Black Public Scholars

August 12, 2009

What? Why Was a Man With a Gun Allowed to See the President?

Armed Obama Protester

Earlier today MSNBC aired a segment showing a man with a loaded gun waiting for President Barack Obama to arrive at a town hall on health care reform at a high school in Portsmouth, N.H., and reportedly the local chief of police had no problem with it.

The man is carrying a sign that says, “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty.” That’s a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It was a favorite slogan of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was wearing a T-shirt when he was arrested with a picture of Lincoln on the front and a tree dripping with blood on the back.

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