Friday, October 12, 2012

The urgency in Congressman Steve King’s words sent me searching for a 1984 movie I hadn’t seen since, well, 1984 — on VHS.

If what the Kiron Republican insisted in Orange City the other night is not mere campaign clutter but skin-shivering clairvoyance, we need to be locked and loaded, our eyes trained to the horizon for intruders, our suspicions piqued for the confederates among us, in our schools, our Rotary Clubs, and most especially, within Obama for America county headquarters.

The reason we have guns isn’t for mere hobby, the hunting of deer, or even to protect ourselves on the streets of Carroll where the most dangerous thing most people do in a day is leave the popcorn unattended in the microwave. We need guns, goes King’s reasoning, so we can collectively function as an ad hoc militia against potential tyrants.

“We hunt, we target shoot, we do self-defense,” King said in a 4th District congressional debate at Christ Church on the Northwestern College campus. “Those three with guns that are Second Amendment guarantees, those aren’t the reasons why we have the Second Amendment. They’re the benefits we get from the Second Amendment. The reason we have the Second Amendment is to guard against tyranny because our Founding Fathers understood that if you did not have an armed populace, a tyrant could take over America so we have a responsibility not just to defend the Second Amendment in words, but do so in deed by hunting and target practicing and also self-defense.”

So your family hunts Christie Vilsack? Big deal.

You once had to pre-sweep your own house of shotguns, Mrs. Vilsack, so Vice President Al Gore’s protective detail wouldn’t toss your sons or husband, Tom, up against a refrigerator when the Secret Service spied the barrels and bullets in your closets. Hah, what do you know, lady?

No, the King household is armed, with AR-15 semi-automatic weapons, as the congressman told us the other night in Sioux City, for a more revolutionary reason: a tyrant is coming. Hunting pheasant is just spring training for the real shooting.

Which is why any patriotic Iowan will rush to their Netflix account and immediately start streaming the movie “Red Dawn” to absorb potentially life-saving tips from Patrick Swayze’s Jed or Charlie Sheen’s Matt, the fictional Colorado high school students who battled Soviets and Nicaraguans and Cubans as they came from the sky in remote rural reaches in this imaginative Cold War-era film. The movie must still be an inspiration for King.

Where will the attack come in western Iowa? Perhaps that odd Loess Hills formation in Turin? It’s surely a good place to parachute and hide before marching on Onawa or Dow City.

Maybe the tyrant won’t be an outlander but a Manchurian president or some real-life incarnation of Sgt. Brody on Showtime’s “Homeland.”

King spent a couple of years in Maryville, Mo. Does he know something we don’t about the Show-Me-Staters, who were, after all, represented by a star on the Southern flag? Is Missouri looking to resurrect resentments from 1863 and move on Clarinda, occupy Red Oak?

I can’t get over that terrifying insistence in King’s voice that seemed to suggest the imminence of an attack on our freedom, the rise of a tyrant — whom King not so subtly suggested is already in the White House.

So is King serious? Is civil war coming? King’s passion on the subject warns that those of you who don’t own guns should think again. And quick.

“I wouldn’t suggest that at all, and hopefully that isn’t a message taken from here,” King said in an interview after the Northwestern debate.

The cheering in Christ Church from what King termed a “Second Amendment crowd” told us otherwise.

You could sense the fingers itching for triggers.