The Face of Trump: Scary NRA Roundhouse Rally

It was actually pretty frightening, the guns, the faces, the signs, the words, the anger. This is the Trump army and it is scary to think of what happens when he loses.

Roundhouse Alert: Just a quick reminder, that there is a House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources hearing at noon today at the Roundhouse in Room 317. At 11:30, Retake volunteers will be outside 317 with bill summaries for the first three bills, along with buttons and encouragement to all who can make it. The hearing room only holds about 80 people so it would be a good idea to arrive early. As a bonus, the three bills we are supporting are the first three on the agenda (below).

  • HB 201 ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM TAX CREDIT CHANGES
  • HB 217 ELECTRIC VEHICLE INCOME TAX CREDIT
  • HB 233 ENERGY GRID MODERNIZATION ROADMAP
  • HM 21 TRANSPORT & STORAGE OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE
  • HB 293 NMED GREENHOUSE GAS EVALUATIONS

The Scary Underside of the US

Yesterday was NRA day at the Roundhouse, drawing a large crowd of people seething with anger and armed. First they rallied outside with speeches filled with fury, misinformation, and threats.

I had to pass through the throng to fetch some lunch. Going out and returning, passing through these people, was a very uncomfortable experience. When their eyes caught my Retake Our Democracy button, I was met with scowls, with one guy smirking and pushing forward his assault weapon. He was wearing a flak jacket and MAGA cap.

I tried not to draw conclusions about the individuals in the crowd based upon their appearance, but it was impossible. When I passed back into the Roundhouse a gun violence prevention advocate was staring out through the glass doors with a frightened look of horror on her face.

This is a side of America that Santa Fe rarely sees, yet if you look at any Trump rally, you will see the same faces, the same anger. I thought back upon a post I had published three years ago about how to talk with a Trump supporter and thought that while there are Trump supporters with whom you can talk, they were not prominent in this crowd.

After the rally, the group entered the Roundhouse to talk with legislators with many toting rifles, pistols or assault weapons. In one instance, a crowd of six or eight had entered an office to demand to see the legislator. When the aide told the group he was in caucus, they shouted; “We don’t care where he is, we want to see him. NOW.” I was thoroughly intimidated by these people, avoiding crossing their path as best I could. There were no smiles. None.

Today’s Roundhouse Roundup in the New Mexican offered this as their quote of the day from just one of the rally participants.

 “Now you better get this right. I’ll hunt you down.”

Andra Stradling, a Farmington resident at the NRA rally Friday at the Capitol, speaking with a New Mexican reporter.

“I’ll hunt you down.”

This morning as I thought more about this, I couldn’t help reflect how these people will react with the news that Trump has lost re-election, how they will respond to Trump’s inevitable tweets describing the election as a fraud and a coup. Trump has been setting these people up for years, joking about a third and fourth term, predicting a civil war if he is removed or voted from office. He plants seeds daily about how he is above the law, even suggesting he was sent from God. He talks of how the Democrats will do anything to remove him, how the news can’t be trusted. What happens when he declares the election a fraud?

I thought about how many of the same people I saw at the Roundhouse would respond to his inflammatory tweets and Fox News spewing conspiracy theories. These are not comforting thoughts.

Finally, I thought of how intimidated I was by these people, how I almost removed my Retake button, how I did nothing to intervene or protect the legislative staff who were being threatened by a crowd demanding to see a legislator who was simply not there. I thought about how ill prepared I would be should these same people and millions more take to the streets in November, armed and angry that their savior had been defeated.

These are not comforting thoughts and I can offer no action, no suggestions as to what to do or how to prepare, but I am interested in your thoughts. We can outvote these people and I suspect we will. But what then?

In solidarity but with a significant bit of fear and trembling.

Paul & Roxanne



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28 replies

  1. yup, i agree, it is interesting to me to note that no one on the left seems to threaten people with whom they disagree. it is too bad that these right wing militarized individuals can’t see how they appear to regular and normal peace loving people, or perhaps if they did they would be proud of themselves because they believe that violence and threats in support of their cause is justified. too bad they have children and then they terrorize their families i.e. “my way or the highway”. they are scary and that is what they want to be. control through intimidation

  2. Terrifying.

  3. Try living in rural Ohio for awhile.

  4. I like your affirmations that Trump WILL lose the 2020 election. Despite whatever upheaval follows, we need this to be the outcome.

