The blood of patriots and tyrants


by Jeff Fecke | August 11, 2009 • You know, I’m a free speech absolutist, and a staunch civil libertarian. But quite honestly, if you’re going to bring a gun to a town hall meeting held by the President of the United States, you probably should, at the very least, get a visit from the Secret Service:

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

A man carried a handgun strapped to his leg to a town hall meeting being held by President Obama in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Tuesday.

It’s legal for him to have the gun as long as it is unconcealed, the police told MSNBC. The man was on private property — church ground on the roadway leading to the high school where Obama would speak. The church gave the man permission to be there. However, according to police officers, he is under constant surveillance and is not anywhere near where the president will speak.

You know what? I don’t care if it’s legal for you to carry a gun in New Hampshire — you don’t carry a gun to a protest against the President of the United States. You especially don’t carry a gun while holding a sign that says “It is Time To Water the Tree of Liberty!” For those of you who’ve forgotten your Revolutionary War-era Thomas Jefferson quotes beloved by libertarian types, the full quote is, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Quite simply, carrying a firearm to a protest against the president, while holding a sign threatening violence against tyrants, is, if not illegal, than deeply immoral to the point of pure anti-Americanism. Had our country never lost a leader to gun violence, one might feel differently, but we’ve lost four; when one out of every eleven presidents has been shot and killed, and more than twenty percent of presidents have had shots fired at them, it’s impossible to view this as anything other than a direct threat on the president’s life.

Of course, the man carrying the gun, William Kostric, is unrepentant. He sees nothing wrong with implied threats on a president’s life, nothing wrong with the direct implication that our government leaders should be killed. He just wants, in his words, “an informed society, an armed society, a polite society.” Which is why he was carrying a sign calling for the death of tyrants.

We are steering down a dangerous course. While the health care proposal is modest by world standards, people are decrying this as some kind of Trojan horse for communism, Nazism, the theft of our nation’s vital bodily fluids, and the end of life on Earth. With the stakes raised so ludicrously high, and with the anger being fed at such a fever pitch, I fear that threats of violence will not be where this ends. After all, if Barack Obama was planning on herding our parents into death camps, seizing everyone’s bank account, and creating a panel that would decide who lives and who dies, I would be the first one on the line in the ensuing revolution. He isn’t, of course, doing any of those things. But a huge subset of the right, fed by people who should know better, thinks he may be. This does not end well, I fear. I hope I’m wrong.

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