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Gun-Toter’s Interview Was Staged — And Interviewer Has Ties to Arizona Viper Group

By Larry Keller on August 20, 2009 - 4:49 pm, Posted in Militias

As President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have learned this month, an antigovernment, pro-militia mentality is alive and well in the United States. On Monday, a guy named Ernest Hancock staged a videotaped interview with a man carrying a semiautomatic rifle slung over his shoulder outside the venue where the president spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix.

Hancock freely admitted that the interview he conducted — it was posted on YouTube — of a rifle-toting man named “Chris” was a publicity stunt to demonstrate that people can lawfully carry guns. Hancock himself packed a 9-millimeter Beretta on his hip. But Hancock is not just another ardent Second Amendment supporter. An online radio show host and publisher of a website called freedomsphoenix.com, he has been a vocal supporter of Arizona’s Viper Militia – a paramilitary group that stockpiled weapons and bomb-making equipment in the 1990s.

A grand jury indicted 10 men and two women in 1996 on weapons and conspiracy charges after an undercover state officer infiltrated the Viper Militia. Among those arrested was Dean Pleasant, who had run for the Arizona Senate on the Libertarian Party ticket. Police confiscated more than 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making components in one of three homes they raided in Phoenix. They seized dozens of shotguns, rifle and other weapons, as well as home videos, including one that purportedly showed members casing Phoenix buildings as potential targets. Eleven of the 12 defendants, including Pleasant, entered guilty pleas or were convicted at trial and received prison sentences of up to nine years.

Hancock — who has run unsuccessfully several times for state and federal offices in Arizona as a Libertarian — knew the militia members and was their enthusiastic defender.  “They just like their guns,” he told one interviewer. “And in Arizona, gosh darn it, that’s normal.” Hancock even helped run a website created by friends and supporters of the defendants called the Viper Reserves. Its aim was to raise money for the defense of the militia’s members.

In a video that Hancock posted in May, he said, “There is a revolution coming. Hopefully, we can keep it peaceful and between the ears. But there is going to be great change. There is going to be a great upheaval.”

His faux interview with his rifle-carrying friend on Monday came six days after a man named William Kostric stood outside a town hall meeting on health care that Obama hosted in New Hampshire with a gun holstered at his side. Kostric — who used to live in Scottsdale, Ariz. — lists white supremacist Randy Weaver as one of his heroes on his MySpace page. Weaver was involved in a standoff with federal agents in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, that ended with Weaver’s wife and young son being shot dead. It is one of the watershed events cited by devotees of the so-called Patriot Movement.

On his website,  Kostric features rambling screeds about the FDA, the police and Realtors. The FDA, he complains, “constantly lies about Cancer Salves [which some really have cured cancer with]… I simply want to NOT have to mutilate my body if I choose.” He also grouses, “Judges in small downs [sic] do not have to KNOW the laws and can run our life based on their opionion [sic] …”

Kostric’s website makes no mention of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. But the T-shirt he wore outside Obama’s town hall appearance in New Hampshire read on the back: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” That’s a quote from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787. It’s also the same passage that was on the back of McVeigh’s T-shirt when he was arrested.

  • bandofotters

    Maybe Kostric and bomber Timothy McVeigh shop for clothing at the same stores/mail order houses. Other than that, why even mention it? Why is there an implied relationship/bond between Kostric & McVeigh rather than one between Kostric & Jefferson?

    Especially where the author admits, “Kostric’s website makes no mention of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.”

    While we are at it, why do athiests carry currency on them that says, “In God We Trust”? Stupid question? Of course but no less intelligent than the distortions here.

  • Sam

    Carter,

    That was well said. Thank you.

    As others have said on here, the double standards are awful; on both sides. Everyone wants to be right (right as in correct) all the time. They can never accept when the “other” side is right. No laws were broken, the “gun nuts” have the same rights as you and I to peacefully assemble, and they did. They weren’t near our president and the Secret Service didn’t tape a target on Obama’s back either. There are huge double standards and we either live with them or stop perpetuating them. As my mother has always said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. I am not a liberal and I am not a conservative, I am someone who thinks and researches before I make a decision. I am for our second amendment. Have the times changed since it was written? Yes, however our right to defend ourselves hasn’t. Do you know that one of the reasons our forefathers gave us the right to bear arms? To make sure our government can’t over power us; to protect ourselves even from our government so they can’t take away our rights. Do I think that gun fanatics take it too far? Yes I do. Does that mean we need to make it illegal for my neighbor to own a gun? No way. If we truly thought that way, we need to make religion illegal; there are people fanatical about that too.

