DHS Report: “…has likely spurred African Americans—as well as law-abiding Americans…”by Stephen Gordon
My friend Dave Weigel seems to be less upset with about the DHS reported entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” than pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere. He notes:
Seriously, though, I struggle to find anything wrong in a close — not a willfully obtuse — reading of the report. I’m nine days out of a huge machine gun show in Kentucky. I know that all of the gun stuff in this report is true. For example:
Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of ammunition. These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity. Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime rates attributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move at this time.
I’ve agreed with Weigel (specifically about the gun show to which he refers, even) about how bad the more extreme folks who tend to show at gun shows can make the movement appear. However, there is a major distinction between making a movement look bad and breaking a law.
To help Dave find what’s wrong with the report, I’ll suggest a little mental exercise. Let’s break down one little piece of the report he provided: “…has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans…”
What would the public reaction be if I had written “…has likely spurred African Americans—as well as law-abiding Americans…”?
The implication is obvious. Had I written this, I would have suggested that African Americans are not law-abiding Americans. The same logic applies with “rightwing extremists,” who are defined elsewhere in the report with such a broad brush that it includes pretty much any believer in small government.
UPDATE: Dave graciously notes that I’ve whacked him upside the head and agrees with me, in part. He also adds, “I don’t think the political correctness in short government reports is as big a problem as, say, people shooting cops.”
Shooting cops is certainly immediately worse. However, when the government begins to define lawful political dissent, the slipperly slope begins — one which certainly could lead to catastrophic consequences.