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Monday, March 28, 2016

"Shooting Toward the White House" -- Toting Guns To the Republican Convention


How many of you “older” folks remember the Laurel and Hardy comedies of the '30s and 40s? In each slapstick adventure, Stan would get Ollie into a precarious situation that seemingly always required Ollie to utter the catchphrase:“Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into."

Another regular catchphrase, cried out by Ollie in moments of distress or frustration when Stan stood helplessly by, was, "Why don't you do something to help me?" And yet another, not-as-often used catchphrase of Ollie, particularly after Stan had accidentally given a verbal idea to an adversary was. "Why don't you keep your (big) mouth shut?!"

This week readers may see some comedic comparison to the escapades of Laurel and Hardy and the conflict between beliefs and realities of a large faction of the GOP. Republicans tend to love their firearms like Hendrix loved his Stratocaster -- up close and personal.

Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the 2016 Republican Convention, strictly forbids the carry of firearms on the premises. However, a petition to allow the open carry of guns at the convention authored by a guy with the profile picture of Abraham Lincoln and going by the "Hyperationalist"  had collected nearly 50,000 signatures by mid-afternoon Monday, March 28, 2016.

So is it a serious petition seeking to allow open carry inside the convention hall? I don't think so. In fact, who would?

Twitter user “Hyperationalist ” has a biography that reads, “speaking truth to stupid.” And, the fact that so many people are evidently taking the petition for face value has caused Hyperationalist to retweet a comment praising the "wizard trolling" of the petition.
As part of blogging the petition, Hyperationalist wrote this defense of firearms at the convention:
“Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.
"It just doesn't seem right that thousands of patriotic Republican good guys should be left totally unprotected by whatever bad guys might wish to do them harm. I mean for god sake people, ISIS could show up to take out everybody in and around that building and they'd be sitting ducks. Sitting ducks, I tell you! There might even be a bad egg or two among the delegates."

The hoax is a parody which has led reporters to ask leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump whether he intended to support it. He answered that he would have to read the petition and “the fine print,” himself, first before commenting on support. By the way, Ohio is an open carry state.

Yet …

This hoax does put GOP officials and presidential candidates in the awkward position of tolerating the types of policies they often criticize. How can Republicans support open carry but not push for it to be allowed at their own convention? Especially, the front-running Trump? Just how they depend upon the NRA and the gun lobby for votes is in question.

Anyone familiar with Trump's stand on the Second Amendment appreciates the irony. Trump has called for an end to gun-free zones in schools, and he has said that places with gun bans make “target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill.” He has labeled the zones “a catastrophe” and says they are a “feeding frenzy for sick people.”

Trump has stated, “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools—you have—and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day… you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.”

The Boston Globe also stated that, despite the convention arena's high level of security, Trump told ABC’s “This Weekthat he and other delegates would be “sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers and criminals.”

(Nancy Bailey. “Trump's Response To Petition for Guns at Cleveland's GOP Convention.” March 28, 2016.)

David M. Jackson reported:

“A spokeswoman for the Republican Convention's host committee told the Akron Beacon Journal that the U.S. Secret Service is handling security plans for the event in conjunction with local, state and federal authorities, and that they will be 'continuously refining security plans leading up to the national convention.'

“It’s the Donald’s rough-cut street talk that most upsets them. He says things the way a lot of folks talk, with bluster and bombast that drowns the excuses and euphemisms that politicians usually employ in public. When he talked about how the elites are scheming to stop him at an “open convention” in Cleveland, he said “I think you’d have riots” if the party establishment tries to undo the work of the primaries. He might be right, but saying so makes the grannies nervous.”

(David M. Jackson.Guns at GOP convention petition tops 35K, Trump wants to study 'fine print.'” USA Today. March 27, 2016.)
Responding to questions about guns at the convention, the Secret Service, which has been protecting presidential candidates on the trail, told The Hill on Monday that only law enforcement officers will be allowed to have guns inside the event.

“Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” spokesman Robert Hoback told The Hill.

In deciding to definitively not allow guns at the GOP's convention, the Secret Service cited a federal law allowing the agency to prevent firearms and weapons from being brought into areas where people under the group's protection are present.The law applies to venues even in open-carry states.

In Tampa in 2012, convention-goers had to go through multiple security checkpoints and metal detectors to get into the convention space. They were also not allowed to bring firearms in with them.


My Take

Isn't Trump's reluctance to immediately rebuke the idea of carrying weapons at the Republican Convention adding addition fuel to his previous statements about possible riots there? He is an irresponsible candidate who would consider exceptions to rules already in place. He must look within to realize his constantly volatile comments encourage erratic behavior.

Quicken Loans arena is already a gun free zone. Open carry there is absurd. Why would Ohio agree to accept visitors from all over the United States toting weapons into the hall in Cleveland? For obvious reasons, I'm sure the Secret Service does not permit open carry at a Donald Trump rally. 

You may level blame on the Hyperationalist for even inventing the petition; however, perhaps it helps point out a zany obsession with guns in the United States. 

Republicans who favor the gun lobby should be ashamed of such a suggestion -- upfront and immediately. Yet, the truth is the strong gun lobby controls politicians who are afraid to speak out against gun violence. And, Donald Trump, who claims he is not controlled by political interests is a puppet of groups like the NRA – people he depends upon to support his dangerous agenda.

GOP, it's tough to look committed to platforms you know are not feasible to allow at your own convention. It's another nice mess you've gotten yourself into. Mr. Trump, why don't you keep your big mouth shut?

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