Alex Jones, Gun control, and White Terrorism

Alex Jones’s angry appearance on Piers Morgan’s CNN interview show on Tuesday has provoked a lot of discussion, but what strikes me is that Jones threatened to launch an armed insurrection (1776) if the government attempted to outlaw semi-automatic weapons (or as he put it “to take our guns.”)

Of course, Jones got away with this, whereas if he had been a Muslim and said the same thing, his sorry ass would be in Gitmo or droned by now. It has not been proved that Anwar al-Awlaki, and American citizen killed by a US drone in Yemen, did more than threaten the US.

Did what Jones said amount to terrorism?

According to the US Code of Federal law:

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Jones, a gun nut who asserts that the Oklahoma City and 9/11 bombings were planned and carried by the Federal government and who rebuilt the church of the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, is certainly guilty of trying to coerce a civilian population (those of us who want a semi- automatic weapons ban).

He also is attempting to ‘influence the policy of a government by intimidation and coercion.”

The only reason Jones is not guilty of terrorism in this outburst is that he hasn’t taken any practical steps. That is, there has to be a clear and present danger that a threat will end in violence for law enforcement to get involved.

But making public policy by threats and intimidation, along with forms of violence, is what al-Qaeda does.

If Jones doesn’t like gun control, he can fundraise and send a representative to Congress, and influence legislation that way. Threatening war is just a form of coercion, i.e. terrorism, carried out in order to get your way on government policy.

The Alex Jones / Piers Morgan exchange:

20 Responses

  1. The FBI has arrested people and charged them with terrorism for doing or saying a lot less than Alex Jones’ comments on CNN. Remember that poor, confused old man in Florida the Bush administration made a big deal out of arresting for supposedly “plotting” an attack when all it turned out he did was try to scam an informer out of a few pair of boots? When will Jones get busted? Oh, wait: He’s white and wears decent clothes.

    I am bloody well disgusted with yahoo’s – from the NRA members of Congress to people such ss Jones to the crazies who show up at parking lot gun sales – claiming their right to walk around with military style assault weapons. We would not even be having this discussion if five men on the Supreme Court did not understand 18th Century grammar and punctuation and so misapplied it to the 21st Century.

    The second amendment calls for a “well regulated militia,” which is what an army was called in the 1700s. A well regulated militia is a corps of discimplined troops led by officers. It is not jerks like Alex Jones buying an assault weapon in a parking lot behind Costco and then toting it around in public on a whim.

    • The historical context of the second amendment was of a bunch of ragtag farmers with rifles against the professional army of the British. It is well documented that Washington had a problem with troops sneaking away for harvest. You have to ignore the context and just about everything else our founders said to interpret the second amendment for disarmament when our founders clearly believed in an armed populace as a bulwark against tyranny. Whether that kind of bulwark is still valid against todays professional military forces is debatable. I believe our founders wanted to instill an intolerance of tyranny, but in recent years I have begun to wonder if they failed…

      • You assume there can’t be scenarios in which sectors of the professional military forces sympathize with or even join the rebels?

        • I just said it was debatable as a bulwark against tyranny; I still believe in an armed populace precisely because of scenarios like you mentioned.

      • Anhistorical wishful thinking. The revolting colonies won with a paid, trained army and a lot of help from foreign professionals, especially the French, whose fleet was not sailed by farmers. Washington was particularly unenthusiastic about guerrilla-type war.

        Militias were notoriously unreliable, not just because they went home to farm but because they tended to flee the battlefield.

        • HQUAIN, you are correct that the war was won by a professional army. However, it was the militias that started the revolt. Without taking that imperfect first step there could have been no eventual victory. It is that armed intolerance for tyranny that was so significant to our founders. The debatable part to me is that we do have an armed populace, but I’m not so sure there is an intolerance for tyranny when it’s encroachment is gradual and subtle.

  2. It has not been proved that Anwar al-Awlaki, and American citizen killed by a US drone in Yemen, did more than threaten the US.

    Proved to whom? Abdulmuttallab testified in court that Awlaki helped organize the attempted bombing of an airliner filled with passengers on Christmas Day 2009.

    There are better examples to make your point.

    • A clever defense attorney would argue that Abdulmuttallab lacks credibility and there is no solid proof of Awlaki’s complicity.

      British prosecutorial officials felt there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges against Osama Bin Laden for complicity following 9/11. Some were even saying his video communique “confession” broadcast on Al-Jazeera just before the 2004 U.S. presidential election could never be properly authenticated in a court of law.

      This is not new; criminal charges in Italy against the putative 1985 Achille Lauro mastermind, Palestinian Liberation Front Abu Abbas, were never pursued due to solid legal evidence of his complicity even though the State Department and President Reagan named him as the organizer of the cruise ship hijacking.

