Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Thugs with jugs", death threats, insults: gun rights advocates targeting women

Mother Jones has an article on gun activists and their targeting of women that is at once elucidating and mortifying. It details some of the tactics these "responsible gun owners" sink to -- threats, lies, violence and obscenities. It's particularly curious to see how that treatment compares to men in the same scenario. For instance, when a high school teacher spotted a group of heavily armed people acting aggressively, she called the police. Brett Sanders of Plano's Open Carry Texas posted a video to YouTube with her name and phone number -- a video that was criticized "not only for outing the woman but also because it was misleading: It claimed that the woman had called 911, though she'd called the nonemergency line of the Plano PD. And the footage it used came from friendly-looking demonstrations elsewhere—not from the one that the woman encountered." On the other hand, "[a]ccording to Plano police records, two other people called in with concerns about the demonstration that day—both men. No member of Open Carry Texas publicized their information." The teacher (whose name MJ withheld for her protection) was "pummeled with text messages and voicemails, copies of which she provided to Mother Jones. Callers told her she was a 'stupid bitch' and 'motherfucking whore.'" Eventually, the abuse grew so bad that she had to change her phone number. Lest you think that the deceptive video was frowned on by OCT higher ups, have no fear: they've got their man's back.
Sanders "didn't do anything wrong" by posting the video, nor is it relevant that he misidentified the type of call or used footage from a different demonstration, CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, told me. "Our point in doing that is to expose the kinds of people that are complaining about our rallies."
To Grisham's minimal credit, he did at least admit that he "would've personally done it differently." But lying and inciting threats against people is not wrong.

This is hardly the only charming activity in which Open Carry Texas has engaged. Grisham -- who would not, personally, have lied about and revealed the identity of the badgered teacher -- declared that it "warms the cockles of [his] heart" to see the following photo -- the conclusion of
a "mad minute" at a firing range [participated in by OCT members], pulverizing a female mannequin with a hail of bullets. They positioned the figure with her hands raised in surrender, naked from the waist up. Afterward, they posed with the bullet-riddled mannequin, her arms blown off and her pants down at her ankles. "Mad minute" is a military expression referring to a burst of rapid fire, and Open Carry Texas members have often referred to Moms Demand Action as "mad moms."

Aside from embracing symbolic violence against ideological opponents, Grisham has also referred to Moms Demand Action as "thugs with jugs" and other derogatory terms.

And, before anyone says, "oh, but these are just extremists, keep in mind:

Just three days before Open Carry Texas outed the teacher, a state Senate committee held a hearing to consider further loosening gun carrying laws, and Grisham was invited to give official testimony alongside NRA lobbyists. "Open Carry Texas was given a seat at the table," says Stephanie Lundy of the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. "It's serious. You can't write them off."
Nor are OCT the only nutjobs on the block. The MJ article details, among other things, some of the outrageous threats & terrifying instances gun-owning, background-check advocate Jennifer Longdon has had to endure. It's very much worth reading.

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