Hey did you hear the one about how North Korea should rain nuclear hellfire on all those dumb libtards in California? If not, just head over to Grant Stinchfield’s Twitter page.
The host of a program on NRATV, the National Rifle Association’s online streaming network, thought it was hilarious to say that the U.S. should tell dictator Kim Jong-un that California’s capital has been renamed “Guam.”
Haha, get it?
OK, never mind that, from a comedic angle, the joke makes no sense. Why would Pyongyang, which has threatened to launch missiles at the U.S. territory, decide to switch targets because it’s been informed of a name change?
Dumb, nonsensical joke aside, the subtext is clear. It’s almost a time-honored tradition for right-wingers to bash California as a socialist big-government hell hole. The state, with its nationally leading $2.44 trillion economy, is consistently a leader in progressive policies such as environmental protection, adoption of electric vehicles, restrictions on imported consumers goods with high levels of toxins, and, of course, gun control.
The NRA has long held California’s gun policies in contempt. Earlier this year through its Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA joined a lawsuit challenging a state law barring the manufacture, sale, transport or import of semiautomatic assault-style weapons.
Stinchfield’s joke comes after the NRA ratcheted up its rhetoric not just against proponents of gun control, but the media and a large number of Americans that support sensible gun control measures the NRA radically opposes.
Media Matters first reported on the joke, and Connecticut Against Gun Violence, a gun control advocacy group, cited it as further evidence that the NRA is increasingly flirting with calls for violence in its campaigns.
The NRA recently released two videos produced recently featuring NRA spokesperson and conservative commentator Dana Loesch making ominous-sounding statements, including one saying to the New York Times “we’re coming after you.”
“Consider this the shot across your bow,” she says in the video. An earlier video, which relied on footage of a fringe group of leftist Antifa protesters, portrayed liberals as violent fascists.
Though Loesch never outwardly calls for acts of violence, the ominous language and footage used in the videos are dog whistles to right wingers convinced that big government Democrats and their liberal media enablers are out to pry guns from their cold dead fingers.
Predictably, reactions to the videos spurred right-wing news outlet Breitbart to spin the story around, saying the NRA was simply “pointing out the left’s propensity for violence in media and in action.”
The NRA wasn’t always such an extreme right wing group. For much of its 146-year history the organization basically just taught firearms safety and marksmanship, often at the request of state National Guards. Even after it began entering the political fray in the 1930s, the group supported gun control measures such as banning automatic weapons for civilian use and requiring gun licenses nationwide. But the sentiment shifted in the late 70s and began evolving into the hard-right politically active group that it is today.
Let’s see Stinchfield make a bad joke about that.