  3. One can not expect Alex Jones to be anything other than Alex Jones. I agree with Alex Jones that allowing people to settle the issue of gun ownership by taking a vote is pure baloney.
    Not all important issues can be solved by taking a vote.
    I have a solution that does need to be voted on because in a room full of adults in would pass unanimously.
    I would give Alex Jones a choice. He can keep all the guns that he wants or he can keep his balls but he can not keep both. Women know much more about how to handle fire arms safely than men do.

  4. The “clear and present danger” test is a First Amendment protection as interpreted by the Supreme Court. It saved U.S. Communist Party members from jail for Smith Act violations.

    In 1970, in the case of U.S. versus Brandenburg, a segregationist leader was exonerated by the Supreme Court after the Justice Department prosecuted him for making a public speech similar to that of Mr. Jones. The First Amendment protected him.

    The Department of Justice lost cases against KKK leader Robert Miles for sedition in the 1980s and later the Hutaree militia out of Washtenaw County, Michigan.

    It should be noted that when the FBI was rounding up the Hutaree members, other militias in Michigan were admittedly monitoring county law enforcement communications channels.

    In Metro Detroit, however, an Islamic sect leader, Luqman Abdullah died in a hail of FBI gunfire while allegedly resisting arrest on federal charges.

    • Don’t forget the double standard of the gun nuts, who ignored the destruction of the black-separatist MOVE sect in Philadelphia by an ill-advised police explosive device, but fall over themselves hailing the virtues of white patriarch David Koresh. Both, it must be said, were a vast nuisance to their neighbors.

      Don’t even ask those bastards about the state murder of the Black Panthers unless you want to get punched.

  5. As a Canadian living in Toronto, I’m frankly bemused by these sort of over-the-top reactions, frankly paranoia, form the Right. I get that they love the 2nd amendment, but how do they convince themselves of the necessity/option of the presence of military grade weapons in civilian hands?

  6. If you don’t know, say it loud….

    What I heard from Alex Jones was a guy desperately afraid of having to engage the underlying issues, and not only pathetic in his own special way, but simply too insecure to let Piers get a word in edgewise.

    I expect he would be the epitome of the neurotic needs and inadequacies that characterize many of these people.

  7. It seems like a performance to me. Alex Jones made a calculated gesture that will appeal to his audience (who buy his paranoid conspiracy tapes) partly because of the reactions he expects to garner from the left. His shtick is “outrage” and partly because of being watched and hounded by big brother. Alex Jones needs the FBI. Why does Piers Morgan want to talk with this guy anyway? Maybe it’s An America’s Got Rhetoric Special Edition — you need a few nuts to keep the show interesting, eh?

    Performance Art.

    Boring too.

  8. The militia neo-Confederates really, really believe that America was only ever supposed to be ruled by white Christian property owners. I’m not kidding. If you dig into the literature, or any of the more rabid gun magazines, the words are repeated over and over again, “America was not founded as a democracy.”
    Therefore, the current democratic government is tyranny and they have an unimpeachable right to overthrow it.

    We need to be confronting these people with the monstrous past they are plotting to return us to. Force them to admit that they want to take the vote away from “un-American” minorities. That they will never share their gun rights with those minorities, instead branding them terrorists the instant they organize their own militias.

  9. By the standards of Jones’ movement, everything the Ku Klux Klan did was justified as a rebellion against Federal tyranny. Consider that.

  10. I do think the Founders believed that an armed populace is necessary to keep government tyranny in check. The bill of rights were written in a certain context (war of independence against a tyrannical government). Their main focus was to potect “natural rights of liberty and property”. This is not to say we have to adopt the same mindset as the founder because, after all, most of them also believed in salvery and other bad things.

    I think we delude ourselves when he assert that the 2nd amendment is only about hunting and sports. We have to be truthful. We mock conservatives for saying “Guns are to keep tyrannical governments in check and for self defense against government.” However, that is what the founders believed too. We need to challenge the mindset and argbue that times have changed, not rewrite history and claim that thery founder had duck hunting in mind.

  11. The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki was a violation of the Constitution, so what’s your point?

    • The issue is whether Jones, or a large section of the broader gun movement, have a problem with the goverment murdering Moslems. In fact, I think Jones does have a problem with it, but many of the people he’s making his living off of hate the government only when it oppresses “real” Americans instead of gays, liberals, Moslems, socialists, Jews, blacks, the poor, and of course everyone else on Earth. We’re supposed to believe that Jones’ alternative States’ Rights militia will respect the rights of all those other kinds of Americans given our history?

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