Need more evidence that Texas has become a prime breeding ground for the whack-a-doodle rightist fringe? Exhibit 492 (but who’s counting?): Austin-based radio commentator and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, exploding in mouth-foaming rage on Piers Morgan’s CNN program Monday. Jones talked about his support for a petition to deport Morgan, who has enraged pro-gun activists by calling for stronger firearms regulations following the slaughter of more than two dozen children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, shortly before last Christmas.
Here’s part of one hyperbolic, eye-bulging rant Jones launched into during the program (video clip below):
“I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! Doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street, begging for ‘em to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand?! That’s why you’re going to fail, and the establishment knows, no matter how much propaganda, the republic will rise again!”
Folks in Austin might remember Jones from when he hosted a public access television show in the 1990s. The show was filled with right-wing conspiracy theories popular in the grassy knolls of the “black helicopter” crowd. He later moved to radio and expanded his reach to audiences across the country.
Besides exploiting racial animosities, Jones’s conspiracy theories often appeal to the fears of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.
At the movement’s previous peak in the 1990s, the “black helicopter” was a symbol of its cartoonish insistence that the government would soon be coming after freedom-loving dissidents who knew the truth about the New World Order. Jones gave these fears a 21st century update in an October 2011 online broadcast. He obsessed over news that the sheriff of Montgomery County, Texas, had used a federal grant to buy an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (also known as a drone) called the ShadowHawk. The laptop-controlled, miniature helicopter comes equipped with a powerful zoom camera, infrared heat-seeking optics and crowd-stopping cartridges.
To Jones, this was not simply a police department taking advantage of the latest law enforcement technologies but a glimpse at the insidious machinery agents of the New World Order are deploying in the night skies in advance of martial law. “They’ve got large unmanned drones,” Jones warned. “They’ve got small drones. … And they’ve got million-dollar systems up there flying around with cops in control of them, surveilling you. And now they’re mounting them with ground-penetrating radar that looks right through your wall, while you’re on the toilet, having sex with your wife.”
You can read the SPLC’s summary report on Jones here. CNN has a short clip here with some of the highlights of Monday’s interview with Jones. The interview offers a truly remarkable view into the mindset of the far right’s almost unhinged paranoia today.