  5. I deeply appreciate your years of keeping us informed, energizing us, and today I thank you for sharing your most vulnerable feelings. It gives me hope albeit brought tears to my eyes.

  6. I wonder if Van Jones could find common ground with NRA supporters.

  7. They are well organized and this tactic is being used across the country. The NRA, with the help of Russia, extremists and well funded marketing, and PR firms, spread this. This stuff was tested on social media, because spreading hate and division is profitable.

    Check our how this was portrayed by local media, on Facebook, note the use of the word “seized.”

    “Hundreds rallied outside the Capitol building in Santa Fe on Friday afternoon in opposition to a proposal backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to allow police to seize firearms from people deemed to be an “extreme risk” to themselves or others.”

    They did the same thing back in 2015, to build engagement, and raise their advertising metrics. News sites like this became a focus for right wing hate groups, and people spreading this extremist agenda, that the media was not prepared for. The both sides, false equivocations, were no match for decency and common sense. This rage and hate was normalized, even before Trump.

    They did the same thing in Virginia, where the FBI arrested a few Nazis, white supremacists and an American who lived in Russia. No one is really paying attention to how they are spreading this hate, and alternative facts. No one at the state level, anticipated any of this, even after Virginia, Charlottesville, and El Paso. They think the threat is passivists, progressives,and people of color.

    We are living in the age of Alternate Facts. We may never know which Nazi or White Supremacists groups were involved in this “rally.” We can see the long stream of targeted threats, misinformation and outright lies on what is left of social media. A lot of the people who showed up at this rally are seriously misinformed, and being used as props by Nazis, and extremist hate groups. They have no idea about the facts, they have been effectively brainwashed by clever social media, psychological marketers and propagandists.

    Virtually no meaningful research has been done on this phenomena. Most of the research is funded by various interests that have been making money manipulating people. We are watching our democracy being undermined by some dark and disturbing forces. No one recognized what was going on, billions of dollars can buy a lot of denial. No one wants to peal it back and expose the dark underbelly, that would be bad for business. People around here do not need to know about the Nazis and white supremacists that infiltrated their neighborhoods.

    Local Media told us that there were no hate groups in New Mexico, the fact is these hate groups are more diffuse. They operate on social media, they do not need a physical address. This was we can all stay in denial, and watch as our local papers, avoid the topic. it is probably too late to inject any facts, the facts might have inoculated people against all of this. Facts would be bad for the advertisers and real estate industry.

  8. There is a saying in regenerative agriculture: “If you want to make small changes, change the way you do things. If you want to make large changes, change the way you see things” -Don Campbell

    With regard to the march on the Roundhouse by armed individuals, I find myself making efforts to change the way I see things. Yes, I see anger, rage and pointed threats of violence, no denial there. Yet, deeper down, I think that those hermetically sealed by the cult of violence and the messianic pretensions of a megalomaniacal leader, are frightened beyond imagination, desperate for any form of salvation. I imagine their personalities overpowered, perhaps since childhood, probably abused, almost certainly not allowed to challenge authority, forced to obey or else, to honor authority or else, to submit to the false initiations of shame and violence. They have been infected by a mass epidemic of the psyche no less real than the Coronavirus now infecting the body. This psychic infection is blinding, self reinforcing and spreading rapidly. It projects everything we psychologically reject, our own darkness, our own self loathing, our own lack of acceptance onto an external evil enemy that must then be forcefully eliminated in order to save ourselves. Those not yet infected by the contagion are seen as fools and worse. One easily adopts the formula, “If you are not with us you are against us.”

    I think most of us know that the mass conditioning of our culture and our economic system has successfully promoted the idea that resistance is futile to the Borg like machine of our economic and social paradigm. We have been indoctrinated and shamed to reject and invalidate our spiritual natures as love and to instead place our faith in strongmen and force to save ourselves from Evil. Our military budget is an example of the level of fear we maintain within our nation and almost no politician, democrat or republican, is immune to its momentum.

    This fear is now so great that even the sanctity of the constitution has been rejected in favor of the blinding terror that now grips substantial portions of our population and leaders.

