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The Deceitful Link: Anti-Gunners' Attempt to Connect Timothy McVeigh and 2nd Amendment Supporters

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

When I say the anti-gunner lobby isn’t sending its best, I’m not joking. Every time a tragic mass shooting occurs, these people stand on the bodies of the victims to push for legislation designed to target lawful gun owners. They vociferously proclaim the virtues of making it more difficult for law-abiding folks to keep and bear arms.

And they do so using the absolute dumbest of arguments. This is where we get braindead tweets and articles from the likes of David Hogg, Keith Olbermann, and, in this instance, Michelle Goldberg, who penned an op-ed for The New York Times in which she tries desperately to con her readers into believing that those who support the Second Amendment are somehow in line with right-wing terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

In the piece, Goldberg uses the shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas to great effect while she wove a line between the incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, and people who dig firearms. She highlights that McVeigh viewed guns as symbols of freedom and opposing government overreach as a sign of tyranny. The article argues that McVeigh’s cause has advanced significantly since his execution in 2001, with a growing movement of individuals who share his views and engage in what appears to be a low-level insurgency against society.

Goldberg points out that while not all mass shootings are ideologically motivated, when an ideology is involved, it tends to be a far-right one. The article cites a report from the Anti-Defamation League stating that all extremist-related murders in 2022 were committed by right-wing extremists. The mass shooting at the outdoor mall in Texas is mentioned, with the killer reportedly associating with right-wing extremist symbolism and expressing hate-filled beliefs on social media.

The article suggests that the frequency of mass shootings has become a distressingly normal part of life in America, without triggering significant political change. It attributes this lack of action to politicians who hold views on guns similar to McVeigh’s. The Republican Party is accused of fetishizing guns and insurrection, with firearms seen as a means to potentially overthrow the government.

After mass shootings, instead of pushing for gun control, Republicans tend to reinforce access to guns. The article highlights the expulsion of two young black Democratic legislators who led a gun control protest in Tennessee and the subsequent passing of a bill protecting the gun industry from lawsuits.

“The reason that America endures a level of gun violence unique among developed countries, and that we can often do little about it, is so many politicians have views on guns that aren’t far afield from McVeigh’s,” Goldberg writes.

The author continued:

“As Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, has pointed out, it’s become common to hear Republicans echo McVeigh’s insurrectionary theory of the Second Amendment, which holds that Americans must be allowed to amass personal arsenals in case they need to overthrow the government. As the MAGA congresswomen Lauren Boebert once put it, the Second Amendment ‘has nothing to do with hunting, unless you’re talking about hunting tyrants.’”

I’ll put it simply: The author’s arguments are some of the dumbest I’ve seen coming from the anti-gunner lobby.

For starters, Goldberg contends that the idea that McVeigh somehow pioneered the idea that the right to keep and bear arms is for those who would resist an oppressive government. What is particularly disturbing about this is that it would likely work on those who are ignorant of history, which far too many people are in the U.S.

Anyone who has done even a modicum of reading about American history knows that the idea that citizens should have the right to own guns as a means of safeguarding against a tyrannical government predates Timothy McVeigh and can be traced back to the founding principles of the United States. The concept of an armed citizenry as a check on governmental power is deeply rooted in the writings and philosophies of the Founding Fathers.

Figures like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison expressed the belief that an armed population serves as a deterrent to tyranny, emphasizing the importance of individual liberties and the need for citizens to be able to defend themselves against potential oppressors. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which enshrines the right to bear arms, reflects this sentiment and stands as a testament to the founding principles of the nation.

Goldberg’s argument is particularly laughable considering that someone like McVeigh might not have been too happy to find out that folks like myself, a black man who carries a firearm every single day, exist in America today. The notion that a person would value gun ownership for self-defense and for the ability to push back against a tyrannical state because they are in line with right-wing terrorism is not only disgusting, but it is foolish, considering the increase in racial minorities buying guns.

Goldberg’s attempt to boil gun violence down to right-wing extremism fails to consider other factors contributing to mass shootings in the United States. The author’s argument that McVeigh’s views have been mainstreamed oversimplifies the complex societal factors that influence extremism. It’s important to acknowledge that there are multiple ideologies and motivations behind acts of violence, including those perpetrated by individuals with left-wing or non-ideological motivations.

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