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Nice Try, Right-Wingers, But There's No Way to Spin Vegas Shooters as Lefty Radicals

Smoking pot did not make Jerad Miller a liberal. Nor did it make him violent.

Jerad Miller
Photo Credit: via youtube


If there’s one thing you’d think we could all agree on, it’d be that a crazed gun nut who moved to Nevada to join the stand-off at Bundy ranch and wrote screeds on the internet blaming the government for every problem in his life could be identified as a man of the right. But  according to Cliff Kincaid of the right-wing dinosaur media watchdog, the ironically named Accuracy in Media, the Las Vegas shooters, Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda were somehow left-wing radicals who shot police officers as some sort of a protest against marijuana prohibition.

Kincaid’s piece is in response to  an article by Jon Avlon in the Daily Beast in which Avlon lays out all the ways in which the Millers were influenced by far right militia and white supremacy rhetoric. The list is substantial. But Kincaid notices something amiss. You see, Avlon fails to note that Miller was a pot smoker who was also angry at the government for jailing him on drug charges. And that’s true, at least in part. Miller’s hatred for government was informed by his brush with the law on drug charges. But Kincaid then fails to note that  what seemed to really bother him about that was the fact that his felony conviction made it impossible for him to legally own guns.

But let’s examine  the rhetoric he used to convey his “philosophy” (if you could call it that):

I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something, I will be doing something.

If Bundy and his pals in the militia were out there in the Nevada desert fighting off the BLM over marijuana, it’s quite a scoop. Those are all the usual right wing talking points about the stand-off. In the LA Times,  Amanda Miller’s father characterized Miller by saying “he was was into all this Patriot Nation and conspiracy theory stuff” which is not normally how one would describe marijuana legalization activism.

Kincaid hones in on Miller’s affinity for Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist, who also, as it happens, rails against the drug war. In Kincaid’s mind that closes the case, however he seems not to know that Alex Jones calls himself a libertarian and a conservative whose anti-government beliefs are so extreme that he believes both 9/11 and Oklahoma City are government conspiracies as was the Newtown massacre. His most famous public appearance was on CNN  in defense of gun rights:

“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!”

So yes, it’s possible that the combination of far right rhetoric along with a libertarian desire to end the drug war attracted Miller to Jones, but it’s pretty clear that it was the guns that bound them to each other most strongly.

Kincaid proves, if nothing else has, that he is seriously out of touch with his own movement:

The paper said that Garry Frick, the owner of a bookstore, got caught in a short but dramatic debate with Jerad Miller, in which the pothead “covered everything from Bundy to the Declaration of Independence to the morality of pornography, guns and drugs in a span of less than 15 minutes. He kept misquoting things and incorrectly using words, Frick said, all the while sounding very sure of himself.”