    Whether we idealize the parents we could never challenge in the form of external saviors like Trump or Obama or ideological polarities such as Republicanism or Democratism, we can no longer get out of the box of our own making. We cannot manipulate externals any longer to undo the fear and terror that has now hardened into hate.

    As counter-intuitive as it feels, I find myself using the fear and rage within my own heart to intensify my efforts to change the way I see my SELF. Part of the reason for this approach is that I believe we cannot underestimate the power of a collective MIND CHANGE. I no longer accept that we are accidental physical beings with no purpose, no soul trajectories, our consciousness limited to random pairings of chemicals. Nor can I accept the image of a raging jealous God filled with retaliation and vengeance, one who sets most of us here to suffer for original sin and then damns his own creation to eternal hell while lifting into rapture those who obediently believe the highest levels of faith are violence and hatred toward the “other,” and even nature herself.

    Despite what science may say about the fairy tale of spiritual reality, I find myself calling upon a new image of God, a divine force of Love and compassion that is deeply imbedded in all our hearts. I feel compelled to reframe who we are, not as original sinners but as original children of the very forces of love that created this entire universe in the first place. Is it not possible that billions of years of evolution have finally come to this doorway through which we remember our original intention to become divine co-creators of heaven on earth, part of a magnificent cosmic plan?

    I cannot help but call upon this force of love to come alive in us, to help us move through this incredibly challenging and terrifying moment in the evolution of our species. For if what we are discovering now about the interconnectedness of all things becomes anchored in our awareness, then we will be unable to turn upon OURSELVES. The only force I can see powerful enough to inoculate us against the dying and decaying images of God as violence and retribution are new images of God and ourselves as love, self-forgiveness, unity, and oneness.

    As the great mystery writer James Lee Burke once wrote:

    “…perhaps my greatest sin was my presumption that violence,…can change history for the better…Mabus cannot be gotten rid of by a bullet. Mabus is our own manufacture, an extension of ourselves and the futile belief that the successful pursuit of wealth and happiness can transform avarice into virtue. His successors are legion and timeless. They need only to wait in the wings for their moment, then walk onstage to thunderous applause, their faces touched with an ethereal light.”
    -James Lee Burke, 2004. In The Moon Of Red Ponies. New York; Simon and Schuster.

  9. I thought it was unlawful in New Mexico to threaten someone. Unlawful to bring a firearm into the Roundhouse?

  10. The NRA message is if you give in an inch, all guns will be taken away some time soon. We have lost the messaging campaign. I can tell gun nuts all day long there is no plan to take away people’s guns, that we want to keep women and children safe, and it falls on deaf ears. They are just waiting for the Supreme Court to uphold their version of the Constitution upholding their version of gun rights.

  11. That NM hired the 30 plus sheriffs who oppose this legislation and stand with the NRA propaganda is something we should challenge: State and county advocacy of gun ownership and citizen possie headset. This is the antithesis of standing with and for public safety. Who are these pseudo sheriffs? I see them With their guns in committee rooms every session. It’s New Mexico’s cowboy mentality that keeps us living in fear and with violence.
    Pamela Canyonrivers
    Pecos

    • Take our protests to the streets. In masses. Join forces and defeat the most vulnerable republican senators up for re-election. Take care of ourselves and when recharged, come out swinging…

    • What you don’t seem to recognize or accept is the fact that most of the Sheriffs speaking in these proceedings are elected by their constituents (Article X Section 2 of the New Mexico Constitution), and that most of their constituents support the Second Amendment as a basic right. Their general consensus is they will not enforce any law they deem unconstitutional, which includes most of the bills under consideration.

      • I thought this had escaped your scrutiny. 😉 For sheriffs to fail to enforce the law is illegal, of course. We have courts charged with interpreting the constitution. Certainly, this will happen in any case, but then given that most Pro-Gun folks are also law and order, how do they react to sheriff’s disregard the law. But I’m just messing with you. We’ll never agree on this. Hugs to Linda.

  12. Paul,
    Thanks for your report on the truly scary NRA rally at the roundhouse.
    Granted, I have not read all the previous comments, nor am I very good at keeping up with all the latest news, but here is a question I havent heard about so far, that seems worthy of some investigative journalism:

    Regarding any possible “uprising” by the people you mentioned…where do the authorities stand on such a scenario? Im talking about local police departments, state and federal law enforcement? If the authorities can be counted on to stand for rule of law, then I feel less frightened. If on the other hand… I dare not say out loud.

