The MAGA Perversion of Patriotism

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  5 months ago  •  43 comments

By:   Mona Charen (The Bulwark)

The MAGA Perversion of Patriotism
Making sense of the rise of the citizen's arrest.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Making sense of the rise of the citizen's arrest. byMona Charen December 14, 2021 5:30 am (Shutterstock) Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via emailPrint

Diane Vargo may look like a fashion model, but she isn't. For eight years, she's been the principal of Mesquite Elementary School about 20 miles south of Tucson. It seems like an impressive school. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade can study in English or in a Chinese immersion program. The school has won awards. All seems normal, but as in so many places in 2021, it's not.

In September, after a student who tested positive for COVID-19 was told he had to quarantine for several days, the boy's father barged into the principal's office and demanded that the kid be allowed back into school immediately. "I didn't come here to challenge you, I came here to tell you this is not going to happen." After the aggressive parent refused to leave, Vargo and her assistant attempted to get help, and were even more alarmed when the intruder told her that others were on their way, warning, "If you keep doing this, we're going to have a big problem." Two other men did arrive within a few minutes, one carrying military-style zip ties. They told Vargo that they were going to make a "citizens' arrest."

As it happens, the intruders were the ones arrested—by the police. Vargo has continued to receive threatening messages, such as an email reading: "Hi. Next time it will be a barrel pointed at your Nazi face."

The same month, in Michigan, a meeting of the Barry-Eaton District Board of Health was disrupted when a man threatened to make a citizen's arrest of a county health official after a school mask mandate was announced. That was mild compared with the death threats Genesee County officials have received over masks. And that, in turn, was less serious than what happened in Kent County, where someone tried to run a health official off the road.

Stories of threats and violence aimed at ordinary Americans who are simply serving on school boards, supervising elections, holding public office, opening a mobile vaccine clinic, or having the effrontery to be elected as secretary of state are not new. It's a mashup of pandemic-induced mania, social media misinformation, Trump-incited disinhibition, and something in the water.

Every now and then, usually through the vehicle of tort law, someone is held accountable, most recently in the case involving the notorious liars at Gateway Pundit. The site is being sued by two election workers, mother and daughter, after Gateway Pundit identified them as the election officials in Fulton County, Georgia who supposedly pulled fraudulent ballots out of suitcases. These malicious lies, according to the pleading, "devastated" their reputations and "instigated a deluge of intimidation, harassment, and threats that has forced them to change their phone numbers, delete their online accounts, and fear for their physical safety." One went into hiding. And just in time. Crowds with bullhorns showed up at their homes.

The citizen's arrest has become a theme running through some of the most sinister of the recent plots. It has a long pedigree, originating in English common law. In the U.S., it has been codified in a number of ways by states. Some require that a bystander actually witness a felony in progress to undertake a citizen's arrest. Others forbid it except in certain situations (such as a shopkeeper holding an armed robber until police arrive). Some critics, like Professor Ira Robbins, have argued that these laws are harmful, giving rise to racial profiling and other harms. The Ahmaud Arbery case would seem to vindicate his warnings

But the invocation of the citizen's arrest as an excuse for political violence is new. Trump set this table with his "lock her up" chants in 2016, his accusations of treason against New York Times guest editorialists, the FBI, and anyone else who damaged his fragile psyche. His 2019 Twitter tantrum at Representative Adam Schiff was the gold standard: "I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason" he tweeted on a Sunday. He followed up the next morning with one saying, "Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President. . .Arrest for Treason?"

Back in 2020, when a gang of 14 right-wing nuts, drunk on Trump incitement, plotted to kidnap and possibly murder Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, they claimed that they were actually effecting a "citizen's arrest." In a normal world, such a claim would be instantly dismissed as risible. But we're not in that world. We're in the world where the sheriff of Barry County, Dar Leaf, who had appeared at the "Michigan Patriot Rally" with at least one of the suspects, seemed to think it had merit. "It's just a charge, and they say a 'plot to kidnap' and you got to remember that," Leaf told a local Fox affiliate. "Are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt?"

"Lots of people are angry with the governor," he said. And then, as if the next words flowed logically, he added "and they want her arrested." Right, because when we dislike the policies of duly elected officials, we arrest them?

The threats are proliferating. The Washington Post reported that lawmakers were subjected to 3900 threats in 2017. By 2020 that had more than doubled to 8600, and in 2021 the rate rose even faster. As Tim Alberta noted in his Atlantic profile of Representative Peter Meijer, the fear factor in Republican politics has dramatically changed. Without doubt, Republicans displayed a total lack of political courage in dealing with Trump from 2015 to the present. But because they didn't stand up to him when the consequences would have been merely political, they/we now face a very different climate. Now they must fear for their safety and for that of their families. Describing a colleague who said he couldn't vote to certify the 2020 election, Meijer said, "Remember, this wasn't a hypothetical. You were casting that vote after seeing with your own two eyes what some of these people are capable of. If they're willing to come after you inside the U.S. Capitol, what will they do when you're at home with your kids?"

