Gunning for Obama: A Modest Proposal

pistolAt a recent public discussion about health insurance with US President Barack Obama, a New Hampshire man with a gun strapped to his leg waved a sign saying, “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty,” a reference to a quote by Thomas Jefferson that finishes, “with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” When asked by a reporter if the gun was loaded, the man, William Kostric, laughed, saying, “Wow. Who would be silly enough to carry an unloaded firearm?” Not only was Kostric not detained by police, police even assisted him, telling him where he could stand.

A few days later, a dozen people showed up at a Phoenix, Arizona speech of Obama’s with guns, at least two with semi-automatic rifles. The police made sure that the men with guns were protected from the people without guns! One reporter said he had never seen civilians with automatic weapons at any event of George W. Bush’s when the latter was president, but, the reporter added, in the infuriating style characteristic of the American media, which pretends both Left and Right act the same, that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

Very soon, it will be commonplace for dozens of people with automatic weapons to be at Obama’s speeches.

Obama in fact recently removed restrictions on carrying guns, so these men are not protesting against Obama because he is curbing their “rights.” They are sending a not-so-veiled threat to Obama, So you want to be like JFK? They want him to stop going down the path to what they call “socialism”―you know, the kind that failed in Western Europe. Or was it Eastern Europe. Whatever.

The constant comparisons of Obama to that arch-socialist, Hitler, also have this aim. They saw the Tom Cruise movie. Any action against a Hitler is justified.

The secret service will be unable to watch all the potential taxi drivers, which is the plan, thus making it that much easier for the next person wanting to get his name into the history books. And, afterwards, the media, crying crocodile tears, will ask, “How did we let the hate reach this point?”

“You call my kin Nazis I won’t let that pass,” Christopher Barwick once wrote me. “Get a Bodyguard or carry a gun you will need it.” Which gave me an idea:

If conservatives won’t cool it, liberals should start packing heat. When police arrest crippled black Harvard professors but assist men who threaten the life of the president, white liberals must start coming to Obama’s speeches armed, and stand right behind the gun-nuts.

Indeed, a modest proposal is that liberals should stand outside Kostric’s home and follow him wherever he goes. With guns loaded of course. (Carrying unloaded guns would be just silly!) If Kostric should ever confront Obama, and make a move that is “misinterpreted” by someone on our side… Oops. Hope he has health insurance!

Besides, show me when, in the entire history of America, any right-wing organization has ever been bothered by an “accidental” shooting―when the shooter was a white policeman and the “shootee” an innocent, unarmed black child.

The right-wingers comparing America today to Germany in the 1930’s are kooks, but their comparisons are apt in one respect: Weimar fell because there was an insufficiently muscular response to the stormtroopers.


Squeamish liberals, and hypocritical conservatives, will scream that I am advocating violence. To which I say: The Black Panthers carried guns legally, and you murdered them. That’s violence. I’m calling for piece-keeping.

If you don’t want America moving back, and to the right, then lock’n’load, Liberals. Let’s not say, “Never again,” ever again.

Jonathan David Farley

Jonathan David Farley is a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Institut für Algebra of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz in Linz, Österreich.


  1. Thelma T. Reyna says

    It makes utter sense that nobody but Secret Service men and women, and local police officials, should carry weapons in the presence of the President of the United States at any of his public events. This should have been the policy when George W. Bush was in office (though I never heard of anyone carrying guns OPENLY whenever he spoke publicly). Most important, in light of the fact that President Obama receives thousands of death threats each month, more than any other president in our history, any weapons in his presence other than noted above SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE BANNED. This is the safe, sensible thing to do. It is abhorrent and incredible that this is not the case.

    If I had been present at the event described in the news article here, I would have been totally distrustful of this UN-AMERICAN MAN, William Kostric, who would wish to do anything at all to create any level of discomfort in the audience of people who had come to hear our President talk about health care, NOT to discuss the Second Amendment. Sounds like Kostric went to the wrong event (shame on him for not reading the description), OR he purposely wanted to be un-American and create intimidation and fear–in our President, or in the non-gun-carrying Americans who simply wanted to learn about health care. In my mind, that puts him in the same category of those other UN-AMERICANS we all detest: terrorists.

  2. Dan says

    Horrible idea.
    The act of openly carrying guns to rallies is an attempt at intimidation in one part, but it is also an act of machismo within the current ultra-right community. They are carrying guns to outdo the other guys who are just carrying signs that have Obama wearing a hitler mustache. Now that they have seen the huge response it gets, they know it is working, and soon their numbers will grow.