    I fear the election may turn into a “Which side are you on?” moment when people reveal their true colors.

    Even though (of course) authorities will try to temporize on the topic, its a question that needs put directly to officials, in the media for the public record. What are their actual contingency plans in such a scenario? Given the way the situation is developing, its time we asked this question of our law enforcement agencies, and we’re all hoping the Fourth Estate is up to the task.

    • Greg, there was nothing “scary” about the rally at the Roundhouse, and it was NOT a “NRA rally”. It was set up by a Pro-Gun Women’s group.

      You ask “if the authorities can be counted on to stand for rule of law”. I’m a former LEO, and I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States; as did the Sheriffs and other LEO’s who supported the demonstrators at the rally. The Supreme Law of the land is the Constitution, and if local and state legislators seek to enact unconstitutional laws it is the DUTY of authorities to reject enforcement of those laws.

      As for the Fourth Estate, it has proven itself willing to ignore fact and inject propaganda into their presentation. When Trump (who I detest and did not vote for, btw) speaks of the media as the “enemy of the people” that is indeed the language of a tyrant…. but the media has failed in its First Amendment duty to honestly report facts to enable us all to be members of an INFORMED ELECTORATE and has contributed to the growing Balkanization within this country, and perhaps laid the groundwork for the fundamental ultimate collapse of the American Republic, and given someone like Trump that much more power to muddy the waters and prevent people from knowing what is fact… and what isn’t.

  13. They are gonna’ take away our guns has worked well for the Republicans for years. Single issue voting. The same law firm that represents the Copper “minds” also represents the NRA in NM. The minds’ lobbyist also is promoting pot sales. Go figure. They meet, they discuss strategy and they show-up and yup they’re angry.

  14. I had the same feeling at a Mom’s Demand Action rally at the Capitol. When we spoke at the hearing, gun toters were in the chamber and they made sure we saw their guns, including semi-automatic rifle, and their snarls.
    The media diet these folks are on is hateful of Democrats or gun safety advocates and they are empowered by this President. Ignorance is growing as fast as the hate. I fear there is no way to reach these people and I agree that this is a set up for a very ugly confrontation when he loses.

  15. If you’ve had enough, text READY to 644-33 to join Moms Demand Action NM. We’ll be at the Roundhouse for our Advocacy Day this Tuesday, February 4th. Or you can register here — everyone is welcome:
    https://act.everytown.org/event/moms-demand-action-event/30432

  16. These people are also America, make not mistake about it. We don’t like them and don’t see things the way they do at all. But I caution that there is no guarantee that the 2020 elections will remove Mr. Trump from office. We’re doing all we can to ensure that he is not re-elected. It’s been 4 years, and so far no one has done anything to get rid of the Electoral College that put him in office – or at least not enough.

  17. My comments are often of a critical nature, and that’s because I think it’s a grave error to be idealistic in these times or to deny the reality of what we’re up against. Whatever our values, and I think that many of us here share similar values, there are a lot of people out there who do not. So we need to be armed with a reality check, on the one hand, and to act in concert in order to stop them. Bernie Sanders says that he is the candidate of solidarity, not divisiveness, and we support this wholeheartedly.

  18. A book I came across recently may provide some ideas about how to interact with people such as those Paul encountered at the Roundhouse (portrayed as ‘gun nuts’ to some, ‘gun rights activists’ by others). The title of the book is “How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide” by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay.

    https://www.amazon.com/How-Have-Impossible-Conversations-Practical/dp/0738285323/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1580686007&sr=1-1

    The techniques described teach the art of instilling doubts and opening minds to alternative points of view (something that I haven’t ever been particularly good at). Although very readable, this work is based on a lot of research and techniques used by people who are stuck having really tough conversations (such as hostage negotiators).

