Mark Follman writes about a recent disturbing trend among people who oppose any restriction at all on the free and unfettered access to guns, who turn even on women who are fellow supporters of the right to own guns because they are not willing to go as far as them. What happened to Jennifer Longdon is a prime example of the kind of disgusting behavior that can ensue.
As Jennifer Longdon steered her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she’d participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.
As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.
Longdon was shocked and embarrassed, she told me, but she didn’t falter. “Wow, aren’t you a big man,” she said as he turned and walked away. Instead of calling for security, she wheeled herself to a restroom to clean herself off. She was tired—she lives with constant physical pain—and didn’t want to miss her flight.
“Should I have done something more? Quite honestly, in the scheme of things it was a little man and a little moment,” she said. “He felt to me like a coward and a bully.”
What happened to Longdon in Indianapolis is part of a disturbing pattern. Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, a small but vocal faction of the gun rights movement has been targeting women who speak up on the issue—whether to propose tighter regulations, educate about the dangers to children, or simply to sell guns with innovative security features. The vicious and often sexually degrading attacks have evolved far beyond online trolling, culminating in severe bullying, harassment, invasion of privacy, and physical aggression. Though vitriol flows from both sides in the gun debate, these menacing tactics have begun to alarm even some entrenched pro-gun conservatives.
Read the rest of the article. It is even more horrifying, if you can imagine it.
People who take extreme stands on some issue and find that they receive little condemnation or even pushback get emboldened and end up going so far that they overstep the bounds of civilized behavior.
It used to be that the abortion debate was the one that brought out the most vicious elements in society, who felt that they had the right to use abusive, harassing, and threatening behavior against anyone who disagreed with them. We saw the murder of doctors who performed abortions as one manifestation of the violent nature that debate took.
Now the gun rights debate has joined it and there are many more angry gun owners involved. Unless there is strong pushback from within the group, this is not going to end well.