Guess this hinges on how one defines "threaten." As far as Rachel Maddow is concerned, anyone who disagrees with her, and who owns a firearm, is inherently threatening. And boy would she love to make a citizen's arrest.
Continuing in her efforts to exploit the murders at Sandy Hook into political advantage for liberals, Maddow on her MSNBC show last night deceitfully accused Indiana gun owners of threatening to shoot a group of mothers protesting in favor of more restrictive gun laws. (video clip after page break)
It wasn't Maddow at her shabbiest, but it's up there --
Last week at one of the events marking the big national day of action for people who are calling for gun reform in the states, a group of people showed up to counter-protest in Indiana. They counter-protested a group of moms who were protesting for gun reform, and these guys were protesting in favor of gun rights instead. You can tell who the counter-protesters were because they were the ones showing off their loaded weapons, circling around the moms' group that had turned out to call for gun reform. Now, I can't tell from looking at a guy doing this if his weapon is loaded or not, but they told us to believe that the guns were loaded. The guys carrying these guns told the press, yes, these guns are loaded -- "Any weapon that is not loaded is just a rock or a club." A reporter then said to the men, "Which means this is loaded?" The answer -- "Yes."
You know what? It is intimidating to be in the presence of a loaded AR-15 assault rifle, especially when it is not held by, say, an instructor on a range, or, say, a cop or somebody else who's there to ensure your safety, but instead is just held by a guy who is holding that rifle specifically because he believes it will help him win his political disagreement with you. You see how that could be intimidating.
If you believe that our nation's gun laws are too restrictive, if you want more guns everywhere, especially around our nation's school children, you are free to make that argument. You are free to protest. You are free to be rude in your protest. You are free to be uncouth. You are free to do anything you think will help you win the argument. Our protections on freedom of speech are designed specifically to protect obnoxious speech. Nice speech doesn't often get suppressed, so it doesn't need protection. But let the record show, at the same time, that in the United States, whether the issue is guns or anything else, you will not win arguments that you try to win by threatening to shoot your opponents. You will not win if the way you are trying to win is by threatening to use weapons to get your political way. People do it in this country, it is a tactic. People try it from time to time and they lose because Americans do not settle disputes that way. In fact, we're pretty invested in having a political system that has us not settling disputes that way. Once you threaten that you are going to settle your political disputes by use of arms, you will lose all of your political disputes. Tempting as it may be, particularly when the issue is guns itself, threats and physical intimidation are not how we successfully achieve change in this country.
Gee, much as I hate to admit this, Maddow has a point. The nerve of these gun owners, brandishing weapons in public simply because Indiana is an open-carry state and the law allows them to do so. How could these men not grasp that their presence at the protest would be threatening by its very nature?
Needless to say, open-carry laws must be repealed, seeing how they so easily intimidate people who find guns really icky. But why stop there? Aren't concealed-carry laws just as threatening to peace-loving, benevolent, MSNBC-viewing anti-gun protesters? If anything, these laws are more threatening. At least with open-carry, a person can see who is armed. With concealed-carry, it can be nearly anyone. Doesn't get much scarier than that.
Still, discarding all open-carry and concealed-carry laws won't be enough. There would still be a gaping loophole, courtesy of that antiquated Constitution, allowing people to defend their properties with firearms (as if anyone should actually own property, but that's a separate issue). Anti-gun liberals are threatened by the mere existence of firearms, even if limited to the homes of people who own them. Such an unnerving reality is more than most left wingers can bear. Physically intimidating, even.
What's most amusing about Maddow's gooey earnestness is her professed belief that the First Amendment allows a person to protest, "to be rude," to be uncouth," "to do anything you think will help you win the argument." (Yell fire in a crowded theater, for example?). What Maddow can't abide is when those who believe the Second Amendment has the force of actual law combine that belief with their First Amendment rights. Those who dare exercise both civil liberties, in Maddow's view, are little more than predators with itchy trigger fingers.