Blog January 16, 2013 3:09 PM EST TIMOTHY JOHNSON
The National Rifle Association has released a four-and-a-half minute video in response to the proposals to curb gun violence unveiled by the Obama administration. Chock-full of fast cuts and given a heart-pounding soundtrack, the ad attacks members of the media for criticizing the NRA and calls Obama a hypocrite for protecting his children with armed guards.
Great Gun Debate, the NRA stands ...small: it's new efforts to engender more
guns in schools has sparked a national furor and backfired against the
We hope. But in all the furor over the NRA's criticism of Obama's Secret Service security for his two daughters Sasha and Malia, one factor has not yet been addressed: President Barack Obama has received more death threats than any other president and his family has received them as well.:
"...a woman who knew
the Obamas' Hawaii vacation itinerary and threatened to "blow away"
the First Lady was arrested a mile from where the First Family was staying.
Others have threatened the Obama girls, Sasha and Malia."
Numerous death threats may be one reason why the
President renewed a lifetime protection plan for
himself and future presidents - a benefit that was stripped in 1994. Former President Bush now
has more protection as well.
Protection From Whom?
Ever since the assassination of President McKinley, the Secret Service has had the responsibility of protecting Presidents and their families from harm. Part of its duties is to monitor any threats against the families. There is no doubt, however, that the source of a majority of the threats against the lives of the current President and his family is racially and "survivalist" motivated: the paranoia of America has reached fever pitch and that has resulted in a greater number of threats.
From Imprecatory Prayers to Gun Site ads to Glenn Beck
Since 2008, Barack Obama has been called "demonspawn" and the "Anti-Christ" by Right wing pastors across the country. "Imprecatory prayers" (praying for the death or harm to come to someone) were voiced from pulpits (Faithful Word Baptist Church comes to mind) and more pastors have been pictured with guns as a statement of the Second Amendment than ever before.
Paranoia has hit the streets of America with pastors like Gary Cass ("You can't be Christian and not own a gun") and it is to pastors like Cass and Hagee that the President's protection of his family can be seen as a kind of reverse paranoia. In fact, with the likes of gun-toting pastors, it is surprising that the President is not even more suspicious of the Christian Right and its vehement adherence to the Second Amendment.
As well, Christian Right darlings like Sarah Palin have used gun sites and sharp-shooting promotions to foster animosity towards other politicians. The now infamous ad against Gabrielle Giffords using gun sites and a "hit list" sparked other ads against hated "liberal" politicians calling for stricter gun control laws.
The heated rhetoric of Right wing media such as Glenn Beck is also under scrutiny: the incident of an armed man about to blast away the ACLU and the Tides Foundation certainly indicated that President Obama was just as much as target in the minds of the Rowen Williamses of America.
The NRA as enabler for paranoia has been substantial. and well-documented. It's inability to correlate incidents such as the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, the arrest of Rowan Williams and the death threats to President Obama to its own demonizing is oddly pernicious to its own image, but also shows that it is slowly divorcing itself from reality:
the President and his family need protection from adherents of the NRA.