Interview with AR-15-Toting Protester at Obama Rally was Staged
In case you missed it, about a dozen men with guns showed up at an Obama healthcare rally in Phoenix this Monday, at least one of them carrying a semi-automatic rifle.
The man packing the AR-15 (a really big gun)--identified only as "Chris B"--was interviewed by libertarian radio show host and publisher of libertarian site Freedoms Phoenix Ernie Hancock (pictured, who was also carrying a gun at the time of the interview). When asked why he was carrying a weapon, Chris B. responded, "Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."
Chris B. also said that he "always carried a gun," except when showering, of course, when he'd "put it on the sink."
As it turns out, the entire interview was staged by Hancock, a long-time acquaintance of "Chris B," whom he'd met while working on presidential hopeful Ron Paul's campaign.
Hancock revealed to Rick Sanchez on CNN that he'd invited Chris to come to the protest with the gun for the explicit purpose of interviewing him. Though the rally was about health care, the conversation with Chris focused nearly entirely on gun rights.
Hancock fessed up quickly to the publicity stunt, and just as quickly justified his actions.
"We know what we're up against," Hancock said. "We're up against a tyrannical government that will rob the next generation as long as they can get away with it."
Hancock has also been a long-time advocate of the Arizona Viper Militia, a group convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in the 90s for plotting to blow up a federal building. According to Hancock, the Viper Militia case was a fraud (he has also said that the government lied about the 9-11 attacks, according to investigative online site Talking Points Memo.)
We feel safer. Don't you?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.