Reporting from Washington and Las Vegas - A 66-year-old retiree apparently upset over losing a lawsuit related to his Social Security benefits opened fire in a federal courthouse lobby Monday morning, killing one person and wounding another in a chaotic shootout.
The gunman, identified by law enforcement sources as Johnny Lee Wicks, died from gunshot wounds after fleeing across the street as court officers returned fire.
Is this the case of just another nut or is there a growing trend of disgruntled folks who are heavily armed and are nearing "the edge?"
In 2008, Wicks, who had moved from California to a local retirement home, filed a complaint against a regional Social Security Administration commissioner, contending that his monthly benefits had been reduced by $317 because he was black.
"It's all about race," he wrote in the complaint, although he cited no evidence. "I am no fool."
A lawyer for the Social Security Administration responded in court documents that Wicks' payments had been cut because, as a Nevada resident, he was no longer entitled to a supplement he had received while living in California.
This man went over "the edge." It's exactly the same thing the folks in the video of the New Mexico gun rally were talking about. People commented asking what's wrong with that rally, what did I find objectionable. Well, it has to do with the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, threat these people make. In essence they're saying if certain things happen, too severe gun laws, too much "socialism" from Obama, they will respond with gun violence.
Poor Mr. Wicks went over the edge about his Social Security claim which was denied, proving that people like this don't need reasonable or factual situations to justify their decision to attack. Many gun owners are precariously close to that very same edge. The glib and irresponsible pro-gun writings on the internet are more than enough to push some of them over. And just like the social security decision that Wicks found so unacceptable, an unstable gun owner doesn't need reasonable or factual ideas to lose it.
As an example, Joe Huffman frequently writes that gun-owners today are persecuted in a similar way as the Jews in 1930s and 1940s Germany. Does anyone really believe that? I don't think the gun bloggers, who for the most part are extremely well written and seemingly intelligent folks, do. But the vast majority of gun owners probably do, like the ones depicted in that video the other day.
So, my contention is the Las Vegas incident was not an anomaly but rather an example of a large and growing trend of disgruntled armed people who are going over the edge. These poor characters are aided in their insanity by well-meaning gun bloggers who are continually pushing ideas which may be debatable but which do serious harm to their own cause.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.