Kind Old Man Harassed by Sandy Hook Truthers; Gun Industry Keeps Counting Money

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:27 EDT
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As anyone can tell you who has dealt with gun nuts and isn’t in thrall to the mainstream media mandate to treat people as rational simply because they’re powerful, they tend to cultivate levels of paranoia so high that it’s actually stunning there’s so many of them. We’re talking levels of paranoia that should have appeal only limited to, at most, a thousand people in the U.S. They make the folks who think the government is using their fillings to transmit signals into their brain sound relatively stable. People made fun of Alex Jones and the way he acted on Piers Morgan’s show, but the fact of the matter is that Jones has made a fortune exploiting paranoid motherfuckers and is not really that marginal a character at all. His little empire puts out an expensive, glossy monthly magazine of the sort a lot of reality-based movements wish they could afford. Yes, he’s a little out there for many gun nuts, but by holding down the everything-is-a-government-conspiracy fringe, he opens up space for the NRA to hold a steady tone of paranoia that’s on the moon-landing-was-faked level. The fact that gun nuts practically demand that you rank them by levels of implausibility to their paranoid conspiracy theory obsessions says a lot.

Because of this, it’s no big surprise that “Sandy Hook truthers” were locked and loaded and ready to go. It was quickly mainstreamed via JAQ-ing off on Fox News. Now a 69-year-old man whose main “crime” was sheltering a bunch of small children who had witnessed the massacre has become a target for hateful gun nuts who have convinced themselves that Sandy Hook is a government hoax created by Obama in order to take their guns away and leave them at the mercy of the marauding hordes of black men in Obama campaign T-shirts they imagine are coming for them any day now. Fear of imminent race wars is the sort of thing that wipes a brain of any basic human decency, which isn’t surprising if you think about it, and thus Gene Rosen has been enduring a non-stop campaign of harassment from people accusing him of making it all up when he said that he found some scared children and gave them some cookies and juice and called their parents.

Tom Tomorrow’s tweet says it all:

Of course, even if the opposition to gun control did come from rational people we have no reason to fear, that says pretty much nothing about all the irrational and angry people that can buy guns anyway, but I digress. Tom is right that being all about guns is negatively correlated with being a rational, reality-based person, and it’s time that our discourse about this issue reflected that.

Let’s be clear about this: These levels of irrationality and paranoia are the result of a multi-decade gun industry marketing campaign that exploits racist fantasies and conservative male fears that one should always be proving that one’s “man enough” in order to sell guns. If stoking paranoia and driving people into a constant frenzy of fear is what it takes to sell guns, the industry will do it. They don’t care how many Gene Rosens they hurt, how many small children are murdered, or how much they stoke racial tensions unnecessarily. Dead small children means record gun sales. Every time Ann Coulter suggests that you’re in imminent danger from black criminals, gun sales are made.  They have every incentive to keep angry white men fearful of black people, worried about being emasculated, and paranoid that the government is out to get them. Those things drive up profits and make gun manufacturers very wealthy indeed.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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