UNDISCIPLINED RETREAT

This Washington Post story about a sad, broken down white guy of middle age who won't go anywhere without open carrying got a lot of well-deserved attention this weekend. You can tell it's written well when you end up feeling pangs of sympathy for someone who clearly represents a threat to society, not to mention himself and his (apparently very patient) wife.

We hear the story of a man who grew up in a world in which guns were never seen and – somehow, improbably – this man of no discernibly useful skills achieved a decent working class existence without making guns the sole focus of his every waking moment. But then…

But then it began unraveling, starting when he was fired from a trucking job days after telling Maria, who was pregnant with their first child, to quit her job and focus on the baby, that he could support them both. Their first bankruptcy filing wasn’t far behind, then the second, and the third, and then they were moving to Florida, where Maria had family and where Jim got a job with a grocery chain. It transferred him to Winder, and he moved the family into a middle-class neighborhood struggling with crime and drugs…

(In) late 2008 he emerged from that hospital with three stents in his heart, debts worth $41,052.51 and a dawning realization he was now disabled, broke and would never work again. After the heart attack, he lost most of the circulation in his legs, received three more stents and started using an electric scooter whenever he had to walk long distances.

He told Maria he was all used up, a drag on the family. She should think about leaving him. But she wouldn’t, even after the hospital sued him for unpaid medical bills, even after he was arrested when he carried his .380 outside a school board meeting, even after he came home one day with an AR-15. He shot it at a nearby firing range and, feeling a sense of control that had gone missing in his life, told Maria he could now keep the family safe.

It doesn't take a professional psychologist to figure out what need the twin obsessions of guns and ultra-right wing politics are serving for the angry white males who are now such a prominent and dangerous part of our society.

Maria sat at a laptop in a bedroom cluttered with stacks of documents, some of which detailed foreclosure proceedings against the house, and saw the browser had 35 tabs open. One was a YouTube video of something called “Police State 101.” Another showed the dictionary definition of the word “law.” Another was a fringe website her husband classifies as “underground,” the sort he started visiting more frequently after he joined a Georgia militia in late 2014 and decided it was up to him to protect his family from foreign and government threats.

She messaged the deputy, then looked at Jim’s Facebook page. It bore pictures of her husband carrying guns and posts about a country dissolving into chaos and videos about people stopping intruders with guns, people killing burglars with guns, people shooting big guns, small guns, all kinds of guns, that he watches late into the night.

I realize how closely earning power is connected to masculinity in the United States. It must be very difficult to face life when not only can you not earn enough to get above the poverty line, but you're incapable of earning anything at all. The mental retreat into this violent fantasy world in which white males with guns are the sole remaining virtuous members of humanity does not follow quite so easily. On his own it's unlikely this man would have chosen that particular mental escape route. But he doesn't live in a vacuum. He lives in a world in which tens of thousands of other angry, minimally educated and economically marginalized white men have already created a support structure (of sorts) into which he can be welcomed.

White supremacist groups have recruited for decades by targeting the socially maladjusted, the friendless loners most likely to be filled with anger and looking for a feeling of belonging. Now there are so many disillusioned, angry, and pliable people wandering around aimlessly that the movement seeking to recruit them might as well just set up shop in strip malls next to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center and the payday loan place.

I'm not naive enough to think that a better economy would make these people disappear. I do think it's no coincidence that the obsession with guns and the militia / conspiracy worldview often follows the collapse of financial stability and earning power.

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56 Responses to “UNDISCIPLINED RETREAT”

  1. Both Sides Do It Says:

    The trillion-dollar question: what kinds of extra-institutional political actions (i.e. outside of the Democratic party) will this guy support / contribute to? Of those, what would be most useful?

    Imagine what all that emotional labor from the love in that family could build. Instead it's going toward managing medical bills and an ammo obsession. What a waste.

  2. Noskilz Says:

    It does seem to be a tragic feedback loop of desperation and foolishness. I'm not sure how one disentangles someone from that – conspiracy theories provide the illusion of knowledge, guns provide the illusion of capability, and the sheer amount of contradictory information one has to ignore to buy into some of this nonsense makes it seem unlikely any but the most casual enthusiast will re-evaluate the choices that brought him to this point.

