Protesters, some armed (L), attend a pro-gun rally as part of the National Day of Resistance at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 23, 2013. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
I hate the idea of the “news cycle”—that notion, beloved of the Washington gossip sheet Politico, that there are properly two or three maybe five stories that everyone is or should be talking about in any given day; that is, if you know what is cool. That atrophies thought. It kills off any active attempt to grasp the multiple contexts that shape our public life. It actively turns news into gossip. Which is just the speed of the Washington political press corps. Very few of them think to scan the horizon to suss out stories and issues that might emerge. Instead, information outside the very few narratives they consider worth carrying around in their heads just gets discarded. Let me flag two stories that fell through these gargantuan cracks. They may some day turn out to have portended bigger things.
Remember Buford Rogers? Of course you don’t. The media was too busy flooding the zone last month with news on the terrorists who happened to be Muslim to give more than a drop of attention to a white Minnesota man who flew the American flag outside his mobile home upside down and, in the first week of May, was arrested in an FBI raid that uncovered a cache of pipebombs, Molotov cocktails, and firearms. “The FBI believed there was a terror attack in its planning stages,” a spokesman said. What happened next? I didn’t know—beyond a single paragraph in the National Briefing, The New York Times hasn’t mentioned the case; The Washington Post ran the same AP dispatch at six paragraphs—until I found my way to an item on the site Heavy.com—and learned that “Bucky” had started something called the “Black Snake Militia,” and said such charming things on his Facebook page as “The war is here tsa agents are doing random cheeks and shooting people for no reson,” “ever one better get your guns ready cuz there comeing FEMA,” “this is not bullshit just cuz its not in your back yard yet doesnt mean it wont b soon,” “the NWO has taken all your freedoms the right to bear arms freedom of speach freedom of the press cheek the shit out for your self this is fucking real,” “together we can fight back they wont take me down with out a fight i hope that you wont go down easy eather,” and “weve already started fighting im shure youl hear about it in a bad way.[sic]” No one yet knows whether Rogers is acting alone.
Here’s another story I’ve been watching—which, like the foiled Minnesota terror plot, I only learned about from the good folks at Talking Points Memo, who are great on this stuff: “Chaos erupted outside the New Hampshire statehouse this week when pro-gun protesters showed up at a gun control rally—and one of them ended up getting zapped with a Taser and then arrested.”