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Gun Nuts Are Terrorizing America: The Watershed Moment — All Bets Now OFF, After Gun Toting Bigots 'Defeated' The Cops at Bundy's Arizona Ranch

Scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy surrounded by armed supporters at his Arizona ranch.
Scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy surrounded by armed supporters at his Arizona ranch.
(Screen capture from YouTube video)

"From Cliven Bundy defeating the cops to the 'open carry' movement's menace, the left's timidity has spawned a nightmare."

By Rick Perlstein
Here is a truth so fundamental that it should be self-evident: When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger. And yet that is exactly what happened at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch this spring: An alleged criminal defeated the cops, because the forces of lawlessness came at them with guns — then Bureau of Land Management officials further surrendered by removing the government markings from their vehicles to prevent violence against them.


What should be judged a watershed in American history instead became a story about one man’s racist rants. Even as two more Nevada lunatics, inspired by their stint at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, allegedly ambushed and mowed down two police officers and killed a bystander after crying, “This is the start of a revolution.” And now, an antigovernment conspiracy theorist named Douglas Cole recently shot at two police officers in Nevada County, California (though you may not have heard about that, because the New York Times hasn’t found the news yet fit to print).

Such actions are the logical conclusion of a movement that has been veritably sweeping the nation for years now. Early Tea Partiers began attending rallies with guns on their hips. “Open carry” advocates make a fetish of just this sort of brandishing of guns in public places, especially where they are most unwanted. The slogan “molon labe” — “come and take them,” the defiant cry allegedly uttered by King Leonidas I when the Persian army ordered the Greeks to surrender their weapons at Thermopylae — is everywhere on the right: molon labe T-shirts, molon labe cloth napkins for your next dinner party, sexy molon labe thongs, molon labe release-catches for your AR-15, available on Etsy.com from “MolonLabeLLC.”

The message implicit in such products was but rendered explicit by the “patriots” Jerad and Amanda Miller, speaking to reporters from Bundy’s spread back in April: “I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and push us around or something like that. I really don’t want violence toward them, but if they’re going to come bring violence to us, well if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it.”

It was the logic of some ultra-leftists from the 1960s: the intentional forcing of violent “contradictions” between citizens and the state, the better to spur revolution. It is, at the very least, a handy negotiating position: In Cliven Bundy’s case, it saved him about a million bucks in grazing fees he owes on land owned by taxpayers like you and me. Armed force trumped law. Armed force trumped politics. Which is, of course, for a citizen of a republic, the opposite of patriotism: The more people who believe that — and more and more are believing it every day — the more irrelevant the Constitution these people claim to revere becomes.

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