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Tuesday, 15 January 2013 06:53

Gun Appreciation Day: A Gathering of Conspiracy Theorists and Right-Wing Extremists

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 

"I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country's founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history." – Larry Ward, chief organizer of “Gun Appreciation Day”

 

While Appreciation Days aren’t new, the use of them as a mash-up of the political and entrepreneurial is a recent phenomenon that appears to be working well: If conservative supporters of Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby were able to organize highly successful Appreciation Days for those franchises, then why not an Appreciation Day in support of gun rights?

That’s where Larry Ward’s Political Media, Inc. comes in. Team Ward‘s Gun Appreciation Day posse includes a passel of Obama haters and conspiracy theorists. And Ward is absolutely convinced that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have appreciated “Gun Appreciation Day.”

Last year, supporters of the Chick-fil-A chicken franchise, led by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, organized “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The event drew thousands to Chick-fil-A outlets across the country where folks gobbled up boatloads of chicken sandwiches, showing support for the franchise founder’s longtime anti-gay advocacy stand. More recently, “Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day” was organized to drive customers to Hobby Lobby stores around the country in support of its conservative Christian founders’ refusal to comply with Obamacare regulations.   

Gun Appreciation Day – a pre-inaugural gun-fest

On January 19, two days before the second inaugural of President Barack Obama, a few days after the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, a little over a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, and just prior to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s anticipated introduction of new gun control legislation in the Senate, a new coalition of gun rights and conservative groups are organizing a nationwide event called “Gun Appreciation Day.”

Organizers are “urging Americans … to show their support for gun ownership by turning out en masse at gun stores, ranges, and shows from coast to coast,” according to a Gun Appreciation Day (http://gunappreciationday.com) press release.

"The Obama administration has shown that it is more than willing to trample the Constitution to impose its dictates upon the American people," said Gun Appreciation Day chairman Larry Ward, president of Political Media, Inc. "If the American people don't fight back now, Obama will do to the Second Amendment what he has already done to the First with Obamacare; gut it without a moment's thought to our basic constitutional rights."

Thus far, Gun Appreciation Day includes such organizations as Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Special Operations Speaks, Revolution PAC, Citizens and Country, Social Security Institute, Committee to Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano, Conservative Action Alerts, Women Warriors PAC, Conservative Action Fund, and Political Media, Inc.

Larry Ward, GAD’s lead organizer

According to MSNBC’s Zachary Roth, Larry Ward, “The lead organizer of Gun Appreciation Day … helps run a group that warns of ‘armed government oppression’ and a ‘world government.’ Another group involved in the event stokes fear that ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ will impose ‘martial law.’ A third promotes a fringe constitutional theory beloved by the Tea Party, and a post on its website describes public schools as ‘progressive indoctrination camps.’”

Roth reported that Ward, “is listed as a member of the board of the SSI’s [Social Security Institute] board, and as the group’s ‘director of new media.’” While the Social Security Institute claims it’s a “nonpartisan seniors advocacy organization, …. its website offers warnings about ‘world government’ — a bête noire of the extreme right, which fears that a government gun grab could lead to a U.N. takeover, often referred to in extremist circles as a ‘New World Order.’ And SSI’s president, Lawrence Hunter, wrote recently that ‘[a] heavily armed citizenry is not about armed revolt; it is about defending oneself against armed government oppression.’”

Ward’s Political Media website “displays SSI’s site as an example of its work. Ward is described in his bio on SSI’s site as a protégé of GOP political consultant Dick Morris. Morris himself said last year on Fox News that he feared Obama would try to make the U.S. ‘a vassal state to a globalist entity.’”

In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown Massacre, Ward called for the arming of teachers in the public schools. "Quite frankly, I'm tired of the argument only being one-sided when there's a tragedy," Ward told reporters. "There's only one answer: more gun control, more gun control. ... This school was a gun-free zone, I believe. And the truth is, if there was one teacher or one principal armed that could have come in and ended the violence with one shot -- with one shot could have saved dozens of children."

Ward also created a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling to "Arm the Teachers and Principals."

He has also been handling the media for Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS), an organization claiming that the Obama administration denied support when the embassy in Benghazi was attacked.

Ward was also a main mover in the National ObamaCare Opt Out Movement.

Alan Gottlieb founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms stated, "We need to ban politicians who assault our rights, not firearms that are used thousands of times a day to protect lives and property from criminal attack."

Drawing from the playbook of last year’s resoundingly successful “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” that drew throngs of supporters, the organizers of Gun Appreciation Day are looking for similar crowds … sans the chicken sandwiches.