The violent response to the Occupy movement from law enforcement in cities across America is shameful and calls into question the adherence of the 1st Amendment’s guarantee that government cannot interfere with the people’s “right to peaceably assemble or prohibit the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.” It is becoming obvious that mayors in larger cities have little regard for the constitutional rights of the protestors who have been clubbed, pepper sprayed, and sustained major injuries from tear-gas canisters fired by riot-clad police officers for peaceably assembling. Thus far, none of the protestors have been gunned down by the police but that does not mean there are not Americans panting to use firearms to stop the Occupy movement.
On Tuesday’s edition of Fox News’ The Five, one of the members of the panel suggested the occupiers should beware of gun-slinging Americans who oppose the Occupy movement. It is nothing new for Fox to encourage their listeners to consider 2nd Amendment remedies for any number of perceived grievances, but suggesting that Americans shoot peaceful protestors has crossed the line.
The Fox panel was discussing families in Arizona who posed for Christmas card photos with Santa Claus while the parents and children held a variety of firearms. Now, it is unclear what the relationship Christmas, Santa Claus, families, and machine guns is about, but perhaps in Arizona it is a custom to associate the birth of Jesus Christ with bazookas and AK-47s. One of the panel members, Greg Gutfeld, was commenting on how awesome it is that Americans have a love-affair with guns and how he likes that it “scares the hell out of visiting Europeans who already think we’re crazy people and they think my god, we’re never invading this country.” Gutfeld is correct; Europeans do think Americans are violent nut-jobs for the wild-west mentality that guns solve all problems, but he could not help but throw out a not-so-veiled threat at the Occupy movement. He continued that, “plus, it’s a reminder to all you Occupy Wall Streeters that if there is a revolution, the other side is better armed.” One of the women panelists added that, “we have better weapons.” Wait, what? Who said the Occupy movement was armed or considering a violent revolution?
Gutfeld misses the point of the Occupy movement and their peaceful protests to call attention to the crippling income inequality in this country. There have been no calls or hints of violent revolution from the occupiers and the bigger point Gutfeld, and indeed all of Fox News, misses is that the Occupy movement represents 99% of America. Gutfeld is certainly not a member of the one percent so his comment that the “other side” is better armed must refer to uber-wealthy Americans controlling the policies that are responsible for the income disparity between the 1% and the rest of America. However, there are ignorant Americans (Fox News viewers) who somehow perceive the occupy movement as a threat to conservative ideology and would begin shooting peaceful protestors if given permission from a fanatical conservative. Enter Ann Coulter.
Coulter has made some inflammatory comments about the Occupy movement recently, and none were accurate. She said, “I knew there would be mob uprisings again. They are demonic,” and “I guess it’s fun to destroy stuff; it’s lots of fun to just start randomly murdering people – this is the way it always is with mobs.” Then Coulter intimated she knew the solution to shutting down the Occupy Wall Street protests when she said, “Remember, it just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good.” On Fox & Friends, they attempted to tie the alleged White House shooter to the Occupy movement by calling him the “occupy shooter” to impute the movement is armed and dangerous.
There has been a concerted effort by Republicans and their media outlet, Fox News, to cast the Occupy movement as thugs, mobs, and now insurgents since the movement began receiving media attention. The now-familiar law enforcement response of violent suppression of the protestor’s right to dissent and peaceably protest has not stopped the occupiers from exercising their constitutional right so apparently Fox News is inciting its viewers to take the violence to a new level by prodding them to use their “better weapons” on the protestors. The Fox News crowd knows many in their audience are frustrated and angry over an African-American man sitting in the Oval Office, and just need a little prodding to begin slaughtering anyone who does not subscribe to neo-conservative values.
It is tragic that the Occupy movement that is working for 99% of Americans is being portrayed as demonic mobs of insurgents waiting to have fun “randomly murdering people.” The hypocrites at Fox certainly did not portray armed teabaggers as demonic mobs when they gathered in a show of force to protest healthcare reform and instead labeled them patriotic Americans standing up to the socialist government intent on robbing them of their rights.
There is no doubt the Occupy movement frightens conservatives and Fox News. As the movement gains momentum and more Americans realize occupiers are making great sacrifices on behalf of 99% of the country, the movement will affect government policies that favor the ultra-rich. However, as the movement grows, Republicans and Fox News will ramp up the rhetoric against the protestors to insinuate a violent revolution is impending, and with the proliferation of guns in this country, it is a matter of time until gun-wielding maniacs take the Fox warnings to heart and slaughter peaceful protestors. Law enforcement, at the behest of mayors, have used violence to break up peaceful protests, but they have refrained from using firearms up to this point, and one hopes they stop all violent suppression of peaceful gatherings. Unfortunately, the conservatives at Fox News have no restraint and as they continue demeaning the Occupy movement with fallacious claims of mob violence, some fanatic will take their rhetoric to heart and kill protestors. Fox has learned from Syria, Egypt, and Libya that with careful fear-mongering, inciting violence against peaceful protestors eventually bears fruit and if there is violence, Fox will have played a significant role in murdering American citizens for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.