  3. Dave Dell Says:

    There are many problems that have no solution. "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…" Today, it's easy to be noisier than it was at was in Thoreau's day.

  4. HoosierPoli Says:

    Remember when the social problems in black society was a "cultural problem"? All that gansta rap and crack cocaine? Now suddenly the white underclass is noticing that, hey, it turns out economic disenfranchisement has all sorts of horrible knock-on effects and suddenly white supremacists are, economically speaking, outflanking Democrats on the left.

    What. a. surprise.

  5. Heywood J. Says:

    Funny, I'm right in the middle of re-reading Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting with Jesus, pretty much the same sort of folk, and try as I might, I just can't find any sympathy for them or Jim Cooley. He could have spent that time and money on any number of things to retrain himself, learn anything useful or new, maybe do some sort of work from home.

    (Yeah, I know it's a long-shot, but so's taking an assault rifle to Walley World to buy soda. Like pointing the rifle toward the hard waxed floor is any safer than just pointing it straight forward. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, what the holy fuck is wrong with these people?)

    So he has money for guns, smokes, five security cameras in his van, etc. All the toys to fuel his paranoia, and nothing to show for it but an Alex Jones merit badge. I'd bet my next ten paychecks that he judges every purchase with an EBT card that he sees in front of him in line, that if he saw a black guy strutting around town with an AR-15 like he does, he'd shoot first and ask questions later.

    I do have some sympathy for what's happened to them, I really do. Their politicians sold them down the river a long time ago. But they refuse to do anything about it, to vote better, to use the free information out there to learn something besides idiotic conspiracy theories, to unfuck their lives and move forward already. Something, anything. They don't even try. They just sit and watch The Bachelor and wait for Drumpf to rescue them.

    They want to burn the house down with all of us in it, because they've given up, but they haven't quite found the guts yet to do themselves in or get a cop to do it for them. Like Both Sides Do It said, what a waste.

  6. wetcasements Says:

    I also have sympathy for folks caught up in this shitty "new normal" economy, but what's getting to me is how this WaPo piece basically echoes a new meme in American politics — "pity the white male." (I happen to be typing as a white male myself.)

    With the big hubub over J.D. Vance's book, and right-wingers like Douthat and Dreher and Mcardle, we're not just seeing "elegies" for some supposedly noble white male culture, but they go a step further and _blame liberals_ for being such meanies to rural white Americans (always white) that they had no choice but to go full Trumpolini. It takes very little parsing to see that they don't blame their sacred conservative "values" for bringing out The Orange One, but actually some combination of Obama and Hillary and probably Saul Alinsky as well.

    Party of personal responsibility my ass.

    So, what Heywood J said. I can (and do!) sympathize with them on a basic human level but, sorry, eventually it is your fucking fault and your wonderful "culture" can go down the toilet of history where it belongs.

    I've done reasonably OK in life without ever owning a gun or a truck. Go figure.

  7. Katydid Says:

    Great point about the "party of personal responsibility". The WaPo article shows of picture of the guy in a Trump t-shirt–what does he think Trump (also too Prosperity Jesus) have to say about him being poor? That's it's his own damned fault for being less-than, that's what they'd both say.

    I find myself frustrated with the wife for enabling this behavior. I'm equally frustrated with this stupid for-profit medical system that makes it nearly impossible for someone in this guy's situation to be helped–when I read the story, my first thoughts were a combination of depression and possibly PTSD, not that this guy's in any position to have his mental state examined, diagnosed, and treated.

  8. Major Kong Says:

    Angry, unemployed, paranoid and heavily armed.

    I mean, really, what's the worst that could happen?

  9. Riccardo Cabeza Says:

    fat, bald, white, smoking, racist loser stealing from his mother, er um, 'wife';

    A devout trump deplorable and an all around lazy piece of republican garbage.

    he is a burden to his family, himself and society.

