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Gun Flaunted by Protester Near Obama Town Hall in New Hampshire


A man with a gun in a holster protesting near the Obama town hall got the attention of MSNBC today. Apparently this is legal in New Hampshire. The man, who is apparently not a law officer but a civilian, held a sign with a portion of a quote from Thomas Jefferson. The full quote is:

Protester "And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

According to The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur, this quote was also referenced on a T-shirt worn by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh shortly before carrying out the attack on the federal building there.

Anybody have a clue why he'd be wearing an earpiece? Some on YouTube are saying Secret Service.

UPDATE: Chris Matthews talked to the protester on Hardball.

Both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. "Coming to terms with the fact that someone you virulently disagree with is president is part of what being a US citizen is about--many of us managed to accomplish it during 2 Bush terms. They need to accept that Obama is president and act like mature citizens."

    @Ernie - I agree completely! But Obama needs to realize that being President means that you are President of and for ALL of the people...not just for your party or your "base"...or your contributors.

    As President or Congressman, your job is to be a diplomat and to ensure peace and tranquility -- not to dismiss, marginalize or slander half of the population -- and certainly not to incite violence with insane and moronic phrases like "punch back twice as hard". That is beyond idiotic.

    As you said, we had 8 years of incompetence and corruption under Bush, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that we are in for three and a half more.

    I also fear that what we will get next will be even worse -- just as the pendulum swung from Bush's idiocy of the right to the extreme leftist idiocy of Obama, it may very well swing back even further to the right and give us someone horrible like Huckabee for another 4-8 years of hell.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 8:26:23 PM

  2. "As for the quote, the specific part he took was obviously harmless, and I've never heard anyone demonizing someone for quoting Jefferson before."

    @Paladin - Isn't it frightening that you are now beginning to hear just that?

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 8:29:02 PM

  3. @Greg2 - It's not about black versus white, it's about Democrats versus Republicans...with the rest of us as victims of their assholism.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 8:30:43 PM

  4. "It's ridiculous to say that he is making some kind of statement by just carrying a gun along."

    Of course he was making a statement. It is his right in the state of NH, and he exercised it. He wasn't by some casual coincidence carrying a loaded weapon and a sign in close vicinity of a presidential town meeting. An angry citizen with a loaded weapon in a politically charged environment sure seems dangerous to me, but, you're right, he wasn't breaking the law. I'm not sure what you mean by: "I would hope that most Americans would be willing to violently bring down an oppressive dictator if one were in power." Our presidents are freely elected. When would it be acceptable too "violently bring down" any elected official?

    And, Alex, I never suggested that anyone sit down and shut up. I'm a firm believer in free speech. I just happen to believe that informed, civil discourse is more useful than aimless anger. I also agree that it's the responsibility of the Democrats to stand up to the opposition, make their case against the scare tactics, and pass legislation. If they screw up this opportunity, they'll have themselves to blame.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 11, 2009 8:32:18 PM

  5. Anyone who hates Obama, and some of the reasons for that hate are fully justified, would be stupid to try and kill him. It would make him a martyr. But then again, a few of Obama's opponents happen to be too stupid to see that. That's what the Secret Service is for.

    Posted by: Attmay | Aug 11, 2009 8:48:28 PM

  6. Paul C., what are you talking about. Obama has been nothing if not fair to those who disagree. He would have every right to condemn the threats, scare tactics and dangerous lies that are being spewed, but all he has done is listen and respond thoughtfully to those who disagree. Case in point, when an elderly woman asked him about the euthanasia at an AARP town hall a few weeks ago, he didn't dismiss the question, he answered it and said it wasn't true.

    Posted by: DJ | Aug 11, 2009 8:52:24 PM

  7. If this was Georgie Dubya and a Democrat protester, you know the Dem protester would be labeled a terrorist.

    I think the NH man is a terrorist and should be sent to Gitmo.

    Posted by: Landis | Aug 11, 2009 9:38:16 PM

  8. I agree, DJ. If anything, the Democrats tend to be too slow to dismiss ludicrous ideas. (Not that there aren't legitimate concerns about health care reform, but I don't see Obama dismissing those either.) It's a fine line between listening to genuine concerns and letting crackpots control a debate. The right-wing Republicans (not to be confused with the moderates of the party) are much more skilled at dismissing the opposition than the left-wing Democrats. The desperation comes when they still have the skills but not the power. But I never underestimate their knack for scaring the public.

