Texas has been recapturing it's old reputation lately as the epicenter of right wing-extremism. First there was the bizarre "Jade Helm" conspiracy making its way all the way from the Governor's office to the corridors of Congress, where presidential candidates from the state actually met with the Pentagon to confirm that the government wasn't, in fact, sending in Delta Force "death squads" to kill patriotic Texans under the guise of so-called military exercises.
This happened at around the same time that fierce anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller and her cohorts descended on Texas to hold a "cartoon contest" to mock the Prophet Mohammed, and were rewarded with an incident in which two self-styled ISIS misfits got themselves killed in an attempted attack on the event. This, in turn, resulted in a new right-wing meme about "ISIS in America." (This could be shortened to ISIA, but that would require that they know what ISIS means in the first place.)
Another group of wingnuts, these ones bikers in Arizona (perhaps inspired by the Waco gangsters' show of force), are planning to convene a "protest" outside the mosque reportedly attended by the two shooters who attacked Geller's contest. They plan to meet tonight at a local Denny's to hold a Prophet cartoon contest of their own, and then stage a "peaceful protest" across the street at the mosque.
It's called the "Freedom of Speech Rally Round II". They announced it on their Facebook page:
ROUND 2!!!!!!! This will be a PEACEFUL protest in front of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix AZ. This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist, with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad.
Everyone is encouraged to bring American Flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the 2 gunmen. This Islamic Community Center is a known place that the 2 terrorist frequented.
People are also encouraged to utilize there [sic] second amendment right at this event just incase our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack.
1. Date will be Friday May 29th @ 6:15pm. This is when they normally host a large prayer.
2. Bikers wil meet at the Denny's located at 9030 N Black Canyon Hwy Phoenix, AZ 85051@ 5:00pm. Kick Stands up at 6pm.
3. There will be a Muhammad Cartoon Contest and the winner will be announced at the After Party. Participants must show cartoon at the Rally.
4. We will not have food vendors at this event because we don't want this to turn into a carnival. People can bring snacks and water but please keep the neighborhood clean.
5. There will be an after party starting at 8:30pm at Wild Bills located at 6840 N. 27th Ave Phx, AZ.
Thank you all for your Support.
It's good to see they aren't litterers. Well, unless you're talking about spent bullets and dead bodies "just in case" their "first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack." (One assumes they have only seen a version of the First Amendment in which "freedom of religion" is redacted.)
So, what we have is a gathering of well-armed gang members announcing they will hold a Mohammed cartoon contest outside of a mosque in anticipation of a gun fight. That sounds great. From the comments on the post, it would seem that the word has spread, and a number of what appear to be Muslim commenters have engaged in a fascinating, if sometimes provocative, dialog on the Facebook page. There's also a counter-protest planned, called the "Anti-Racism Muslim Solidarity Rally." (Sadly, it does not appear to have the numbers of RSVPs that the biker rally is showing.) One assumes there will be plenty of police presence, which I'm sure thrills local law enforcement to no end. What could be better than overseeing the meeting of a bunch of agitating bikers packing heat?
It's interesting that American biker gangs now see themselves as patriots. While Americans have always had a bit of a romance with outlaws, biker gangs aren't usually associated with a love of the flag, or of God, Mother and Apple Pie. But since they are the most macho dudes on the planet, they seem to have taken to role with relish.
It's one thing to show up at Denny's on a Friday Night with your shiny weapon slung over your shoulder and hold a cartoon contest. It's quite another to go into the belly of the beast. And there are some Americans who are suggesting we do just that:
“Police have their hands full fighting our real enemies, the cartels, the Islamists, and now they’re fighting motorcycle gangs? I find myself thinking, let’s have a little retraining for motorcycle gangs and put them on our side fighting our enemies. That’s what we really need.”
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean we should send them over to Iraq to fight ISIS. It sounds as though it's being promoted as a good idea that they be unleashed on America's real enemies --- other Americans. That was Sandy Rios, by the way, director of governmental affairs for The American Family Association which bills itself as "a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on moral issues that impact the family."
If outlaw motorcycle gangs don't fit that image, what does?
Notice you don't see any condemnation of the violence of these armed gang members --- just a mild aside that they might require some "retraining."
Basically, we have a situation where some members of the American right wing are coming perilously close to endorsing that violent gang members attack people for their religious beliefs. That sure doesn't sound very conservative to me. But then "conservative" isn't a word that really fits the right wing in America anymore is it?