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May 16 2014

What the hell is wrong with these people?

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.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    What’s wrong with them, they’re fu*king assholes is what’s wrong with them.

  2. 2
    hyphenman

    Mano,

    Increasingly I have come to believe that, at the very core of all that drives the conservative agenda, is misogyny.

    Jeff

  3. 3
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    hyphenman
    you’re being totally unfair to conservatives ; there’s also a huge amount of racism.

  4. 4
    tonyagudo

    Mano, the root of this hyper-aggression from gun owners stems from the propaganda flowing from the NRA. They’ve become progressively more extremist since 1977, according to gun safety advocates Everytown.org: http://everytown.org/article/not-your-grandparents-nra/?source=FB00078

  5. 5
    kyoseki

    There are a lot of paranoid nutjobs in the gun owning community, I wouldn’t say the majority of gun owners are paranoid nutjobs, but I would certainly say that the vast majority of paranoid nutjobs are gun owners.

    Unfortunately, they tend to congregate with other paranoid nutjobs, consequently they live in their own little fantasy world where any perceived slight is met with wildly disproportionate hostility.

    Guys like this think that mass shootings are so called “false flag” operations by the US government to take away their guns, the events either never took place or the perpetrator was secretly an Obama administration stooge, there really is no arguing with someone who is that far gone.

  6. 6
    busterggi

    For the most part the gun-loving assholes are also the anti-choice assholes. Guns and the bible just go together in much of the US.

  7. 7
    left0ver1under

    What’s the difference between an MRA and an NRA member?

    One wants to legalize sexual assault. The other wants to legalize physical assault.

  8. 8
    smrnda

    Wow. All said, this sure makes the gun nuts look like the bullies and cowards they really are. It’s not about safety, in the end, if it were about safety and heroic manly men protecting women, they wouldn’t be doing shit like this, and we wouldn’t have white boys with guns talking insurrection mentioning using women as human shields.

  9. 9
    lorn

    That is sad. Sadder still is that in all likelihood, I know some of those people, the guy who spat on her thought he was striking a blow for freedom and deserving of a metal and a parade.

    Of course, if you want to confuse the right wing you might figure out a way of using a gun to perform an abortion.

    And no, this issue has never been about manly behavior and protecting women and children from violence. As seen at the Bundy ranch it was women and children placed out front in the line of fire with the paragons of manly virtue and patriotism using them as human shields.

  10. 10
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    To be fair, I know lots of gun owners, and every single one is in favor of more comprehensive background checks, and in favor of making the license to own a firearm include a stringent education similar or harder than a driver’s ed test. The NRA doesn’t represent most gun owners AFAIK.

  11. 11
    astrosmash

    @enlightenmentliberal: That’s probably true, but fuck them for not banding together to fight the nutjobs. If there really are huge numbers of truly responsible gun-owners, they need to get off their collective lazy asses and take a firm stand agaisnt these assholes

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