    The point of a protest is to be seen. The pugnacious right is showing off for themselves, trying to demonstrate that even though they have been laughed out of office for the foreseeable future, they can still influence and frighten the nebulous “Guvernment”. Their fires are being stoked by the professional republicans… who somehow see harnessing “people power” as the only way they can influence the process, given that they do not have the ability to filibuster. They are the ones playing the fool’s game. They are feeding a beast they hardly understand, and are only concerned with the immediate results. When the first person is shot at a political rally they will appear before the cameras wide-eyed and disbelieving; ” How horrible” “We have no responsibility for the actions of a few disturbed individuals” or even “The democrats enticed the unstable gun carrying man, bringing it on themselves”.

    Now on to the horrible idea part.
    Provoking armed confrontation at these rallies will quickly push a fragile situation into a tailspin. The need now is to deconflict, get prominent republicans; George Bush Sr. or Gingrich might do it, to publicly call for a ban on guns at political events. Hell, you can’t bring guns into schools, libraries or courthouses, or even just about any government facility, so the issue of gun control should not be too significant..

    This needs to happen before someone dies.

  3. My name says

    It is important to remind you that SEIU thugs beat up a health care opponent button salesman in St. Louis. It is only after that that you started seeing the guns show up.

    No comparison in 1930’s Germany? Sure seems that way.

    If the Secret Service were worried about it, they’d at least hold these people for questioning.

    You seem like a well intentioned person, here is some advise.

    1. Read the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

    2. Read

    3. Realize that your anti-gun rhetoric isn’t fooling anyone.

    4. Have a nice day.

  4. Jack says

    Arm yourself and your family, regardless of whether you’re liberal or conservative. Gun laws were first put into place to keep blacks and native americans from owning guns and you know what resulted from that. An armed public is a safe public.

  5. says

    When Obama was elected I thought it would be interesting to see how quickly racist, right-wing whack jobs would respond. After all, with few exceptions they’ve held power – from the White House to your local Town Hall.

    We’re finally, slowly morphing away from a nation of “entitlement” to something new and different. We’re re-building our country into to a more egalitarian America that works for a larger percentage of the population that’s lived on the fringes in the past.

    In my opinion, that sounds like we’re starting to do a better job of living up to the promise of, “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal…” We’re crafting “a more perfect union.” Not socialism, as protesters claim. Despite it all, the ugliness of racism is oozing out around the edges.

    Obama was prescient when, just a few days before the election last November, he said, “Power won’t get up and walk away. We have to fight for it.” He understood the stakes.

    I was struck by a recent video of a blonde-haired woman in Arkansas who at a Town Hall meeting cried, “I want MY America back!” It’s been “her America” because advantages always went to people who look like her. She can see it’s changing. Instead of looking at how change could lead to a better America – yes, even for her – she’s reacting with fear.

    It’s not the same America. The changes aren’t just because we have an African American in the White House. Demographics have shifted dramatically in the last generation. Minorities who formerly remained quiet and went along with “the entitled class” are standing up saying, “My opinion counts, too!”

    The GOP “base” energized by Sarah Palin during the campaign, who consider themselves “real Americans” just doesn’t include enough numbers to elect a social conservative into the White House. A GOP moderate, maybe. Truth is, real Americans come in all colors, genders, political persuasions, sexual orientation and religion. They are liberals, independents AND conservatives. And all their votes count.

    Don’t forget, just a few years ago in Arkansas, a statue of “The Ten Commandments” was removed from a state building because a court said it violated separation of church and state. Protesters sat outside for months trying to block the statue’s removal. Why? Because Christianity permeates the southern red state culture so much, they actually believe America and Jesus are one and the same.

    Part of why Americans voted for Obama is for health care reform. Me, too. But now that he’s spent billions on the stimulus package I’m wondering, “Can we really afford this?”

    If I can see numbers that show it’ll pay for itself – or at least mostly pay for itself – then I’m all in. But most Federal programs like Medicare, the VA and others are close to bankruptcy already. That’s my concern.

    I don’t know what the solutions are. I’m sure glad I’m not in the President’s shoes. Whatever happens to health care I hope they seriously look at how to make it financially viable.

    Just as importantly I hope the right wingnuts come to understand America will be a better, stronger, more unified nation when it works for all it’s citizens – not just some of them.

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