    For those interested in research on the effectiveness of various types of state level gun legislation I recommend an article on the subject reviewing on recent work done by Boston University Researchers:

    http://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/state-gun-laws-that-reduce-gun-deaths/?utm_campaign=bu_today&utm_source=email_20190808_full&utm_medium=3_quote&utm_content=research_publichealth

    I would also recommend reading the discussion focused on gun violence in cities by ‘Everytown’ which points out the oft neglected but highly significant socioeconomic aspects of the problem:

    https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-cities/

  19. My wise grandmother had a saying, “More to be pitied than to be scorned.” My anger for these people has turned to pity. How awful can their circumstances be, to be so filled with rage and easily manipulated. Perhaps if we treat these people as pitiable, and avoid anger, we can change the conversation. Bullies are often the previously victimized, when we look into why they do it. These people have swallowed the lies, of a manipulative psychopath, they are complicit in their own destruction. The same thing with the greedy billionaires, so empty and soulless, they need to fill the hole with money and superficial prestige.

    We can use Pity as a weapon!

  20. Paul,

    Your blog has sparked similar comments from your many like-minded followers. In contrast to your note and to most commenters, I will try not to cast dispersions, label, or categorize those who disagree with you/them. Suffice it to say I find comfort in an armed citizenry and fully support the Constitution (and Bill of Rights) as written, and I have sworn an oath to support and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    The Constitution does not exist to grant you rights; those are inherent within you. Rather, it exists to frame a limited government to that those natural rights can be exercised freely. It was written by men who had only recently freed themselves of a tyrannical monarchy, and who knew much better than we what had led to and how to preserve their new-found freedom. Consider a few of their comments specifically addressing the right to own and bear arms:

    “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    — James Madison

    “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
    — Samuel Adams

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

    Perhaps you collectively believe you know better than them, since you were all born into freedom and have never known anything else. These stuffy guys from 200 years ago surely wouldn’t see the relevance for the Second Amendment anymore, right? Well, consider this quote from a famous NRA lifetime member with a Boston accent:

    “… By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the 2nd amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the 2nd Amendment will always be important.”
    — John F. Kennedy

    I can agree that we need to find a viable way to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are mentally unstable or incapable of knowing right from wrong. I can also envision circumstances where weapons might be taken from someone against her will, but only with due process where the accused faces her accuser. Giving anyone the power to ruin another’s life with an anonymous phone call or letter is inherently wrong and potentially malicious.

    Changing anything in the Constitution (2nd Amendment, Electoral College, unreasonable search and seizure – anything) is short-sighted and self-serving. Imagine if the results of the last election were reversed, and Trump won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, and Clinton was now President. What about the same situation in this year’s Presidential election, where Trump wins the popular vote but your favorite Socialist wins the Electoral College? Would you be clamoring to change things to eliminate the Electoral College? I think not, hence my argument of short-sighted and self-serving. What goes around comes around.

    If Trump kicks off his second term by trying to confiscate the peoples’ weapons, then you can fairly label him a tyrant. That will not happen, partly because the same people you so vociferously and dramatically decry would rise against him in defense of the nation and the Constitution. He’s rude, obnoxious, egotistical, pushes boundaries, and should get off Twitter, but in my opinion he’s not a tyrant. However, any politician or national leader, now or in the future, intent on disarming the populace will be viewed as one by most of America.

    But why are we at this level of division? Joseph Addison once wrote: “There cannot a greater judgment befall a country than a dreadful spirit of division as rends a government into two distinct people, and makes them greater strangers, and more averse to one another, than if they were actually two different nations. The effects of such a division are pernicious to the last degree, not only with regard to those advantages which they give the common enemy, but to those private evils which they produce in the heart of almost every particular person. This influence is very fatal both to men’s morals and their understandings; it sinks the virtue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense. A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints, naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancor, and extinguishes all the seeds of good nature, compassion and humanity.”

    The way out? Start electing people with “the great political virtues of humility, patience, and moderation” and resist the intolerant extremes that attract so much attention in the media, but which have little regard for what’s best for our Nation. The Constitution did not mention political parties, and during the debate over ratification, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton praised the Constitution’s “spirit of moderation” in contrast to the “intolerant spirit” of “those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy.”

    Sadly, I don’t see anybody in the upcoming election that fits this description.

    • Will you vote for Bernie if it is Bernie vs. Trump? Hope so. Be well. I have a longer response to your comments that I drafted last year when we went back and forth on this. I’ll post it here soon.

  21. It was NOT a an BE A event! And your description is completely inaccurate. Perhaps, you were waiting in line at the MVD….

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