It's become a political meme: AR-15s are the new campaign buttons. First it was William Kostric, the New Hampshire Ron Paul voter who waited for Obama to arrive at a New Hampshire event carrying a sign with Timothy McVeigh's favorite quote about killing tyrants. Today, the Arizona Republic reports, an African-American who would prefer not to give his name was walking around outside the Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama is giving a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, armed for an insurrection:
A man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault rifle) on a strap over his shoulder.
"Because I can do it," he said when asked why he was armed. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."
Two police officers were staying very close to the man.
"What he is doing is perfectly legal," Detective J. Oliver, of the Phoenix police department said. "We are here to keep the peace. If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time."
Who knows? Maybe he's a pro-reform demonstrator looking to defend himself from the WIlliam Kostrics of the world. One thing is clear: This is going to keep happening in any state backward enough to let it happen until someone gets hurt.
Update: Turns out the unnamed guy we'll just call Crazy McShooty for now was of "about a dozen" with firearms in Phoenix today. Just calm people who would like to have a quiet, rational discussion about the direction this nation is headed.