  • DanielS.

    It is a shame that because of we the people lableing and or being labled as from or of this party or that party that this causes conflict and competiton with our brothers and sisters. It’s a shame that the same goes with our Nationalities our Creeds, Color, Or description we decide to use to identify ourseleves that these also cause us to engage in competiton and conflict. I can go on if you’d like with all the talk of religion and choice of lifestyle but I won’t. We live in America and so we are a group of different people under the same umbrella if you will. And again, we have our different interpretations and values, wants and demands. I could go on but I won’t. The groups are not always of hate as one thing some of them may have in common is the do not like the direction the country is being led towards and or force to go. If I wanted a certain group to jump on board with me. I would make sure I knew what to say in order to appeal to them. If I did not want a certain group to be included. I would know what to say to make sure they got that message. I think this country, the only one we have is being torn apart at the seams. This concerns me

  • CJ

    Carter…that was well said. We have become a marketing centric nation full of sheep. I couldn’t care less if someone carries a gun, knife, or bottle of water. If they are within the laws of their State, then so be it. We have certainly become a paranoid nation.

  • Carter

    Has all logic been lost to the magic of Marketing hype? I’m not sure who created the word “Hoplophobia” (intense fear of weapons) but it’s alive and well.
    Why is it a concern that someone has a firearm in her or his possession?
    It honestly doesn’t bother me to any great degree. I think of the elderly person who would be a constant victim (like in the UK) because they have no way to defend themselves against a younger more physically able attacker. Who am I to deny that person the right to defend themselves?
    This MAY just be a feature of how we grow up. I grew up with firearms & just don’t have a great fear of them. They are simply a mechanical device. The human mind can use a hammer, knife, Baseball Bat, etc just as viciously.

    “Guns are made for one thing; to kill!”….I’ve heard that statement many times also & disagree. A firearm is designed to propel a projectile; that’s all. What that projectile impacts or punctures is the responsibility of the shooter. Knives are made to cut or puncture. WHAT they cut or puncture is also the same responsibility of the user as any other tool.
    We have become such a “Marketing oriented society” that the object becomes a symbol instead of anything else. We have lost our honesty the way a compulsive lair looses his sense of self.
    And we loose our humor the same way we loose our logic….through fear of imagined slights….

    Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar: they may both cause cancer but they are not penises in disguise…..

  • Charles Miller

    What did these “gun toten FREAKS” do that was illegal? Were they creating a disturbance? No. Were they carrying firearms illegally? No. The Secret Service even said they were not concerned in that they were no where near the President. I, personally, would not have carried a firearm to those events but that does not change the fact that they did nothing illegal. This organization (Southern Poverty Law Center) purports to promote tolerance, however, anytime anyone does not see eye to eye with this organization, the tolerance seems to end. A while back, members of the Black Panthers were carrying firearms at political events but there was no uproar raised. Black Panther members were intimidating voters at polling places during the recent Presidential election but there was no cry from the left, and the investigation into this was conveniently stopped. And talk about conspiracies, this organization is certainly doing every thing they can to foster the belief that anyone carrying a firearm is part of a racial conspiracy. You say there is a double standard, there certainly is, but in a different direction from what you want people to believe.

  • Bman

    I love Muslims. I love Christians. I love Jews. I respect all views. I love guns, but don’t own one. I carry the Constitution everywhere I go, and greatly admire the founders. I have a distrust of the state and it’s ‘dogooding’ ways. I don’t like Obama. I didn’t like Bush. Am I a right wing extremist or a leftwing extremist? Oh, I supported Ron Paul. My point is, this sight appears to wish to neatly box all individuals in. That’s not my world view.

  • Pam

    Joe,

    Uhhh–NO. YOU have no right to terrorize everyone around you by carrying a gun to meet our president.

    Think of it this way Joe, what IF the gun toters were muslims…you and everyone around you would have hit the decks, and everyone there would have called police as fast as they could have.

    SEE THE DOUBLE STANDARD YET???????????????????

    Just because these gun toten FREAKS are white, doesn’t make it right to carry a gun to meet the president.

