A Brief History of Politicians Blowing Things Up

Republican State Sen. Ron Gould is running for Congress in Arizona’s 4th congressional district. It’s a heavily Democratic district, so he’s probably not going to win. But Gould’s not going down quietly. He has released an ad (below) in which he blasts a hole through Obamacare with a pump-action shotgun. “It’s rather ridiculous that somehow now guns are off limits because we had a congresswoman shot in Arizona,” he told Fox 10 Phoenix.

Firing a gun in a political ad is hardly a new idea. And it’s not the exclusive domain of Republicans. Here’s a quick guide to how it’s done:

Shooter: Arizona congressional candidate Ron Gould (R).

Year: 2012.

Weapon: pump-action shotgun.

Target: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Scale of Destruction: Mixed—Gould uses what looks to be a slimmed-down version of the law.

 

ShooterOklahoma congressional candidate Rob Wallace (D).

Year: 2012

Weapon: pump shotgun; scoped thirty-ought-six hunting rifle.

Target: The state of Texas.

Scale of destruction: Absolute.

ShooterWest Virginia Senate candidate Joe Manchin (D).

Year: 2010

Weapon: scoped single-shot bolt-action hunting rifle.

Target: “The cap-and-trade bill.”

Scale of Destruction: Does it really count if the bill was already dead? 

Candidate: Alabama Agriculture Commission candidate Dale Peterson (R).

Year: 2010.

Weapon: .30-caliber lever-action Winchester.

Target: A supporter of his opponent.

Scale of Destruction: None; Dale Peterson is, at heart, a man of peace.

Candidate: Colorado congressional candidate Bob McConnell (R).

Year: 2010.

Weapon: automatic pistol; heavily modified AR-15 assault carbine.

Target: Osama bin Laden.

Scale of destruction: Destroyed.

Candidate: Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D).

Year: 2008.

Weapon: over-and-under double-barreled shotgun.

Target: The federal Real ID law.

Scale of Distruction: Absolute.

Honorable mentions go to Wyoming state Sen. Gerald Gay (R)—who has taken down* the videos of him blowing up “socialism,” the Affordable Care Act, the US Capitol, and cap-and-trade with a semi-automatic AR-15 (among other tools)—and Arizona congressional candidate Pamela Gorma (R). Per YouTube, embedding of Gorma’s 2010 campaign ad has been “disabled by request.” Given that Gorma’s ad basically consists of her firing a machine gun for 45 seconds, we’re inclined to honor that request.

Update: Gay’s demolition of the Capitol is still viewable on Facebook.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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