One side effect of the recent public awareness of – and call for stronger – gun laws is that we’ve also become more aware of cases like these. Two men, both with prior criminal convictions, both with a vendetta against the people who are different from them and both massively, and illegally, armed to the teeth. Whatever is squirming in their heads, they had decided that the only cure was to kill others,
The first man lives in New York state. Larry Mulqueen, a 49-year-old man with previous criminal convictions, had posted a hit list on Facebook which included several prominent Democratic politicians. Luckily, his landlady (whom he had been harassing) spotted the post and called police. Names like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg appeared along with Mulqueen’s assertion that they were all “traitor scum” and he promised death to all of them. Also included in the threat was every member of the Black Congressional Caucus and all “followers” of President Obama.
When Clarkstown police and the FBI investigated they found a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, including two high-powered rifles and a box of .50 caliber armor-piercing shells – so-called “tank buster” ammo. Body armor was also found. With previous criminal convictions on his record, Mulqueen had the weapons and armor illegally. He was charged with making terroristic threats, illegal possession of firearms and harassment. He is in custody and will be arraigned on Monday.
The second man with a gun today is 47-year-old Richard Schmidt of Bowling Green, Ohio. He is a convicted felon, having served 13 years in Ohio for killing a man during a traffic stop. Actually, he was arrested in December but there are new and alarming facts coming out about him right now. One of these facts is that he had planned on killing prominent Jewish and African-American leaders. Scott Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were at the top of his list.
Schmidt was originally arrested for trafficking in stolen and counterfeit goods and was indicted last month on those federal charges. When FBI agents searched his home they found an arsenal that included AR-15 assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, high-capacity magazines and over 40,000 rounds of ammo. Since he is a felon and on parole, owning any of these items is illegal for him. Charges of possessing illegal weapons, ammo and body armor were added to his previous charges. Federal agents have been unable to ascertain how and where Schmidt obtained his illegal cache, though gun shows are the primary hypothesis. We all know how easy it is to get this stuff from gun shows, which is one reason a vast majority of Americans want to see that loophole closed.
Oh, did I mention that Schmidt is a neo-Nazi? The reason he was being watched in the first place by the FBI’s Joint terrorism Task Force was that they noticed he was tracking African-American and Jewish leaders in the Detroit area. When they searched his home, they found – in addition to the illegal weapons – video of the 2005 national meeting of the Nazi movement. We’re talking full-on uniforms and “Sieg Heil” salutes here, with calls for battle and war against the Jews and blacks. Schmidt also had a list of national Jewish-owned businesses and some Nazi memorabilia.
What can we conclude when we look at these two apparently disparate cases? What do they have in common? Besides the fact that these weapons were easily obtained by men who, by law, are not allowed to purchase them, we can see an ugly undercurrent of petulance. These men believed that it was their right to target people whom they disliked – whether because of race of political leanings – and they thought nothing of threatening them. These are the kind of nuts we talk about when we say we want tougher gun laws, not the law-abiding gun owners (like myself). These are the kind of men we point to when we say that the right-wing rhetoric is getting dangerous. What kind of American would condone the murder of another American simply because they disagreed or were different? There are traitors here, yes, and they are thankfully behind bars. But we worry if the next one will be caught before he can indulge his resentment and anger.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…