Many, perhaps most, of the members of the January 6 mob didn't conceive of themselves as criminals or coup plotters (in contrast to those in the Oval Office). They thought they were vindicating democracy, not destroying it. As they were storming the Capitol, they were exchanging text and audio messages that reflected the treason talk Trump had normalized. One Army veteran involved in the attack said "We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan," according to court documents. Another responded: "You are executing a citizen's arrest. Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud."

It's not enough to see these people as revolutionaries or criminals or dupes. Some may be all of those things, but there is a substrate of perverted patriotism here. The frequent invocation of the citizens' arrest signifies a wish for legitimacy. They yearn to be responsible citizens, upholding the law and the Constitution and the duties of the individual. They have been corrupted, but that's all the more reason for the rest of the American people to assert their uncorrupted patriotism more boldly. They must get active and defend the election workers, health care workers, school board members, journalists, politicians, secretaries of state, and anyone else who is being intimidated, hounded, or abused by the mob. If patriotism animates only the worst among us, we are lost.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    5 months ago

Citizens arrest should only apply to someone who has witnessed a murder and has the opportunity to detain the killer. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @1    5 months ago

Oh BS John.   

The real perversion is the todays progressive tendency to mollycoddle criminal behavior.

Stealing for example is an extremely heinous act of infringing on the owner of the stolen items.   Seriously detracting from that persons life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  

If i were King most of that shit would stop because i would empower the people to stop it.

Once the criminals do the taser twitch once or twice that will operantly modify their behavior.

There, fixed it.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1    5 months ago

That's the ticket. Turn the population on themselves...what could go wrong...

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Masters Principal
1.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    5 months ago

So if you're sitting in your living room watching TV and some people walk in to gather up your electronics and phone and a lot of other stuff, you're just going to sit there and point out where the real good stuff is to as not to make them mad?

LMAO

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Ender  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.2    5 months ago

When have people not been able to defend their home?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    5 months ago
Turn the population on themselves.

I know, why are progressives doing that right now?

It's unimaginable really to the normal person.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.4    5 months ago

Keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.5    5 months ago

I sleep like a baby because i know i'm on the righteous side of this debate.  

If that's what one wants to call it .... a debate.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Masters Principal
1.1.7  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Ender @1.1.3    5 months ago

S'cuse me but you were the one saying it was bad to turn the people on themselves. You seem to basically be saying screw the shop/store owners. It is their property and "home" too so you are against them defending their "home". Am I wrong?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.8  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    5 months ago
Ender wrote: That's the ticket. Turn the population on themselves...what could go wrong...
Radical lefties have been doing that for years.
 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.1.9  XXJefferson51  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.2    5 months ago

Nationalist

2kzf4f.jpg
 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.10  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.6    5 months ago

If you sleep like a baby and have no cares then why be upset about crime. Obviously it is not impacting you.

I think you mean self righteous side...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.11  Ender  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.7    5 months ago

What the hell...I am talking about idiots that think they can go around and arrest people when they have no authority.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.12  Ender  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.8    5 months ago

No donald would never do that.....

Or his followers...

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Masters Principal
1.1.13  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Ender @1.1.11    5 months ago

That isn't what was talked about in 1.1. This is.............

"Once the criminals do the taser twitch once or twice that will operantly modify their behavior."

Sounds to me like when in the act. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.14  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.10    5 months ago
I think you mean self righteous side...

Not at all, just the opposite really.

I'm upset about crime because i'm not a self centered prick that only thinks about myself.   I'm upset about all the useless turds that are being enabled by the progressive left to riot, loot and steal from hard working Americans.   Thus robbing THEM of their livelihood and pursuit of happiness.

Most truly patriotic Americans would be upset about that  .......

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.15  Ender  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.13    5 months ago

Sounds to me like you all prefer vigilante justice.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.16  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.14    5 months ago

You actually think saying patriot makes one more so?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.17  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.11    5 months ago

Wrong.

Section 764.16 of Michigan Law enacted in 1927.

Next .....

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Masters Principal
1.1.18  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Ender @1.1.15    5 months ago

Nope but just like you in your living room, the ability to put a halt to what someone else wants of yours. Not talking about shooting them. Well, unless they pull first, but rather the ability to stop them in their tracks.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.19  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.16    5 months ago

You think your deflection of questioning my patriotism is going to work?

Nope, not even a nice try.

Progressives tend to enable crime, conservatives tend to fight it.  

We'll see who wins that one in 2022.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
1.1.20  Hallux  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.2    5 months ago

That's what I did, fvck if I was going to escalate the situation over some fully insured gizmos and gadgets that are for all intents and purposes dead and here's the shocker, entirely replaceable.... why crowd up the place with the unreplaceable.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.21  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.17    5 months ago

One state. And good luck. It still is not really an arrest. They can hold people until the cops arrive or take them to a station.