  10. Philippa Says:

    Hi, everyone, gun owner here. *waves both hands to show they're empty*

    The psychology of guns/exclusion/paranoia/damaged masculinity seems pretty clear in terms of what's dominating today's extremely sick gun culture. I think this is, at least in terms of being mainstream, a development of of the past few decades. I come from a family of white, working- and middle-class gun owners from the formerly-rural, now suburban South. When I was growing up, guns were hunting tools and sporting equipment, only. Nobody was taking guns to WalMart, except maybe to pick up ammo on the way to the deer woods, and then they left them in the truck.

    Now a lot of people like the guy in the WaPo story have guns without having training – not just on the gun itself (I physically cringed at the description of how he carries it) but of the associated expectations and standards and limitations. Armed people in public are scary, and scarier when you suspect that most of what they "know" about guns, they got from TV and movies. They're carrying in the first place because they're either paranoid or eager to feel powerful by intimidating others. Or both. The sight of someone "open carrying" consequently makes me so angry that I have to leave the location.

    The NRA is one of the most contemptible organizations in America. They've fed this paranoia for the benefit of weapons and ammunition manufacturers and politicians on the leashes of same. My gun-club-president dad renounced his NRA membership years ago. But most of his buddies haven't. They're getting dopamine hits from the we-white-guys-are-still-in-charge of it all – plus they get to justify buying cool toys that go bang as acts of
    heroism in defense of All That Is Right And Good (And, Apparently, WalMart Shoppers).

    Current gun culture provides a community-defense gloss to racism, makes men feel like Men, gives every gun owner the thrill of a vague but defeatable threat and the promise of potential heroism. We either fix this or we will continue to die in random bursts, week after week. Generational change won't fix it fast enough, and as has been said before, if the mass shooting of schoolchildren wasn't enough to change the rules, it's hard to see what could.

    tl;dr this sucks, I'm pissed off about it, it seems unfixable, we're probably all screwed. Happy Monday.

  11. schmitt trigger Says:

    It used to be that the vehicle size of an inferiority-complex man was inversely proportional to the size of his d**k.

    Nowadays, the amount of guns he owns is inversely proportional to his self esteem.

  12. Katydid Says:

    Philippa: "When I was growing up, guns were hunting tools and sporting equipment, only. Nobody was taking guns to WalMart, except maybe to pick up ammo on the way to the deer woods, and then they left them in the truck."

    My spouse who grew up in the north had the identical experience, except they didn't have WalMarts so they bought their ammo somewhere else. You wouldn't take your gun to the fast-food restaurant or your kid's school or the library any more than you'd take your 2-ton jack or your toilet plunger or your scuba mask. Guns were tools to do a job, and if you didn't need them at any particular moment, you didn't tote them around.

    I agree with Major Kong; what could possibly go wrong around this guy?

  13. Katydid Says:

    Interesting that the Post has comments turned off for the article. Deplorables get really pissy when they're called deplorables.

  14. Steve Says:

    One of the things that struck me when I read this article was that this guy's downward spiral started when he got fired from his job. Not "laid off," not "downsized," but fired. It made me think, he was probably an obnoxious douchebag long before he started fondling guns, went bankrupt three times, and continued chain smoking (it sounds like) after nearly dying on account of it. I bet wherever he worked became a better place for the rest of the workers when they got rid of him.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    I'd have more sympathy for this guy, if he and his family were facing financial hardships without him spending who knows how much money on his 'steel penis replacement tour!'

  16. Mark Says:

    I think the most fascinating story of the past year that got little attention was the fact that people in his demographic group (white, no education or training) saw their life expectancy go down due to drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, etc. These people are literally dying because they've been left out of the New Economy. It's no wonder they're so mad and feel they've lost control. It's also no wonder that they'll go for Trump because they literally feel like they have no other options.

    And I empathize with people like this, but I also think they need to take some ownership of it. I'm 33 and had school/job training drilled in my head practically since I started school in 1988. What jobs did these people think were going to exist in the 21st century for them? Outsourcing was happening in the '90s. Shit, "Roger & Me" was made in '89. The writing was on the wall for their economic security and for unskilled labor that generated middle class earnings.

    Of course, Jim's shopping at Walmart is part of the problem, but that's too nuanced for him to grasp. Keep firing that AR-15 and jacking off to gun porn on YouTube. That'll fix things.

  17. Michael Says:

    The numbers don't add up, and of course the wife's enabling.

