Naomi Wolf writes in her 24 April 2007 article in The Huffington Post “Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society”:
3 Develop a thug caste
When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
The following is part of an article that appeared very recently on CNN Politics.com (from which the photo above was taken and which also contains a video):
Interview with gun-toting protester at Obama rally was staged
updated 7:08 p.m. EDT, Tue August 18, 2009
PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- He was to demonstrating his right to bear arms -- and he wanted you to know it.
A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.
Video of the unidentified man toting an assault rifle outside President Obama's speech to veterans Monday was aired all over the country, causing a buzz about weapons popping up -- legally -- around recent presidential events.
The protester, who refused to give his name, was interviewed by a man carrying a microphone and said, "I am almost always armed."
The interview, done by Libertarian radio talk show host Ernest Hancock, was staged.
"Absolutely," Hancock told CNN's Rick Sanchez Tuesday. "You guys are so easy. What we wanted to do was make sure that people around the country knew that law enforcement in Phoenix, Arizona, protects our rights."
This incident was heavily debated on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, whose guests were Ron Reagan (whose dad was nearly killed by a pistol-packing mental case) and Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation (who defends the right of anyone deciding to carry a weapon in the vicinity of a sitting U.S. president). Watch it here.