It happens far too often these days – a clan of over-armed, undereducated men and women gather in a rural corner of the West to fight the tyranny of their imaginations.

On Thursday near Priest River, a motley band of tea partiers assembled to protect the second amendment rights of a man, John Arnold, who recently suffered a stroke. According to them, the Veterans Affairs office was going to send an army of jack-booted thugs to remove firearms from Arnold’s house while barbequing the corpse of a bald eagle on the flames of a burning flag.

In reality, the VA regularly prevents vets from owning guns. Why? Because tyranny. That’s why.

Actually, it’s for the safety of the patient and others. When health professionals deem a person incompetent (their word, not mine), they like to limit access to tools that can snuff out human life with the twitch of a finger.

Rep. Matt Shea

But to Republican state representatives Heather Scott of Idaho and Matt Shea of Washington that is no different than being herded into cattle cars and shipped to FEMA camps. In fact, it might be a prelude to it.

The irony here is the entire thing was the result of a paperwork error. That’s right. A VA worker checked the wrong box, which means the whole thing could have been resolved with a phone call. But really, who’s got time for a phone call when you’re declaring war on the federal government?

Scott with Arnold
Rep. Scott with Arnold

The upshot is Mr. Arnold was permitted to own guns, clearing the way for the elderly man to rejoin the armed insurrection against tyranny.

For Reps. Scott and Shea, the notoriety they gained by grandstanding at this insurgency was priceless. Never mind that a responsible politician would tell everybody to calm down while settling the misunderstanding with the grace and gravitas of a statesman or stateswoman. Blow it out your ass! That’s boring and it doesn’t get headlines.

Tea party politicians know this. That’s why they keep popping up in support of armed, illegal dredge miners and armed, illegal grazers.

God forbid, it’s only a matter of time until one of these A.M. talk-radio kooks starts live firing in the name of liberty and freedom. The ensuing tragedy should put an end to this nonsense.

Until then, right wing politicians will obsess over a simple directive – they’ve gotta fight for the right to tea party.