I never liked Dick Armey. In my opinion he has been a loud, crass, political opportunist bereft of any principles or ethics. Politically, he is the proverbial ‘loud fart’ in church — aimed squarely at (ahem) — the public interest.
That being said; this descriptor could define 90% of Washington D.C., K Street, the Capitol and the Oval Office. IMHO (with heavy reliance on the opinion component as appropriate ‘legal’ cover); it is safe to say that most of the big movers and shakers in D.C. carry themselves as aristocrats, and as such view their own actions as ‘above the law.’ Democracy is out and wanna be aristocratic mobsters are in, replete with law degrees from the best Ivy league schools. Yet, Dick Armey took this alleged assumed privilege a step further when he recently entered his place of employment — namely the think-tank FreedomWorks armed with his wife Susan, an aide and a private guard sporting a very loaded gun. Here is the encounter as described by the Washington Post:
Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news. The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone–with a promise of $8 million–and the five outsted employees were back.
Armey had allegedly proceeded to demand the ouster of 5 key FreedomWorks employees, including director Matt Kibbe, accusing them of ‘ethical misconduct.’ Though I am not a defender of any Tea Party group or think-tank, I cannot blame Kibbe et al. for complying with Armey’s orders and saving themselves ‘the price of a bullet.’ Armey then allegedly attempted to make himself the Czar of FreedomWorks, but according to multiple sources abdicated his Tea Party throne for some $8,000,000. After settling for his EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR PAYOFF Armey resigned from FreedomWorks.
Since then, Armey has been quoted on programs like Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! yet no legal action has been taken against him. In fact, the mainstream media has described this eventful day as an ‘attempted political coup,’ rather than the very real attempted assault and possible extortion these actions represented. Today I am focusing on the alleged assault and the political apologists protecting Armey.
Both Armey and the alleged gunman, former Capitol Hill Police officer Beau Singleton, have been busy disclaiming the events of that day as reported in the Washington Post. It is important to note that Singleton is licensed to carry a concealed gun. He is also well known on Capitol Hill having previously served as part of Dick Armey’s congressional security detail. Many insiders (both in Congress and at FreedomWorks) were aware of Singleton’s habit of concealing his holstered gun beneath the back of his suit jacket.
Armey claimed he was ‘unaware’ Singleton was armed and Singleton has since confirmed Armey’s version of events. Singleton explained that he was …”just kind of there.” He added ….”I can’t see why they would act like I was menacing.”
Frankly, Singleton’s inability to see the menace his loaded gun presented seems as believable as George W. Bush claiming to be a Rhodes scholar. Singleton’s loaded ‘bulge’ was most probably NOT ‘shooting blanks.’
Since this drama was reported in the Washington Post, various pundits from all over the political spectrum have weighed in, including Mother Jones columnist David Corn. Appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews this past Wednesday, Corn attempted to clarify the ‘misunderstanding:’
… What happened was, they knew it was going to be a contentious meeting, so [Armey's] wife and his assistant said bring Beau [Singleton] along just in case the FreedomWorks guys go ballistic…He’s done private security at FreedomWorks to begin with. They knew him,” said Corn
Corn continued…”It wasn’t like they didn’t know who he was and, to me, the big mystery is why the Washington Post didn’t just say who this guy was. THEY MADE IT SOUND LIKE A GUY IN A HOODIE was brought in off the street. This indicates how bad the blood is between the two sides.
Aside from the not so thinly veiled racism in Corn’s description of “a guy in a hoodie,” there are questions which have not been addressed which present both a legal and ethical dilemma. Put bluntly, if you or I had stormed into ANY D.C. office with a KNOWN armed guard, demanding employees leave we would have been kissing the pavement and waiting for the paddy wagon. We most probably would have been charged with ‘simple assault,’ and forking up bail money.
Did Armey and Singleton Commit “Intent-to Frighten” Simple Assault?
According to the Koehler Law website ‘simple’ or ‘misdemeanor assault’ in D.C. is defined as:
the THREAT or use of force on another person that causes that person to have reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.
The website further describes the three basic forms of misdemeanor assault. It is the second form, aka the “intent-to-frighten” assault which presents the most pertinent application. The “intent-to-frighten” assault classification is defined as”a threatening act that puts another person in reasonable fear of immediate injury. Seems to me that Kibbe and his colleagues at FreedomWorks had previous knowledge of Singleton’s license to conceal and carry a loaded gun–based on multiple reports stating a long term relationship with the same organization. Kibbe and his cohorts had legitimate reason to fear imminent harm, yet no arrests have been made as of this writing.
The 2-Tiered ‘Justice’ System in D.C.
In a political season where Santa is arrested for the ‘crime’ of ‘chalking’ on a public sidewalk the sentiments ‘peace’ and ‘love,’ (and for possibly being loosely affiliated with Occupy activists) Dick Armey is not only flagrantly allowed to bark orders and threats (armed guard attached by the umbilical) political apologists surge through the MSM all but wetting their panties for the opportunity to defend ‘poor little Dickie.’
While journalists like Chris Hedges find themselves arrested for what amounts to constitutionally protected dissent — freezing on peacable protest lines — Dick Armey and Beau Singleton appear to get away with ‘intent-to-frighten’ simple assault.
There is a serious injustice being ignored here by the MSM (mainstream media) regarding the ‘rule of law.’ When the rich and powerful can avoid arrest and prosecution for an alleged assault; while the rest of us face the spectre of ‘indefinite detention’ for daring to participate in constitutionally protected dissent–we have freefall descended from the ‘rule of law’ to the ‘arbitrary and capricious law of man.’ We now have a ‘justice system’ where police and prosecutors select and pursue ‘political prosecutions.’ You get as much ‘justice’ as you can afford. Dick Armey has apologists making excuses for him, while Occupy activists face federal charges for doing nothing more than exercising their 1st amendment rights.
Either we have what appears to be a 2-tiered (In)justice system in this nation symbolizing the worst hypocrisy these political aristocrats have to offer–or Hell has truly frozen over.