Friday, May 16, 2014

#1041: Larry Pratt

Larry Pratt is a wingnut pundit and founder and/or head of several organizations civilized people do well to stay far away from, such as Gun Owners of America (a “gun rights” advocacy group that makes the NRA look meek and conciliatory by comparison), English First (an English-only movement organization), U.S. Border Patrol (an anti-immigration group), and Committee to Protect the Family (a family values group, obviously). Pratt was briefly a member of Pat Buchanan’s Constitution Party campaign staff during the 1996 U.S. Presidential Election, and has also been affiliated with the Libertarian Party, which does, despite its official ideology, have a tendency to attract hysterical Taliban dominionist theocrats who manage to delude themselves into thinking that oppressive theocratic governments are really what freedom is all about. 

Pratt on guns, violence and suchlike
Most people know Pratt from Gun Owners of America (GOA), so let’s start there. Pratt seems to think that NRA focuses too much on the Constitutional rights to bear arms, and too little on all the positive social effects of increased gun use. For example, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Pratt calledfor the abolition of gun-free zones, which he said “are like magnets for the monsters in our society.” (According to Pratt “of the mass murders in the last 20 years, all but one have taken place in a gun free zone,” which is such a ridiculous myth that one wonders how anyone can repeat it with a straight face.) The more guns are allowed in more places, the safer everyone will be, according to Pratt, who promptly went on to say that gun control advocates “have the blood of little children on their hands.” To conclude, Pratt declared that the “gun control crowd” “privately rejoice” at events like Sandy Hook, because it is easier to hate those who disagree with you if you consistently imagine that they are monsters.

In a 2013 radio interview Pratt (completely falsely, of course) claimed that Jared Loughner, who attempted to assassinate Giffords and killed six people at a community event she was hosting, “didn’t find any resistance” at the scene because the victims were Democrats, and promptly laid the blame for being shot on Gifford herself. (He has also later pointed out that he is glad that members of Congress have a “healthy fear” of getting shot; chalk another great social effect down for unrestricted gun use, I suppose: it leads to a healthy fear of getting gunned down, which is good for democracy.)

Similarly in the Trayvon Martin case; Pratt accused advocates of “trying to use the race card to move against guns” (a “red herring” against gun control, which by the way is what caused Benghazi) and claimed that Eric Holder’s consideration of a civil rights charge against George Zimmerman was an effort to “intimidate” white people into staying defenseless against “black mobs” (no racism here, right?) … and to bring about communism. (The president, the first lady and Hillary Rodham Clinton are in fact trying to exploit the issue of race to “divide people” and cause “turmoil” in order to ultimately “bring collapse to the existing order” and “build their own communist society.”) Later, Pratt alleged that Martin’s own family was responsible his death: “Probably what killed [Trayvon Martin] was the broken family that he was forced to deal with.”

On a general level, Pratt opposes penalties for “straw purchases” of guns, sales to people who intend to sell or give the weapon to someone else who wouldn’t pass a background check. “There would not be straw purchasing if there were no limits on who can carry a gun,” says Pratt, which is true but sort of missing the point.

Oh, but Pratt does want to have some restrictions. According to Pratt “angry liberals should not have guns.” Indeed, Pratt claims that liberals are behind mass shootings, since liberals “are inherently violent”, as shown by … it’s a bit unclear, but at least the claim was made as a concurring response to Alex Jones’s claim that “liberal Democrat families” are “all into weird occult stuff and on a bunch of drugs and are Satan worshippers and video-game heads.”

But the GOA objected ferociously to the 2013 bipartisan bill to “extend a ban on manufacturing plastic firearms that are not detectable by security-screening devices,” claiming that it will inevitably be “twisted by President Obama” into a terror-regime targeted at all gun owners. It is worth mentioning that even the NRA did not oppose the bill. The GOA was also among the drivers of the smear campaign against Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, after Murthy dared to suggest that gun safety is related to public health. According to Pratt doctors who talk to their patients about gun safety are in fact reporting the information to the government like “German and Soviet doctors would send to the regime information about the people that were in their care,” and Murthy’s view “shows that he does not understand medical ethics,” is a “willing tool of the state” and “looks at himself as a government functionary before he considers anything about medicine.”