    "Anyone who hates Obama, and some of the reasons for that hate are fully justified, would be stupid to try and kill him."

    What exactly are the fully justified reasons for hating the president? Disagreement with his policies, yes, but hate? And wouldn't someone be more than stupid to try to kill a president? Wouldn't they also be, say, wrong?

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 11, 2009 9:43:42 PM

  9. I get that this is messed up, but why is there no coverage of the actual town hall meeting itself? I feel like it would be more beneficial for people to hear what Obama had to say than to keep focusing only on the crazies.

    Posted by: Lance | Aug 11, 2009 9:52:18 PM

  10. Lance

    MSNBC and CNN carried full coverage with Fox ending coverage when it appeared the questions were not contentious. The fox newscaster even said they would return to coverage of the town hall if there was yelling etc.

    AP even notcied the strangeness of that and has reported on Fox's non reporting and choice of words of only returning to coverage if there was basicaly chaos

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 11, 2009 10:04:33 PM

  11. It's both interesting and frightening how fast lobbyist-induced violent thuggery has become an exercise of "rights". A Democrat doing that in the Bush era would have either been shot on sight or held as a terrorist.

    If there's one thing the Right excels at doing, it's screaming (and I emphasize screaming, since it takes all of two minutes before a righty starts screaming) about rights while they're busy trying to take away a swath of them from other folks.

    Posted by: Zach | Aug 11, 2009 10:06:44 PM

  12. @Lance - Or even better to focus on Obama's secret backroom deal with the pharmaceutical lobby...but that's not what this site is about. This site is about promoting whatever poorly strategized propaganda message the Democrats want to put out at a given moment.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 10:08:33 PM

  13. "I think the NH man is a terrorist and should be sent to Gitmo."

    @Landis - There is no more Gitmo. Remember, Obama closed that down right after ending the two wars and finally granting equal rights to gays...or was it right after he ended domestic spying? He's kept so many promises, I get confused!!

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 10:10:30 PM

  14. Paul C: I knew that it was closed, but you get the drift. Either way, these guys are terrorists. all of them.

    Posted by: Landis | Aug 11, 2009 11:03:12 PM

  15. Uh, yeah, Landis...except that Gitmo isn't closed down and Obama didn't do anything else he promised. He did the opposite.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 11, 2009 11:17:32 PM

  16. "What exactly are the fully justified reasons for hating the president? Disagreement with his policies, yes, but hate?"

    Nothing justifies threats to his life, but let's look at his accomplishments so far:

    —Making racist remarks about his own grandmother
    —Bringing a homophobic gospel "singer" on his South Carolina tour
    —Opposing gay marriage with his asinine "God is in the mix" statement
    —Lying about the nature of his relationship with Bill Ayers, an unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist who is only free because of a technicality, and falsely accusing those who pointed it out of accusing him of participating in the attacks
    —Campaign artwork inspired by art from the murderous dictatorship known as the USSR
    —Appointing a homophobic, anti-semitic preacher to give the invocation at his inauguration
    —Continuing corporate welfare
    —Unconstitutional government seizure of a privately owned corporation (if you loved the Trabant and the Yugo, you'll love the "New, Improved" General Motors)
    —Sending a greeting video to Iran, a country where homosexuality is punishable by death
    —Being nicer to our enemies than our allies (I can't tell which is which anymore)
    —Backtracking on DADT
    —Almost tripling the deficit
    —He said in 2003 he wanted a single-payer system, now he says he doesn't. What changed him?

    I'm sure the list will be ten times this size by 2012. If it's not, and the items on this list are rectified, good. It's more likely that Jimmy Carter may end up looking good by that time.

    Not all of those by themselves are enough to justify hate, but together they paint the portrait of a cynical, self-serving, condescending bastard.

    But you all think that the criticism of him is really a ruse to veil critics' alleged racism. This guy is a white nationalist and a Ron Paul supporter. Don't assume he acts in the name of everyone who is disgusted with the Administration.

    Posted by: Attmay | Aug 11, 2009 11:23:51 PM

  17. I agree with Derek. the history of guns bringing guns near presidents or presidential candidates is not a good one. as far at the supreme court is concerned until recently with roberts alioto and scalia he was right it was about the wording around militia. those darned activist judges again.

    Posted by: robert | Aug 12, 2009 1:03:55 AM

  18. Sane people don't go and wear guns to social gatherings unless they're NRA meetings.

    Was this an NRA meeting? No? Then WTF is nutcase doing with that gun at an Obama event? Ugh.