    Anyone with an Adverse Child Experiences score of 2 or higher knows that this article is eliding over a lot of shit.

  18. Nunya Says:

    I have two former friends that decided that they were were worth more dead than alive and decided to "provide through suicide" after losing their lucrative corporate jobs in their forties.

    In a society that places absolutely no concern on the consequences of shitcanning people at the drop of a hat, who can still be surprised that people who find themselves out of work or unable to find new work are ripe for recruitment by anyone that tells them they're anything but useless.

    It may be easy to pick on this guy but are you really so sure that if everything you thought you could depend on suddenly went away that you would be content with your new, frightening reality?

  19. Greg Says:

    Carrstone agreed to be interviewed by the WaPo?! Glad to finally have a face for the dartboard!

  20. TakomaMark Says:

    The guy whose downward spiral started with being fired now supports the guy whose catch phrase is "you're fired!"

  21. John Danley Says:

    The next character role for an upcoming Rob Zombie sequel. Fortunately, there is a place for everyone on Yahweh's verdant planet.

  22. maurinsky Says:

    I think women and minorities who know from birth they always have to work harder for everything have more resilience then men who think they're entitled to the life they saw their parents or grandparents live. I bet there's an element of entitlement to all of this. It didn't go his way, so rather than examine his life (hey, I'm a white guy, the default human!) he has to send his blame for his problems outward.

    I don't know about his adverse childhood experience score, this guy is a ticking time bomb and he's not the only one.

  23. cackalacka Says:

    Pretty sure the only person I'm sympathetic to is his wife. She 'wouldn't' leave him in the article is mis-spelled: should read 'couldn't'

    When your spouse is socialized to open carry a small arsenal to a big-box store, your window of options to extract yourself from that existence, without winding up as a 30-45 second spot on the 11 o'clock news, is very, very, very slight.

  24. TakomaMark Says:

    I find this article so depressing on so many levels. Here is a guy who went bankrupt due to medical bills. The Democrats passed a fix for that problem, too late to help this guy but at least to help the next guy with that problem, and you'd think he'd acknowledge that as a good thing. Then he's on disability, which granted is a meager existence but Democrats support said existence, and might want to even make it a little less meager. The Republicans want to make it even more meager, and probably don't care if he starved to death except that it would rob them of a vote.

    Finally, during the reign of George the W, the Republicans made bankruptcy much more onerous for the average Joe. Were it not for that, he may be having a much easier time now. Democrats opposed those changes to the bankruptcy laws.

    I find this all frustrating because it is obvious that Democrats have been working in this guy's interest for decades…but he's decided that a bunch of deranged conspiracy theories and gun propaganda that resonate with him trump all that. I mean, if you're the Democratic party, you've been trying to attract this guy's vote by supporting policies that would help make his life better. All the Republicans have is propaganda and dog whistle racism. The Republican strategy, apparently, is the winning strategy. How do you attract voters to your cause if the tangible benefits on offer are trumped by fantasies propagated by people working against the same voters' best interests? I suppose people might say this guy cares more about unfettered gun rights than financial solvency so the Republicans are actually working in his interests but…I don't know. It seems like the guy is being bamboozled and furthermore that there's no cure for the bamboozlement.

  25. Kaleberg Says:

    I first encountered this gun fetish thing in the book 'The Weapon Shops of Isher' which came out in '51. Of course, in the book, the guns were science fiction and made moral judgements so that their users could do no harm, at least as judged by the obscure weapon makers. At first it seemed like a simple revenge against the misuse of power story until I recognized that someone was making those guns and that they might have their own agenda. It got surprisingly creepy real fast.

    I get the impression that capitalism collapsed around the same time as communism. Both systems took massive shocks in the 70s from rising oil prices and baby boom demographics. Communism was dead by the early 80s, but capitalism was bleeding as well. The big news of the 1980s was the massive capital liquidation hidden by the profits from mergers and acquisitions. Meanwhile the unions were destroyed halting economic growth. The communist system died because it couldn't produce a future. The capitalist system died because no one could afford to buy one.

