Civil Discourse Now

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"OCCUPY BROARD RIPPLE WITH GUNS IS A NEO-NAZI SHAM.

"Occupy Broad Ripple with Guns" is a neo-Nazi sham.

   An individual from Shelby County has announced plans for an Occupy Broad Ripple with Guns for Saturday, November 26, 2011, between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. His stated purpose is to educate the people in Broad Ripple about their Second Amendment right to bear arms as a means of self-defense.

   This is seriously stupid. Also, it is an attempt to couple the Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") movement with violence. The man who is attempting to organize the event is John Hallgarth. On his Facebook page he lists, for "political views," "National Alliance." If this is the same group, National Alliance is described as a white separatist organization and the most active and largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States.  If it is not, Mr. Hallgarth should clarify the matter.

   For those unfamiliar with Indiana geography and social dynamics, Broad Ripple is an area on the north side of Indianapolis known, amongst other things, for its night life. The people who frequent the bars, particularly in the evening, tend to be more toward college age. People party. Some become trashed. Broad Ripple Avenue and the sidewalks adjacent to it are crowded about 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. The campus of Butler University is only two or three miles away. Shelby County is about 20 miles from Broad Ripple, the line between Shelby and Marion counties a short one on the southeast corner of Marion. In the last couple of weeks there have been two assault/robberies and a rape in Broad Ripple.  

   First, as recent Libertarian candidate for City Council and longtime Broad Ripple business owner and community activist Bill Levin has written, the combination of alcohol and guns is a mistake. Perhaps I am showing my age, but I do not go out much past eight in the evening. On a few occasions I have been out late enough, and have spoken with enough people, to be aware of conditions late on a Saturday night in Broad Ripple.

   Second, why try to "educate" people at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night—of a holiday weekend when a lot of the college-aged people in Broad Ripple will be home from school and partying harder with friends they have not seen for a while—who in all likelihood will be trashed? I would not want my time of relaxation interrupted by a lecture.

   Finally, why include in the title "Occupy"? The individual identifies with National Alliance. This is no more than a sham to get people to identify OWS with violence—violence brought by someone who does not share the views of OWS but, by employing their title in his effort, hopes to smear those who are demonstrating against corporate greed.

   In a 1989 issue of one of its magazines, National Alliance hailed (or maybe "heiled" would be the better word) Adolf Hitler as "the greatest man of our era." 1989 was the 100th anniversary of Hitler’s birth. This is the element that wishes to occupy Broad Ripple with firearms.  

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Comment by Roberta Ecks on November 24, 2011 at 12:38am

-You are speculating.  Let's find out what Mr. Hallgarth has to say about this.

-I will note that the individual in question has elsewhere (WTHR.com, comments) stated his girlfriend is African-American.  FWIW.

-I have no more sympathy for such groups than you do but is a "fighting words" headline (prior to confirming the allegation) actually civil discourse?

-I am (among) the element that wants to "Occupy Broad Ripple With Guns," except I don't want to "occupy" the place (I live in SoBro already) as I want to a) hand out fliers reminding people of their civil right to self-defense and b) give the ill-intentioned one night to see how many of their prospective victims might be armed.  Most such assailants are more risk-averse than we might think; they want overwhelming odds in their own favor and will go elsewhere if they think the chance of an occupational injury is too high.  Both a) and b) have a strong deterrent effect on crime.

Comment by Mark Small on November 23, 2011 at 9:22am

Paul,

I did not mean to equate licensed gun owners having their firearms to violence. However, in this context, we have a person who appears to avow a belief in the tenets of a neo-Nazi organization calling on people to gather, with their firearms, in a bar district. There aren't any polls on the matter, but I would hazard to guess Broad Ripple is more "progressive"---i.e., peopled by more liberals---than other parts of Indy. The crimes of the last couple of weeks are a mere pretext for neo-Nazis to intimidate or, as likely, be associated with the "occupy" brand.

Comment by Paul K. Ogden on November 23, 2011 at 9:07am

Mark,

I don't buy your leap of logic that licensed gun owners having their firearms equates to "violence."  I've never once been concerned about licensed gun owners having their weapon.  I think if criminals thought for a second that individuals might be armed, they'd be LESS likely to try to rob them rather than MORE likely.

 I don't think it's a good event though because of the timing of the event.  Broad Ripple is a mad house at that time of night on the weekends.  If they want to educate the public, which I favor, they should do it during the day.  

As far as neo-Nazi ties an organizer has, I want to look at this a little more before I opine on the subject.  These groups will often jump on popular causes to promote their group.  That's not unusual.  Just not sure that's what's going on in this case. 

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