***UPDATE: TPM reports the Secret Service is keeping an eye on “Pastor” Anderson and his gun-toting parishioner, Chris Broughton (who has now joined Anderson in wishing the president dead, but who unlike Anderson, has not renounced using violence himself, to make it happen.)***
With its “open carry” gun laws and penchant for breeding militia members (and their afficionados), not to mention unhinged, false “pastors“… it seems Arizona has an image problem. The state’s tourism board is worried, especially after Arthur Frommer, founder of the legendary travel books, advised skipping the gun crazy state where people find it helpful to pack heat at political meetings where the president is nearby (the response from outraged gun nuts was predictable.) I’m with him. Of course, if the wingers think “libs” won’t set foot in Arizona, it will make them hopping mad, and they’ll vow to pour into the state, guns in the air, waving ‘em like they just don’t care, which should do wonders to clean thing up for Arizona’s tourism officials. (ahem.)
From today’s Arizona Republic:
“We’re an urban city, and there are individuals trying to hold on to the old ways of the Wild West,” said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski, himself a gun owner. “We’re going to lose a lot of conventions because of one knucklehead.”
well, technically, more than one… reading on…
Before the gun stunt, tales of Mexican drug cartels abducting rival smugglers and immigrants and holding them for ransom in Valley homes had already painted Phoenix as a city under siege.
But as Arizona’s image took another beating, more than a dozen civic leaders, tourism officials and media strategists huddled in Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon’s office last week to discuss how to stanch the flow of bad publicity.
While this was just the first of many meetings, officials said they plan to invite journalists and event planners to visit the state, share information about falling crime rates, and utilize social media like Twitter and YouTube to help market Arizona as a safe and friendly place to visit.
… But a blog entry by travel icon Arthur Frommer has done the most damage to Arizona’s reputation, officials said.
Founder of the Frommer’s series of travel guidebooks, Frommer wrote that he would no longer visit Arizona, fearing for his personal safety after reading accounts of protesters carrying loaded weapons on the streets of Phoenix.
Frommer, who sold his company decades ago, was unavailable for comment. But he told NPR last weekend he was disturbed police officers stood around “like scared rabbits” while armed protesters tried to “threaten” and “intimidate” Obama supporters.
“Open-carry laws have to take second place to public order and to life,” said Frommer, a New York Democrat and Obama campaign contributor. When NPR host Guy Raz suggested Frommer was making Arizona sound like war-torn Mogadishu, Frommer responded: “Well, it’s getting that way. . . . The number of guns that are now being carried by citizens in Arizona is becoming frightening.”
… Mayor Gordon has pointed out that Arizona is just one of 11 states where citizens don’t need a license to carry a firearm in public as long as it is visible. In fact, there are only seven states where openly carrying guns is unlawful.
But this year, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law three major bills that expanded gun rights, a step proponents said makes the state a safer place. Beginning Sept. 30, one of those laws will allow people with a concealed-weapons permit to carry guns into restaurants and bars, though they can’t pack heat while consuming alcohol.
Hang on … 11 other states with guns nuts staggering through the parking lots of local bars fully armed, or packing at the Olive Garden??? Oh hell no! What states are they? Googling … Googling…
Apparently, the states with “permissive” open carry laws, meaning brandish ‘em if you got ‘em, are:
Most of these are rural states, with about 50 people living there, and lots of hunters. And let’s keep it real, you’re probably pretty safe in Vermont. But what’s also clear is that the sheer preponderance of guns in America, and the zealous love for them, combined with the ease of getting one, is contributing to some pretty nasty, near unique American phenomena — mass killings, like the one at Virginia Tech a couple years ago, and presidential assassinations (we’ve had more than any Western country). With the dangerous atmosphere brewing among those disappointed by Barack Obama’s election, the gun culture is posing an ever growing danger, and it’s to things far more important than tourism.
Meanwhile, our friendly neighborhood “snail melting” Arizona pastor has upped the ante: now, he wants God to afflict Barack Obama with brain cancer … just like Ted Kennedy. At least, that’s what he told his 30 or so members … Watch:
Meet the Crazies