We know 2006 may seem like an eternity ago, but please pay attention. And please do join us on this little stroll down Memory Lane.
In 2006, Darren Mack was undergoing a bitter divorce with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Charla. He was incensed when Washoe County Family Court Judge Chuck Weller ordered Darren to pay Charla $10,000 per month in spousal support in addition to $849 per month in child support. He didn't like Judge Weller's ruling, so Darren Mack responded by "standing his ground". He stabbed Charla to death, then he shot Weller in a sniper style attack.
Even though Darren Mack ultimately plead guilty to the murder of Charla and attempted murder of Judge Weller at a Las Vegas courthouse in 2007, he later recanted his guilty plea. And even though the Nevada Supreme Court ultimately rejected his appeal, Darren Mack is trying again. And wait for this, he believed he was justified in shooting who he saw as a "corrupt judge" and exercising "self defense" against his wife.
Sound familiar yet? During the murder trial, state & national media shined a spotlight on the heinous nature of Mack's crimes. Even today, one can find shows on cable TV detailing every lurid and horrid aspect of the Mack case. Yet now, it doesn't seem that extraordinary. It doesn't seem all that far-fetched. It doesn't seem all that shocking.
Since Darren Mack's name and face were splashed all over the front pages in Las Vegas & Reno, we've seen the rise of the "Stand Your Ground" Doctrine that can at least theoretically be used to justify Darren Mack's crimes. Hey, Wayne Burgarello went ahead and "stood his ground" against someone who didn't even know he was trespassing. And Johnny Lee Wicks "stood his ground" against a US Marshal and a courthouse security officer who had nothing to do with his denied Social Security claim. (And even if they did, was that shooting really justified?)
We've also seen the rise of Cliven Bundy and "TEA" powered "Range War" against state & federal law. Because the Bundy Gang don't like civil society, they think they can unilaterally impose armed madness upon everyone else.
And of course, this has aided the rise of "sovereign citizen" and "Patriot Movement" violence. Up north, Brent Douglas Cole opened fire on law enforcement agents on federal land. Down south, Jerad & Amanda Miller shot dead two Metro Police Officers and a civilian at a Las Vegas strip mall. And in other parts of the nation, "sovereign citizens" have sought armed conflict with the law... Because all of them refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of our nation of laws.
We can't help but wonder if Darren Mack has been noticing recent events. Back in 2006, and even in 2008, his crimes were almost universally condemned. But now, we have an entire "movement" of "patriots" and "sovereign citizens" who champion the kind of crimes Darren Mack committed. And we have the NRA backing them up. And we even have a number of G-O-TEA politicians standing in the way of any effort to rein in the gun violence these extremists regularly partake in.
While Darren Mack's latest appeal doesn't seem likely to succeed, it's frightening to think he even has a tiny opening today. And he has the "sovereign revolutionaries", their cheerleaders at the NRA, and their ideological soulmates to thank for this.