Three Baton Rouge police officers are dead, and several others wounded, after a Missouri man armed with an assault rifle ambushed them Sunday. Gavin Long of Kansas City, who was reportedly an ex-Marine and a member of the fringe-Right “Sovereign Citizens” movement, spent his birthday increasing America’s gun violence problem one shot at a time. The Wall Street Journal reports that Long has ties to “an antigovernment group called the New Freedom Group,” while MSNBC confirms he is a “Sovereign Citizen.”
Sovereign Citizens have a long history of attacking police officers, and are recognized by the FBI as a “growing domestic threat to law enforcement”:
Although the sovereign-citizen movement does not always rise to violence, its members’ illegal activities and past violent—including fatal—incidents against law enforcement make it a group that should be approached with knowledge and caution. It is important that law enforcement be aware of sovereign citizens’ tactics so agencies can warn the public of potential scams, spot illegal activity and understand its potential severity, and be prepared for and protect against violent behavior or backlash through intimidation and harassment.
Police told CNN that the shootings did not appear to be race-related, the shooter was a member of cop-hating, far-Right, and anti-government groups. But that’s not what Fox News fans heard as they desperately grasped for a way to make this about race. They heard that the shooter was black.
Fox readers lashed out, declaring that “a racial war has started” because a member of far-Right extremist groups normally celebrated by Fox fans continued those groups’ tradition of killing cops. “No good NQQERS,” one person wrote. “Blacks being blacks,” another helpfully added. Another pledged to start “hunting liberals” in response to this killing which, once again, was committed by a member of far-Right extremist groups. Here is a small sampling from the comment section on that article:
Unlike these numbskulls, President Obama spoke out against the killing because, as he points out every time a conservative guns down black people in a church and school kids in their classrooms, killing is wrong.
“We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. Attacks on police are an attack on all of us, and the rule of law that makes society possible,” Obama said from the White House press briefing room. “We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.”
“Only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided,” he added, noting that “around the clock news cycles” (Fox News, for example) “sometimes amplify these divisions.”
“And we’re going to have to keep on doing it again and again and again,” he said. “That’s how this country gets united.”
President Obama has often spoken out against gun violence, no matter the political affiliation of the person holding the gun. He just wants the senseless killings that plague our nation to stop, to prevent people who absolutely should never be within reach of a gun from buying them.
These people — the ones up there spewing racial epithets and mindless hatred — they’ll be voting in November, and they will almost certainly vote for a candidate who will not even acknowledge the gun violence problem in America, let alone fix it. Make sure you head to the polls and vote BLUE for our country’s future.
Featured image via screengrab