    Posted by: Drew | Aug 12, 2009 1:28:33 AM

  19. God, some of these comments are plain ignorant. It's amazing how some commenters have characterized gun owners as either NRA members or terrorists. I've never even shot a gun before and I can still recognize the importance of gun ownership in our government, so ignorance cannot be claimed for the large number of asinine comments and commenters.

    This man was only excerising a fundamental right, a right to "bear arms." Sorry, to the commenter who thought his knowledge of the structure of our judicial system and of our founding document as a Towleroad commenter trumped that of our nation's highest court and legal precedent, but the protestor has every right to arm himself, as long as the president is in no danger (or anyone else for that matter, as his background should've been investigated into when he applied for a permit) I don't see what the uproar is about.

    The town hall meetings have been painted as failures because of the many outbreaks of dissent by those attending, but I've yet to see any significant violence erupt.

    Posted by: Leonard Jones | Aug 12, 2009 2:15:31 AM

  20. The Republican's ONLY effort is obstruction. This is not healthy for democracy. Sickening.

    The shouting health care people and birthers are NOT marginalized. They are simply freaked that the president is black and wants progress.

    They love the socialism of social security, medicare, police, and fire protection, but they rant against Socialism. More neurons please.

    Posted by: David R. | Aug 12, 2009 2:17:43 AM

  21. unless this guy carrys a gun 24/7; this act was meant to intimidate and terrorize.

    does he carry a gun to the airport, sporting events, school, his workplace? or does he assume the position to the nanny state in those circumstances?

    would someone carrying a baseball bat, a can of gasoline, or a machette get the same 'rights' consideration?

    Posted by: ohboy | Aug 12, 2009 8:08:11 AM

  22. First of all, the protester in the video comes across as a certifiable nutjob... and why, exactly, did he need to bring a gun to a town hall meeting? Have there been robberies taking place or bear attacks? This falls under the category of "use common sense". Hurray for the right to bear arms! I'm looking forward to shopping at Target with every customer walking around with a loaded weapon. I'd hate to be the cashier that doesn't give grandma her 25¢ discount on adult diapers.

    Mark my words, the next time this happens it will be dozens of 'nutjobs' with their guns, and one of them is going to go off the deep end and scream something about 'saving America' and you and I know how it's going to end.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Aug 12, 2009 8:09:23 AM

  23. Wow, Towleroad has been overrun by assassination friendly squad. Very sad.

    Posted by: Hank | Aug 12, 2009 9:38:17 AM

  24. Let's call the spade what it is.
    All these 'protestors' are one of 2 things: closet racists or stooges for the Republican astroturf operations. Or both. Please. It's mostly old white people...who already fucking have government health care! Hello Medicare!

    I could not go to one of these meetings - I get so incensed thinking about all those old idiots in there bitching about health care reform when they ALREADY HAVE FUCKING GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE that we younger generations are paying for via payroll tax deductions. I'd just have to start punching these old idiots. They are old racist white idiots in my book. Plain and simple. I've been dealing with it since before the 08 election - all my country folk 60+ family members made all these same accusations about Obama. When I called them on their unspoken race baiting...they'd just sit quietly, with no retort other than to get on my case for being smart.

    Ugh. Pathetic. Jesus would have told all these nuts to help their fellow man in need - not act like Pharisees and fools.

    Posted by: Ben | Aug 12, 2009 10:18:55 AM

  25. For anyone who has no issue with this, you're a fucking idiot and I hope you turn your guns on yourselves to put us out of YOUR misery. No one except law enforcement/secret service should be allowed anywhere near a public official with a handgun, let alone some insane asshole wearing a Timothy McVeigh, homegrown-terrorist style T-shirt. Are you nuts?

    Alex, you're a fucking troll. This isn't about the right to assemble and protest and express disagreement. It's a lunatic with a gun.

    People like him will not be happy until Obama is shot and killed, and then people like you—who is bitching at the inability of the weak Dems to push through their ideas with no compromises and yet who is whining that the poor guy with a gun should be left alone—will be partly to blame.

    You think Dems need to grow a pair? People like you who look the other way while radicals rev each other up for the kill need to grow a pair, identify them as what they are—potential killers—and fight them down instead of sniffing that the Dems are not strong enough.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Aug 12, 2009 10:40:02 AM

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