    When the USSR collapsed in the early 90s, the death rate for men soared as they drank themselves to death. The US took another 10 years or so to catch up. People with Y chromosomes tend to get more caught up in cultural things than those without, so they are more likely to die when the culture changes. This shows up in the historical differences between Y and mt haplotypes throughout history. Men tend to give up. Women tend to get on with it.

  26. John Danley Says:

    @Dave Dell Says. It's vociferous desperation etched into a tattoo of the Gadsden flag.

  27. negative 1 Says:

    Maybe it's uniquely masculine but I'm sorry — I don't think it's disconnected from economics. These guys want society to break down because they feel that the rules have screwed them and they're not smart enough to get by that in today's world. They think with their guns they would rise to the top in a natural (read: anarchistic) state.

    To a point I sympathize. I read somewhere a quote saying that 'willing to show up for 8 hours' was no longer the minimum skill needed to get a job. Frankly, I wonder why not. I read the story cited in this article and I know plenty of guys just like him. All of the job retraining in the world won't turn them into engineers or IT professionals. There needs to be a way to make a living for unskilled labor in this country.

    The ultimate social contract is that by sharing the burden of risk and labor as a society we will have a better life than if we went it on our own. By placing your basic needs in the hands of society (food, housing — you have to buy them you can't grow them) you will be guaranteed an opportunity to earn them and it will be better than subsistence living. Sounds like a low bar, but some stories you read make you wonder if we've cleared it.

  28. Major Kong Says:

    " They think with their guns they would rise to the top in a natural (read: anarchistic) state."

    Guys like this would last about 5 minutes against the kind of people who would rise to the top in an anarchistic state.

  29. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @negative 1:

    Universal Basic Income. (Anyone else? Just me?)

    To get anywhere near anything like that, we will need to exorcise the demons of Reaganite libertarianism from our collective psyche.

    So maybe this sort of crap isn't as far off the mark as the Tea Party. But I don't find it particularly encouraging. Reoganizing along racial lines isn't going to cut it.

  30. John Danley Says:

    "…we will need to exorcise the demons of Reaganite libertarianism from our collective psyche."

    Voila. Libertarianism is indifference under the guise of personal freedom (social systems casuistry). The party of convenience has mastered the art of avoiding all necessary inconveniences.

  31. sluggo Says:

    This is what crazy looks like. He looks like a danger to himself and others. That brain has been rotted by fifty years of TV, add in hate radio and internet for the last twenty and there is nothing left.

    Someday that gun will go off, maybe accidentally or he may crack and then we will hear stories about 'missed warning signs' 'he seemed normal' 'he was depressed' etc…………

  32. Steve Says:

    @Emerson Dameron: Universal Basic Income is a great idea. But Jesus wouldn't approve of including black and brown people.

    @Nunya: No, of course if my life went south (which may or may not have been my own fault) I wouldn't be "content with my new, frightening reality." But I like to think I wouldn't become an asshole itching to shoot — let's face it — black people (oh, and pets too, let's not forget). So yes, it's easy to pick on this guy because he deserves to be picked on.

  33. Scout Says:

    You have to marvel at the complete lack of critical thinking that goes into the belief that somehow the Mangled Tangerine Hellbeast is going to magically solve the problems of this guy and so many others just like him.

  34. MaidMarien Says:

    I wouldn't necessarily call his wife an enabler.
    I would, however, call her a hostage.

  35. Khaled Says:

    Fuck this guy, fuck this guy's family, and fuck the horse he rode in on. This dude's "worldview" is cloaked in racism and imaginary demons who speak Arabic. The guns are because he's a scared little man who would shit himself if actual shit went down near his fucking Wal-Mart scooter.

    He did not go bankrupt because of his medical bill and his disability, he went bankrupt multiple times way before that. So much for "personal responsibility". I bet this fucking asshole posts dumbass "If we don't feed the bears because they'll get dependent, why do we feed poor (black) people?" memes without a single bit of irony. He supports law enforcement but is concerned about a "police state" or a "tyrannical" government. Just who do you think will enforce the police state, asshole? Priests?