Pratt tends to justify his beliefs about guns and self-defense with the Bible. Gun-ownership, according to the GOA, is “an obligation to God, and gun laws are, accordingly, a sign that we are under God’s judgment. To the good citizens of Oklahoma, Pratt said that “we should be praying that we will all be able to go around armed, because that will be one outward indicator that we have God’s blessing,” for “if we’re walking around like they are in New York City and San Francisco, we’re under his judgment.” Accordingly, he has denounced gun laws as “pagan”, and argued that we should impeach Obama for his treasonous support of pagan laws. Indeed, the left are all being unconstitutionally unbiblical, according to Pratt: “Frankly, it almost would seem that animism won’t go away. The left, which is largely made up of people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ’s blood as being necessary for our salvation, view inanimate objects as possessing their own will. That’s animism, that’s a return to the most pagan of paganism and look at what nutty political views it ends up supporting.” Given that rant alone I think Pratt has disqualified himself from any attempt to accuse anyone else of “nutty” views on anything. (And no, he does not have even the faintesttrace of an understanding of the Constitution ). Presumably it was because of the pagan nature of gun control laws that the GOA was able to defeat the 2013 background checks bill through the venerated means of prayer.

Pratt on immigration
As head of the U.S. Border Patrol Pratt has strong but not-particularly-well-considered views on immigration. In particular, Pratt believes that immigration reform is a conspiracy by Obama and the liberals to “bring in a gazillion Democrat voters” who are “probably just sitting around drawing welfare and voting Democrat.” He went on to claim that most of those people are illiterate in their own Spanish language, whereas he himself supposedly speaks fluent Spanish.

It is worth mentioning that Pratt has served with several anti-Semitic and white power organizations as well, and The Center for Public Integrity released a report crediting him with “introducing the concept of militias to the right-wing underground.” In 1992, Pratt advocated the start to a militia movement in a meeting hosted by Christian Identity minister Peter J. Peters. And in 1996, it was revealed that Pratt was a contributor to the anti-Semitic organization United Sovereigns of America, and that the GOA had given donations to a known white supremacist group. Indeed, Pratt has been credited with “bridg[ing] the gap between the far right, anti-Semites, racists, and members of Congress.”

In fact, the reason Pratt was kicked out of Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign was his ties with the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites. (Yes, he was too racist for Pat Buchanan). Even in 2012, Pratt was scheduled to spend the Fourth of July at an event hosted by a Holocaust-denying rock band whose leader Paul Topete also thinks Israel was behind 9/11 (Cynthia McKinney planned to participate in this apparently bipartisan event as well, by the way). For the record, Pratt has himself frequently accused the left of racism and anti-semitism (“I think that the media was just convinced that this white guy – and then eventually when they realized, darn, that he’s an Hispanic and he’s bilingual, this white Hispanic – in other words, Hispanics are supposed to be brown or even darker but this guy was a white Hispanic – so, underscore the white. The racism of the media is pretty apparent. In fact, when you think about it, the KKK was an action arm of the Democrat Party.” Yeah, from a rational point of view the argument is … problematic.) And if you for any reason doubt that Pratt is a flaming racist, you can check out his chat with Selwyn Duke here, in which they discuss race (including the “surliness” of African-Americans), apartheid (not all that bad, apparently) and similar issues.

In one of his many conversations with fringe talk show host Stan Solomon Pratt agreed that Solomon wasn’t “stretching” when he predicted that Obama’s second term would bring about a race war pitting “Christian, heterosexual white haves” against “black, Muslim and/or atheist … black have-nots.” Indeed, “if you are a white person in this country, and this holds for all quality people of any color, but I’m saying specifically if you are a white, heterosexual, Christian, working, married person” and don’t own a gun, then “there is at least a substantial chance that you and/or some member of your family will be hurt and/or killed.” The “Alinskyites” who control the Obama administration think “this is the time” to “bring violence about, said Pratt, the evidence consisting exclusively of his deranged, paranoid imaginations.

Pratt on conspiracy theories in general
As wingnuts in general Pratt is – as should be abundantly clear by now – no stranger to conspiracy theories. On VCY America’s “Crosstalk”, Pratt claimed that the Left was responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attack because of its “profound dislike of self-defense [...] either personally or as a matter of national self-defense,” subsequently also suggesting that the liberals may want to use the FEMA Corps to persecute political opponents. He also insisted, with fury and anger, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives find “reason[s] to disenfranchise gun owners” (but of course), apparently by helping them identify people who are too severely mentally ill to safely own guns – you just knew that someone like Pratt would be unable to resist the claim that Obamacare will “take your guns”, didn’t you? (In real life, of course, the Affordable Care Act explicitly forbids discrimination against gun owners and any kind of national gun owner registry, and the law preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns was passed by President Bush, but you know; these are facts, and for Pratt facts are only subject to his awareness they serve his agenda.) “We are looking at a major assault on the right to keep and bear arms, it is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, where they used doctors as part of their torture routines and got people sent to the camps for improvement of their mental health,” said Pratt, imagining that the new law would force gun owners to undergo electroshock therapy against their will. In particular, Pratt claimed that the Obama administration is instructing the police to target Republicans, Christians and gun owners, and that Obamacare is an excuse to create concentration camps for these groups.

