I’ll be honest, until a few days ago, I didn’t know anything about this so-called “Fast and Furious” government program.
Here’s what I know now that Republicans are apparently trying to destroy the career of Attorney General Eric Holder over this gun-smuggling, or “gunwalking,” program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In 2006, the ATF started running “gunwalking” sting operations.
Gunwalking is a tactic in which the ATF allowed guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers, “gunrunners,” working through straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.
The theory was that by tracking the firearms, it would lead the ATF to high-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, which would lead to their arrest and the subsequent dismantling of the drug cartels.
It sounds pretty crazy, but the Bush administration did far nuttier things while in office, like torturing human beings and launching unpaid and unnecessary wars, but I digress.
Under the Bush administration the program was called Operation Wide Receiver. Under the Obama administration, the program was modified and renamed to Fast and Furious.
Rather than targeting low-level traffickers, as had been the result of Operation Wide Receiver, the goal of Fast and Furious was to roll up entire gun smuggling networks.
And then on Dec. 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed.
Guns found at the scene of the murder had been linked to the Fast and Furious operation, but the bullet that killed Terry was too damaged to be connected to a specific weapon.
Fast and Furious stopped and an investigation ensued, perhaps rightly so.
However, while the notion of letting high-powered weapons fall into the hands of known criminals and drug cartels seems ridiculous enough, what’s happening now in Congress, the rightwing media frenzy and now the mainstream media is ludicrous.
The theory on the right is that Obama “created” this Fast and Furious program in order to take away your 2nd amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
Huh? How does that theory play out, exactly?
Well, in rightwing nutty world, Bush and Obama concocted this “gunwalking” scheme to put more guns into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels in order to ratchet up violence along the border.
Once the bullet-riddled bodies start piling up, the president would sweep in and take away your guns.
This “theory” was cooked up by a rightwinger named Michael Vanderboegh. It was Vanderboegh who called on fellow patriots to smash the windows out of Democratic offices after health care reform passed in 2010.
Smashing did in fact take place.
But now Vanderboegh has convinced, supposedly serious people, that Obama, and apparently Bush, had been arming drug cartels with weapons in order to take away your guns.
It’s a crazy idea, but one Republicans in the House of Representatives have embraced wholeheartedly.
In fact, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has brought contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder for refusing to turn over documents relating to the program.
Holder asked Obama to utilize executive privilege to block access to the documents. I don’t know what’s in those documents, because they’re not public, but the notion that this is some sort of widespread government conspiracy to take away your guns is ridiculous.
The argue is guilty of the “it does not follow” flaw.
First, why would Obama want to take away your guns? There’s little to no political push to do so among Democrats. Obama never campaigned on taking away anyone’s guns, and he’s put forward no policy to do so. In fact, in some instances, he’s actually expanded the rights of gun owners, but to my knowledge has never restricted gun ownership.
I can’t speak for all liberals, but most people simply don’t care about your guns. If you’re a law-abiding citizen who chooses to spend your money on firearms, go ahead.
In fact, to all conspiracy nutcases out there, liberals spend far less time thinking about you than you realize. I can honestly say that I never think about you, other than when I write about your cockamamy “theories.”
But that’s not stopping the head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, from flipping his lid over this. According to LaPierre, the way you can tell that Obama is about to take your guns away is that he’s not taken your guns away.
Obama is lulling gun owners into a false sense of security, LaPierre said, so that he can win a second term and then he’ll take your guns away.
I guess anything is possible, but in terms of priorities, it boggles the mind to think that taking away people’s guns is high on Obama’s list of things to do if he gets a second term.
And to think that Obama crafted some elaborate scheme to arm Mexican drug cartels with the goal of taking away your guns defies logic.
But sadly, for Republicans, this is just one more kooky bowl of crack pot soup on the right. And it’s more evidence that the Republican party will remain uncompetitive nationally for years to come. Nobody outside the tinfoil hat circles is going to buy this stuff, and fortunately, most people aren’t conspiracy nuts.
However, unfortunately, this type of malarky is seeping into the mainstream media and being given way too much credibility with far too little context.
But until the GOP gets itself back on track, the party will win some House seats here and there, but in terms of having national political power, the party is over.