    This dude spends his disability check (and his wife's paycheck) on guns and surveillance systems instead of shit he might actually, you know, need. He takes his goddamn AR-15 to Wal Mart where he scoots around the store unmolested (try being black with a gun in Ohio at a Wal-Mart… you'll get your skull ventilated by keyed-up, steroid-fueled police paranoia) and complains about how "terrible" everything is while taking absolutely no responsibility towards any of it. His gigantic medical bill was from not having insurance, which means either he and his wife couldn't afford it on their jobs, or they didn't want to spend the money on it.

    And yeah, New Economy and all that. However, remember that the minority communities got the short end of the stick for about a generation before non-college educated whites started getting shit on by "globalism" and they didn't start running around with guns blaming the government for all of their problems. They did "side-hustles" and tried their best to get by. You really think that the all of the drug dealers in this country are just lazy bums who don't want to work? What would you do if your school failed you, there are almost no jobs in your community, and those jobs that are around pay shit and you get treated like shit while working? Or do you sell drugs and make money? Sure you might get shot, but shit, better die with money in your pocket then live broke, right?

    So no, I don't have a ton of sympathy for this asshole or those like him. Let them get their talking yam for president and see how much their lives will not improve. Idiots.

  36. Beppo Says:

    Not even snarking. This sounds exactly like ISIS and its ilk: "targeting the socially maladjusted, the friendless loners most likely to be filled with anger and looking for a feeling of belonging."

  37. Salt Says:

    Amazing that such savvy political minds think the white underclass is just figuring out that it sucks to be poor and completely misread the right's take on that group.

    In "Coming Apart" Murray blamed family breakdown, decline in traditional values, and lack of diligence for the economic problems of the white working class (which he began pushing in 1993 with The Coming White Underclass.) Vance pedals the same values bullshit about no longer wanting to work hard but now the white welfare recipients have cellphones instead of Tbones. "Never be like those f—ing losers who think the deck is stacked against them" is updated Ragged Dick attributed to his grandmother
    The right is "othering" poor whites as they always have poor blacks not offering any type of solutions for diminished economic opportunities and increasing inequality. The whites in the bottom third of income are targets for better off whites to hate on not sympathetic figures in need of assistance.

    Whites in the bottom third of income favor Democratic presidential candidates by 20 points compared to middle and upper income whites.
    Over the last 30 years, the shift from Democrats to Republicans among whites without college degrees has been almost solely by those in the upper two income groups. The TeaParty, the KY gubernatorial race and the rise of Trump show how useful offering someone new to blame is in distracting the white middle class from the current economic system.

  38. Major Kong Says:

    I'm not sure they've realized it yet, but working-class whites are just one deck above blacks on the Titanic.

    "Hey! Why are my feet getting wet?"

  39. Dave Says:

    First thing I'd recommend for this guy is to get healthy – changing what you put into your body and how you use it can have dramatic impacts on mental health.

    Consumption of soda, cigarettes, salami, cheesecake, and so on — clearly his body has been ravaged over time by the nutrition that this shopping list represents. It's not easy to be active when you're a truck driver (but is possible if you want to). I'd be willing to bet his heart disease is a direct result of his lifestyle.

    If you want a clear head it starts with a healthy body.

  40. Katydid Says:

    @Salt; I think you missed the point of this story told in the man's own words in your rush to blame middle-class white people. This guy made some bad decisions and had some bad things happen to him, but the way he's dealing with it is to sink into armed paranoia and conspiracy theories, which should worry anyone who shares a highway with him or visits WalMart while he's stalking the aisles hoping someone looks at him funny. As someone pointed out upstream, he was fired, and now chooses to throw in his support wholeheartedly behind a man who had an entire reality show based on firing people, and took great pleasure in spouting the catchphrase, "you're fired". His lack of critical thinking skills and wholehearted embrace of the irrational fringe elements of society is what makes him dangerous, not middle-class white people.

  41. mago Says:

    What Khaled said without all the fucks and shit.

  42. Skwerlhugger Says:

    M. Kong, isn't that realization pretty much the key? These guys don't punch up, and the closer they are, the harder you've got to punch.