In a press release the GOA also strongly suggested that the Aurora theater shootings in 2012 were an inside job to bolster Obama’s case for increased gun control. Similarly, according to Pratt liberals were happy about the Boston Marathon bombing because it helped foster government “control.” Said Pratt: “This is mission oriented, they don’t care who the victims are, if anything it might be to their liking because maybe they’re thinking that will make the liberals all the more prone to want more control, which plays right into the hands of terrorists and criminals, but then I repeat myself,” since what liberals really want is to give more power to terrorists and criminals (according to Pratt, Obama is deliberately and “consistently” helping the Al-Qaeda because he hates America). Because that would be bad, and the liberals are evil so they want bad things, remember.

Accordingly, as he told fringe-right radio host Pete Santilli, the Department of Homeland Security is currently buying up ammunition so that President Obama, “if he can’t actually commandeer the military,” would be able to form “a national security force … equally as powerful as the military.” He subsequently offered what he called “the most benign” explanation for the DHS-ammo conspiracy theory, namely that the Obama administration was deliberately “destroying the economy” and preparing to respond to the ensuing “social unrest.” Why, you may ask. But of course: Because “Obama hates this country” and, being a “full-bore Marxist,” even stole the last election, said Pratt. Not only is Obama raising a private black army to massacre white Americans; the Obama administration officials “are terrorists” who see Americans as their enemy, as evinced for instance by the fact that FBI keeps track of white supremacy extremist and militia groups – which is clearly terrorism, right?

Based on an utterly debunked chain e-mail and a tip from an InfoWars host Pratt recently unleashed his rage over the Department of Veterans Affairs arbitrarily disarming veterans and throwing them into psychiatric hospitals, declaring it “a return to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia” and suggesting that Congress defund the VA in retaliation. In short, give Larry Pratt a conspiracy theory that fits his political views, and he will endorse it. No double-check necessary, as Pratt hardly trusts any source but his own paranoid imagination anyways.

Other political views
Larry Pratt’s interpretation of the Bible seems to be his guiding light to politics (in reality, of course, the direction is the opposite – his interpretation of the Bible is a consequence of his kneejerk paranoia, bigotry and wingnuttery). So, for instance, he thinks that welfare is “unbiblical”. According to the Bible, according to Pratt, churches and families are responsible for charity, not the civil authorities; according to the Bible the civil authorities are “really only responsibility is to kill bad guys and scare the rest of them to death.” He doesn’t give you chapter and verse. Besides, welfare recipients will “vote against freedom.”

From that perspective it may be somewhat surprising that Pratt, in 2013, warned (on Alex Jones’s show, no less) that if Republicans force a government shutdown over Obamacare (which they did), the president is so “diabolical” that he would fake an electrical outage to prevent senior citizens from receiving Social Security checks. Never mind that … well, never mind.

In 1990, Pratt wrote a book called Armed People Victorious, which advocated for the establishment of citizens’ militias similar to those used in Guatemala and the Philippines against communist rebels (i.e. the “death squads”). He is currently a big fan of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group of Tenther county sheriffs who have declared that they answer directly to their interpretation of the Constitution rather than to the federal government.

In a more recent interview with Chris Matthews, Pratt said that gun owners should be prepared “to take on our government” because “this government has gone overboard,” adding that it is time to take action “when elections are stolen” and warning Obama that he “should remember King George III’s experience.” Even his frequent requests for Obama’s impeachment tend to turn into calls for armed resistance against what he perceives to be “a dictator” (why? Because Pratt disagrees with Obama’s political views; and if you disagree with Pratt, you are a dictator, Marxist, and rotten to the core.) Here is a lucid example of the rhetoric.

Diagnosis: Here is how it works: I dislike the (nebulous) "Left"; because I have no ability to assess information except according to whether it fits what I already agree with, I therefore come to believe any negative or ominous claim anyone makes about "the Left"; which makes me dislike it even more, and the bias I apply to any information to get even stronger. The result is that my adherence to anti-"Left" conspiracies and bigotry increases exponentially. If unchecked, and depending on the degree of the lack of critical thinking skills, we may in principle reach an anti-"Left" singularity. Larry Pratt may, thus far, be among the ones who have gotten closest to that anti-"Left" singularity, at least among those who maintain a bit of actual influence. 


  1. Just a brief note to tell you how much I appreciate the Encyclopedia and your writing skills. Your site is one of the first I go to every morning and always learn something from it. How about putting the 'best of' out as a book? Thanks!

  2. For someone so ardently against animism, his fanatical worship of the gun would make most gods jealous!

  3. After yesterday, I think I must recommend Col. ret. Harry Riley of "American Spring" fame.