Wingnut Week In Review: From Baltimore To Wedding Bells

Terrance Heath

This week, conservatives were confronted with two of their worst fears: gay people getting married and black people getting angry. Then, as if things weren’t bad enough, the federal government began preparations to invade Texas.


Freddie Gray, 25, was walking through his West Baltimore neighborhood at 8:30am on April 12. Along the way, Gray made eye contact with a police officer. The officer pursued, Gray ran, and two more officers on bicycles joined the pursuit. Gray suffered a broken leg as a result.

Officers handcuffed Gray, put him in leg irons, and placed him in a police van — but didn’t put him in a seatbelt. That’s interesting, because Baltimore police have a long history of “rough rides,” in which a handcuffed detainee is placed in a police van without a seat-belt, as the van is driven recklessly through the city streets. It’s a practice that’s cost the city almost $6 million.

Forty-five minutes later, Gray was taken to an area hospital with two additional injuries: a crushed voice box, and a spine that was 80 percent severed at his neck. Gray lingered in a coma for a week, and then died.

Years of poverty, economic neglect, and brutal policing turned Baltimore into a powder keg. The death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray proved the spark that caused an explosion of pent-up rage and frustration. Protesters cheered, however, when Baltimore’s prosecutor charged the six officers involved in Gray’s death with crimes including murder and manslaughter.

Naturally, wingnuts had their say.

It was even too much for some Fox News talking heads, who turned tables and schooled their colleagues.

But so did several Baltimoreans.

Wedding Bells

The Supreme Court heard arguments in marriage equality cases that could lead to a ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage for the entire country. Wingnuts objected.

Looney-Tunes Lawmakers

In Texas, a military training exercise has triggered so many conspiracy theories that governor Greg Abbot had to step in. The controversy has to do with a two-month long, multi-state training exercise called Jade Helm 15, involving members of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command and other armed forced units.

The exercise, larger in size and scope than other military operations, is intended to help the military “stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas,” and spreads across five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Military officials said the exercise would take place entirely on private property, with the consent of the owners. Operations would include only willing volunteers engaged in role play.

That set off the conservative fringe fretting that the military is planning to invade Texas, and that special operatives were secretly infiltrating their towns, schools, and businesses, in preparation for martial law, rounding up citizens, and confiscating weapons. Even Walmart stores closing to fix plumbing problems were linked to the supposed conspiracy.

The paranoia actually reached such a fever pitch that the governor had to order the Texas State Guard to monitor the Jade Helm 15 exercises. Y’know, to stop the military from imposing martial law.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

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