December 26, 2012
Dick Armey
Dick Armey (Cliff Owen/AP)

We have endured a couple of weeks of terrifying gun violence. There was The mall shooting in Oregon on Dec. 11. The heartbreaking slaughter of innocents at Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14  And on Christmas Eve, a deranged murderer who served time for killing his grandmother with a hammer intentionally set his house ablaze and shot at responding firefighters (killing two) because
he wanted to “do what I like doing best, killing people.”

So, as you might imagine, a chill went through me when I read the opening vignette in Amy Gardner’s article in The Post this morning about the struggles within the tea party group FreedomWorks.

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.

An aide holstering a handgun at his waist? A junior staffer told Gardner, “This was two weeks after there had been a shooting at the Family Research Council,  so when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ”

There is something wrong when someone gets his or her point across by flashing a gun. Thankfully, that’s all that happened that day at FreedomWorks. That Armey would countenance such gross intimidation of his employees is loathsome. But there is justice of a sort. Armey was marched out of his role in the Washington-based group six days after his appalling stunt. Unfortunately, he was paid $8 million to go away.



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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.