  43. NickT Says:

    It'll be a cold day in hell before I feel any sympathy for someone who smokes and guzzles soda despite having a heart problem. I feel immense compassion for his wife, who seems like a sane, decent, hard-working person. I hope that at some point she can meet someone better than this bigoted, voluntarily ignorant deadbeat. The only hope in this story is that the guy is such a goddamn idiot, he'll probably shoot himself by accident, thus ending a wasted life and removing a danger to society. I just hope he doesn't succeed in injuring anyone else along the way.

  44. Major Kong Says:

    @Dave

    This person sounds a lot like my rural in-laws. They're worried that some scary bad-guy is going to get them.

    Yet they smoke, drink soda, eat crappy food and don't exercise. Where I would ride a bicycle, they'll ride a 4-wheel ATV. Even mowing the lawn involves riding around on a tractor.

    They'll die of heart disease or a car accident on a crappy rural road long before some imaginary bad-guy ever gets them.

    Yet they're not worried about the things that are most likely to kill them.

    Heck, one of them recently had a partial brain aneurysm. The doctors told him to quit smoking and what does he do? He stops and buys cigarettes on the way home from the hospital!

  45. NickT Says:

    @Major Kong

    "Heck, one of them recently had a partial brain aneurysm. The doctors told him to quit smoking and what does he do? He stops and buys cigarettes on the way home from the hospital!"

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the nicotine of patriots and idiots.

  46. Dave Bearse Says:

    A similar point could be made concerning disaffected rather isolated young Muslims being targeted and radicalized via the internet.

  47. Brian Says:

    It seems that this man, like many of the angry white male crowd, is a victim of the White Supremacist Patriarchy as much as anyone.

    They are told they should be in charge and responsible for everyone and everything, and when they can't they search for why. It can't be their inability to succeed in the system, it must be the other.

    They have been told from birth that any man (and by this I mean white male) can succeed in America as long as they are willing to work.

    Unable to live with the fundamental lie of that White Patriarchy, and not being the most educated and critical thinker, he blames the other. Whether it be his wife, kids, Hillary Clinton, or dark skinned people.

    And this being America, the only answer is to arm yourself against a sea of troubles.

    I think this is why it's always white men who are serial killers. They KNOW they should be in charge. And can't cope when they aren't.

    It would be so much easier if they just realized everyone's in this together and nobody gets out alive.

  48. Amateur Socialist Says:

    This guy is the result of our ~40 year experiment: What happens if we quit building schools, hospitals, housing and infrastructure and just put up prisons instead? (A gloriously bipartisan one).

    Voia to the la.

  49. Ed Says:

    But Obama fixed the economy.

  50. democommie Says:

    Ed@9:48 :

    He only "fixed" it for the blackmooslimbabyfactorylesbohookers on welfare!!!!

  51. Gin & Tacos: Undisciplined Retreat | Ordinary Times Says:

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  52. BruceJ Says:

    What Khaled said with more "cocksuckers" and "hoopleheads" and Ian McShane's gravelly voice. And for all the pious ponderings of Thomas Frank et al, this is precisely what's fucking wrong with Kansas.

    This guy's whole life of problems has been what the dirty fucking liberal hippies have been trying to fix for over 50 years (65 if you count Truman's first attempts at getting a national health care system in place) but they chose, over and over and over again to make things worse.

  53. DaelM Says:

    so, how much does an assault rifle cost in the US? i got distracted when it said he was broke etc and then came home with an AR-15.

  54. Matt Says:

    Clearly, the solution is to pay disability benefits on a special card that can't be used to buy gunz, ciggys or booze. Or is that only a policy that applies to people the GOP don't like spending their benefits?

    As for this guy, fuck him. I'm sure he believes that "the world is what you make of it": well he's made it (by voting for pols that promised to over and over) a world full of bear-traps for the poor and the sick and the unskilled. Get to chewing on that leg, fucko, you put the trap right there yourself.

  55. Jado Says:

    TakomaMark

    In order for him to realize he is being bamboozled, he would have to ADMIT that he's been bamboozled.

    That the nice Republicans that have fed him these fantasies all these years were not his friends.

    That the Democrats that have been trying to help him and everyone like him are not his enemies.

    That he is projecting his own self-hate onto a socially-acceptable target just like a closeted gay-basher who punches that which he cannot tolerate in himself.

    This guy is a Poorophobe

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