Today in Fort Hunt, and later in Gravelly Point, two parks along the Potomac River in Virginia, right-wing activists gathered with loaded pistols and unloaded rifles to protest the Obama administration’s “tyranny.” Today also marks the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, but attendees told ThinkProgress that April 19th is significant for several reasons. One attendee likened his movement to the Jews who rose up in the Warsaw ghetto against Nazi soldiers, which began on April 19th, while some said they were like the revolutionaries who fought in the battle of Lexington and Concord. Others, echoing Timothy McVeigh and Rush Limbaugh, commemorate April 19th because it marks the siege of the Branch Davidian ranch in Waco.
Only about 50 attendees showed up to the rally. A man who identified himself as “Mark” from Arkansas said many people wanted to attend, but did not have enough vacation time or money to make the trip. Mark said he read about some European countries which provide for more vacation time, and although he opposes the government, said he wishes it would do more to increase wages and paid leave for workers. In any case, there were as many reporters as attendees at the event.
Mike Vanderboegh, the blogger who encouraged people to throw bricks at Democratic offices around the country last month and who called for a “thousand little Wacos” to resist the government, addressed the rally in the morning. He told the crowd that the government must “to understand this situation is coming to a fundamental break when people innocent and guilty are going to begin dying for their failure to understand.” Vanderboegh told a reporter that there will be “consequences” for the government. Asked if that means “more Ruby Ridges, more Wacos,” Vanderbroegh replied, “precisely.”
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, mocked President Clinton for cautioning militia groups not to use incendiary rhetoric. “This is the guy whose Attorney General thinks a barbecue is burning a bunch of people in Waco and he’s lecturing us about being civil,” barked Pratt at the rally. Pratt then said suggested that the Obama administration is elitist, and that they would do “whatever they have to — including barbecue.” TP’s Victor Zapanta produced a video of interviews and speeches at the event. Watch it:
Although many protesters were adamant about their belief that the Obama administration is conspiring to confiscate their weapons, as the Washington Post pointed out today, Obama has actually expanded gun rights and signed into law a rule last year which allowed guns into National Parks, making today’s event possible.