A bullshit law if you ask me.

Mainly it seems for bounty hunters.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.22  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.19    5 months ago

Bullshit.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.23  Ender  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.18    5 months ago

And that ability has not been taken away.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.24  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.22    5 months ago

Nah, i'm spot on.   Like usual

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.25  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.21    5 months ago
A bullshit law if you ask me.

Opinions do vary.

Greatly in this case.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
1.1.26  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.19    5 months ago
You think your deflection of questioning my patriotism is going to work?

You were the one questioning his.

 

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.27  Sparty On  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.26    5 months ago

So what?   If the shoe fits .........

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.28  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.24    5 months ago

Only in your mind.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.29  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.27    5 months ago

Typical conservative that thinks only they know how to be patriotic.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.30  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.28    5 months ago
Only in your mind.

Only in your dreams

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.31  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.29    5 months ago

Typical liberal, constantly trying to put words in other peoples mouths.

A lie a minute be some of those liberals

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.32  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @1.1.31    5 months ago

Says the trumper...

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.33  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @1.1.32    5 months ago

Yawn ...... SOSDD

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.2  Ender  replied to  JohnRussell @1    5 months ago

So called citizens arrest worked out well for three people...

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.2.1  XXJefferson51  replied to  Ender @1.2    5 months ago

We need a citizens arrest of Brandon and Fauci.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.2.1    5 months ago

Go for it. I want to see how far you get.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.2.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.2.1    5 months ago

Thanks for proving the accuracy of the article. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    5 months ago

Yes, this is all Trump's fault./S

Just ignore all the looting, rioting, arson, and assault on individuals and law enforcement that has been the responsibility of leftist Brown Shirts. 

Forget about all of it. It doesn't matter. What is yours is theirs; and don't bother to try and stop them.

Proof that any of the incidents involved Trump directly? Proof that those protesting school boards are all right wing activists- hint the leaders of the major factions are Democrats in Virginia.

But Trruuummmmppppp!!!!! That is all the left has. Look over here, ignore everything but what we tell you. Pretend we didn't put in the most incompetent administration to ever occupy the Oval Office. This is all about Trruuuummmmppppp!!!!!!!

Midterms can't come quick enough. Past time to end the left's worthless reign of terror. 

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
2.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Ronin2 @2    5 months ago
Just ignore all the looting, rioting, arson, and assault on individuals and law enforcement that has been the responsibility of leftist Brown Shirts. 

Right wing conservatives are good at ignoring the 93% of protests that were peaceful while spending 100% of their right wing media time on the 7% of protests that had violence, arson, looting and vandalism. Of course there is a lot of evidence much of the violence was started by right wing instigators attempting to start a civil war, like the two security officers shot in Oakland, and there doesn't appear to be any coordinated arson or looting from either BLM or Antifa but mostly random acts of violence, but I guess right wing conservatives will paint every person on the left as a supposed "leftist brown shirt" because right wing conservatives seem so desperate to hate their political opponents and rationalize shooting them in the head if they get the chance, they are determined to gnash their teeth and seethe in unadulterated hatred.

Past time to end the left's worthless reign of terror. 

Sure, sure, you tell yourself whatever it takes to justify your open hatred of your fellow Americans.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
3  Steve Ott    5 months ago

I rather like Mona Charen's articles, and this is no exception.

Of course there are going to be those who say we need more citizens arrests.

As a caveat to that, you might ask the killers of Ahmaud Arbery whether they are absolutely sure they were doing the correct thing.

All states allow citizen arrests, but (and there is always a but) you need to be really careful.

First, you generally need to actually witness the crime, especially in the case of a felony, and if you make an arrest, immediately call the police. (You don't get to be arresting officer, judge, jury and executioner.)

If you make an arrest and no crime has actually been committed, you are open to a tort such as false imprisonment, or other civil liabilities, unlike the police.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
4  Steve Ott    5 months ago

Leaked Documents Show Police Knew Far-Right Extremists Were the Real Threat at Protests, Not “Antifa”

"Trump made no mention of groups on the far right. Behind the scenes, however, DHS was acknowledging “media reports” indicating “that neo-Nazi, and other paramilitary far-right groups, are calling for terror attacks during the ongoing unrest throughout the United States.”

“A series of Telegram accounts linked to a wider network of paramilitary far-right extremists have indicated that ongoing disturbances are spreading America’s police forces thin, making this the ideal time to strike with a strategic attack,” the agency reported in a round-up of intelligence reports coming in from around the country, published the following morning. “One account, with thousands of followers and links to several neo-Nazi terror groups like The Base and the Nordic Resistance Movement, called for attacks on critical infrastructure.”"

 
 

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