Anarchy. Guns. Armageddon. Conspiracy theories. Typical fodder for conservative talk radio shows, I was surprised to hear these topics broached by the mostly inane but slightly left-leaning morning radio show on KDWB (Minneapolis) this morning. And not only were these topics discussed but they were all linked to one person: President-elect Barack Obama.
Dave Ryan, the morning show host, introduced the story between riffs from T.I. and ballads from Beyonce with an anecdote about taking his son to the shooting range over the weekend. Normally they don't have to wait their turn to blow clay pigeons out of the air but this time the wait list was over 20 minutes. Ryan asked the owner what the deal was. The owner of the rifle range replied, "I don't know but we've been swamped ever since Obama got elected."
Ryan's theory was that all the Midwest conservatives were concerned about Obama tightening gun legislation and were therefore out buying weapons en masse. One of his co-hosts added that some of the fringe conservatives considered Obama the equivalent of the anti-Christ and have started preparations for Armageddon.
After a good giggle about the irrationality of "them," a listener texted in to say that although he/she was a rank-and-file liberal, he/she felt the need to dust off the gun and get some practicing in. All in preparation for... Obama's probable assassination and the ensuing anarchy. And it isn't just radio show hosts and reckless speculators who are thinking down this line -- a friend in the FBI told me that the scuttlebutt around the office is that they give President Obama an optimistic two years before he's assassinated. "The Secret Service is shitting themselves with worry."
Ryan then concluded by saying that gun purchases have seen a marked increase since Obama's election. This is correct, according to the New York Times. The Times cites concerns about increased gun control legislation but adds ominously, "
But markets, whether for guns or stocks and bonds, tend to move with their own internal dynamics even in -- perhaps especially in -- gloomy economic times.
Chris Casella, general manager of Federal Firearms Company in Oakdale, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, said he had been fielding about 30 calls a day from people interested in buying assault-type rifles, especially semiautomatic weapons, often with magazines that could hold lots of ammunition.
"A lot of people are buying them as an investment," Mr. Casella said. "Better than gold."
Apparently people on both sides of partisan lines are worried about an impending Armageddon of some sort and are preparing for it. My worry is that this type of thinking will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The question now is what will Barack Obama do about it?