—it's probably true, there's a guy whose got a lot of sadness in his eyes—that it's his loved one that was lost at Aurora, and that that's basically our fault.'

"Jones could have known easily enough that the Phillips would be there. Sandy Phillips, who works for the Brady Campaign, had posted on Facebook that they'd be attending the Moms event, and the director of operations for Open Carry Texas had called her out. 'Sandy, nice banner pic of you eating at In 'n' Out burger,' he replied. 'I open carry there all the time. Very gun friendly place.'


"PROVOCATIVE TACTICS IN THE NAME OF the Second Amendment are by no means confined to Texas. Recently, public displays of guns have caused alarm in Wisconsin, and gun rights activists have menaced a businesswoman in California and a gun dealer in Maryland for trying to sell firearms equipped with high-tech safety features.

"Last Thursday, a firearms instructor in Florida posted a video on the Facebook page of Moms Demand Action, in which he filmed himself at a gun range blasting a paper target bearing the Moms logo. 'Happy Mother's Day,' he says with a grin, displaying the cluster of bullet holes.

"The group responded by sharing the video on the Facebook page of his local church, and with disapproving comments soon piling up—'I don't get how that's very Christian, or even sane for that matter'—by Friday the video disappeared from public view on YouTube. (The firearms instructor did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)


"Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, has faced a continuous barrage. 'For me, the question is always, "Why does this person want to kill or rape or silence me?"' she says. 'I think the answer is that this issue touches a cultural nerve based on gender, geography, and other politics. There are pundits who make a good deal of money encouraging this type of anger.'

"Some staunch advocates of expansive gun rights recognize that this kind of bullying is bad for the movement. In March, a talk radio host and self-described gun enthusiast in Wisconsin called the 'in your face open-carry playbook' tactics 'perfectly legal, and perfectly stupid.' After the Arlington restaurant incident, the editor of BearingArms.com wrote that Open Carry Texas had achieved 'a public relations disaster.'


"The cumulative threats and harassment have at times felt exhausting for women working at the state and local level. 'It's one thing to think about it and see images of it online,' one of the Texas moms told me. 'It's another thing entirely to see this kind of thing out of your car window when you're driving your kid to soccer practice.'

"But they say they have no intention of backing down and are in it for the long haul. 'Yes, the threats, slurs, and bullying are shameful and concerning,' says Watts. 'But they're also emboldening. No fight for cultural change comes without this kind of resistance. The reality is that a majority of NRA members and gun owners support the reforms we're fighting for.'"


For more of Mother Jones' award-winning coverage of guns in America, see our special reports.

(MARK FOLLMAN Senior Editor  Mark Follman is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Read more of his stories, follow him on Twitter, or contact him with tips or feedback at mfollman (at) motherjones (dot) com. RSS | TWITTER)

Next: More Guns, More Mass Shootings—Coincidence?

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The underlying misogyny is obvious in the words and actions of the gun nuts, and maybe Freud was right about them, making us think that no one should be too worried about most of the death threats and rape threats.  But with over 300,000,000 guns in American's hands and too many in the hands of gun nuts and mentally disturbed people, it is probably too late to eliminate them -- though it would have been easier ten years ago before the NRA bought a controlling interest in the Republican Party.

When Conservatism is criminalized and a real Supreme Court finally interprets the Second Amendment properly, we can start at the top with the likes of Alex Jones and the leadeship of Open Carry Texas, work our way down, and finish the process with the removal of the nuttiest of the gun nuts.



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"Even as someone who’s labeled a conservative – I’m a Republican, I’m black, I’m
heading up this organization in the Reagan administration – I can say that
conservatives don’t exactly break their necks to tell blacks that they’re welcome."

Clarence Thomas.


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