  • Kay Duquesne

    If you want to look into the mindset of rightwing extremists you should study the article we have been studying in one of our classes. “Battle of Jakes”. Several students have been studying extremist fiction and it is amazing how close to reality this is.

  • Soulalibi

    And by the way, I’m not a Liberal or a Progressive.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    You would be right to do so. The right-wingers are going to try to test how extreme they can get. Because they are naturally cowards, they will back down as soon as they find out that leftists are not just nerdy college kids or hippies.

  • Soulalibi

    On a side note to Ruslan Amirkhanov’s post, generally speaking, based on first hand experience. They are also extremely cowardly living without their guns. Never mind the fact that their life was never in any serious and thus imminent danger. And because they have created a climate of fear, uncertainty, amongst fellow citizens by wayward of taking up arms in public. I now find it imperative to take up arms myself for nearly the same reasons. But only in doing so to protect myself from them including other bad elements amidst.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Militia types and right wingers love their guns so much because they are incredibly fearful people and it helps boost their sense of masculinity.

  • Soulalibi

    Arthur Frommer the infamous travel specialist–tourist guru has recently asked his fans to boycott travels to Arizona, after what he witnessed a “Chris B.” insanely carrying his automatic assualt rifle to a public rally last monday. I can’t blame Frommer for his professional opinion and I believe them to be legit according to this link:
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c....._be_di.php

    It might not be such a bad idea to boycott Arizona until that state cleans up its own act. Unless of course, if you’re a diehard wild wild western nut, a modern John Wayne freak, then Arizona is for you.

  • Snorlax

    Gun nuts wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere NEAR Dubya.. not with their guns anyway.

    The Secret Service DOES have a double standard.

    It is only a matter of time before some whacko shoots Obama.

    Scary.

  • http://bayareahouston.blogspot.com John Cobarruvias

    Tea baggers and gun nuts, no place but America.

  • Carter

    ” They should be rounded up, their guns confiscated and charged with intent to cause harm.

    * Charged with INTENT……. pretty tough to prove.

    ” They should be rounded up, their guns confiscated and charged with intent to cause harm. ”

    * THEY should be rounded up….

    _____________ This is a very evil sounding dialog; perhaps that’s why Obama himself doesn’t like it. We have a Hell of a lot more important things to do than herd people into camps.

  • Ryan the non-Aryan

    The man claiming to be “Chris B.” has been identified according to the Arizona Republic. Christopher Broughton is a members of several anti-govenment extremists groups. And one of them is “We The People Foundation”, in which according to it beliefs, they encourage “resistance against unconstitutional or illegal behavior by government official.”

    Hmmm……..

    If this is the case, then why on Earth aren’t they staging “resistance” against that septuagenarian tyrant hence the oppressor–Sheriff joe arpaio?
    Oh let me guess–its because this “gun-toter” is a negro, so ironically he doesn’t see the oppressive totaltarian regime of arpaio’s administration as “unconstitutional” or “illegal” in nature. Unless of course, if arpaio was a real cop–as in 5-0. Then maybe his views would befit that with most black folks who tend to see cops as the bad guys who racial profile blacks on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the cops, after all they arrest everyone equally as opposed to arpaio alone.

  • Joe

    “It’s insane that these gun nuts are allowed to totre their guns be at events where the president is. The state laws have been stretched beyond any kind of reason and the gun toting nuts are in fact, security risks. They should be rounded up, their guns confiscated and charged with intent to cause harm. We have had three presidents shot and killed, five that have been shot or shot at, are we a nation of crazies?”

    uhh…NO.
    If a citizen is doing something that is currently legal you have no grounds to do anything to them.

    If you don’t like that law, you need to work to change it.

  • John Sweeney

    How about a report on the Secret Service double standard when it comes to protecting the nation’s first black president? Agents allow guns at Obama rallies,but arrest anti-Bush protesters for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts? Or confine protesters to holding pens?WTF?

  • Robert Inman

    It’s insane that these gun nuts are allowed to totre their guns be at events where the president is. The state laws have been stretched beyond any kind of reason and the gun toting nuts are in fact, security risks. They should be rounded up, their guns confiscated and charged with intent to cause harm. We have had three presidents shot and killed, five that have been shot or shot at, are we a nation of crazies?