The Origin of the Tea Party Movement


You don’t need to be a political pundit to provide insight into the machinations of politics. I’m reading John Sandford’s mystery novel, Heat Lightning, an enjoyable repast full of murder and mayhem. In it a minor character, Richard Homewood, is expressing his frustration with local politics:

“”I testified for the Minneapolis Planning Board against a ridiculous, absurd proposal for low-income housing — and I’m in favor of low-income housing, don’t misunderstand me, but this was a fraud. A straight-out fraud. . .

“‘People don’t believe me when I tell them what’s going to happen,’ Homewood said. He shrugged. “˜Warren figured that out. If I’m not going to have any effect, why worry about me? People believe what they hope will happen, and that’s what Warren peddles to them — hope that something good will happen. Something good does happen, but only for Warren. And then the taxpayers wind up holding the bag, just like they have with Teasdale Commons.'”


The American people are basically optimistic. Recent polls show that, even in these stressful economic times, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that things will get better. For the most part, we tend to look for and believe the best about people — even politicians.

But there is a limitation to that optimism — that willingness to see the good in people and that limitation comes after being strung along over an extended period of time. And it has been an extended period of time.

First we had the Clintons — shady land dealings and cover-ups, influence pedaling and cover-ups, missing files and cover-ups, sex scandals and cover-ups, presidential pardons and cover-ups. All coupled with political gridlock as a result of the Clinton’s version of the “politics of personal destruction.”

Then we had Pres. Bush and the WMDs that never materialized, the Iraq war that drug on without an exit strategy, the promise of fiscal conservatism backed by a record spending spree and more gridlock as politics became personal instead of principled.

And the congressional leaders were worse than either of the presidents.

Sixteen uninterrupted years of expectations of our leaders that went unmet. Sixteen years of saying one thing and doing another. Sixteen years of self before country, of power before principle, and of special interest before common interest. It is no wonder that Barack Obama so successfully pushed the campaign of “hope and change.” He was appealing to the optimistic nature of America. He was appealing to the hope that something good would happen.

But just like Richard Homewood said, “Something good does happen, but only for Warren. And the taxpayers wind up holding the bag. . .” But in this case the something good happened to Barack Obama and his supporters. He became president and the taxpayers doled out billions in benefits to his principal supporters. Billions for the bankers and Wall Street whose greed and willingness to risk other people’s money brought us to near economic collapse. Billions for the public employee unions who have seen their ranks swell while private sector unemployment climbed above ten percent. Billions for the auto industry to pay for union healthcare and pension plans that management ignored while paying themselves tens of millions of dollars. Billions for every crackpot, far left boondoggle and academic pretense imaginable with no discernible benefit or increased employment. Trillions for a “new” healthcare system that will neither improve the quality of healthcare nor address the root causes of its inflated costs. All resulting in a staggering debt that not only will this generation not be able to pay, but which will serve as a drag on every future generation.

Yes, the American people are optimistic even to the point of perceived naivete. But the American people are neither naïve, nor patient forever.

Thus arises the “Tea Party” movement. It is the accumulation of frustrations built over the past seventeen years — yes, the Clinton years, the Bush years and now the Obama year. It arises because the majority of America knows that nobody is listening to them. It arises because neither political party gave voice to the concerns of the average American, It arises because every special interest group is feeding at the trough of our tax dollars while the worries and concerns of average Americans are either ignored or used as a political punching bags for those who seek advantage and power rather than solutions.

I don’t know whether the “Tea Party” movements will succeed in changing the nature or practice of politics but its anger and frustrations feel right. The excesses of politics need to be restrained and the “Tea Party” movement is as good a place as any to start.

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  • George Martin

    Right on analysis. The liberals are too blind to see the raw anger that is festering out here in the real world. They have over reached for sure.
    I only pray they, and the president, fail.

  • Tom Degan

    So I guess the writing is on the wall; the Democrats are going to get hammered on Election Day, right? I wouldn’t be too sure about that. There are far too many monkey wrenches that are ready to be thrown into this engine. The most amusing thing to observe during the CPAC orgy last Thursday was their subtle attempt to disassociate themselves from the so-called “Tea Party Movement” without flatly rejecting it. What is going on here?

    Here’s what’s going on: The cooler heads within the Republican National Committee know damned well that the Tea Partiers are a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. It’s not merely the fact that most of these people are dumber than doggy dung, it is also the ugly reality that so much (although not all) of that movement is based on the nasty philosophy that has embodied the white supremacist movement for decades. You could hear it in the remarks made by the protesters at the September 12, “March on Washington”. You could see it in the signs they carried. Most of these twits refuse to even acknowledge the fact that the president of the United States is an American citizen!

    Like Neville Chamberlain appeasing der fuhrer at the Munich conference in 1938, the RNC is frantically searching for a “peace in our time” moment. They have quite a dilemma before them to be sure. On the one hand they need to keep these jackasses “inside the tent pissing out” – so to speak. On the other hand they have to avoid alienating the moderates. Like the demented uncle living in the attic, they must do everything humanly possible to make sure that any contact with the neighborhood kids is limited if you know what I mean.

    The Tea Party people are already claiming credit for Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. They are determined to steer the course of the GOP in November, come hell or high water. If they are allowed control of the party, their extremism will only turn off a huge segment of the voting population. If they are denied that opportunity, they will splinter off into third and even fourth party uprisings. Have you ever watched an elephant try to walk a tightrope? It’s more fun than a barrel of donkeys.

    https://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

    • Steve Plunk

      A lot of words but not much substance. This is just another attempt to drive a wedge between traditional Republicans and Tea Party activists. It’s fiction. The goals of both groups are very similar and the opponent for both is liberal ideology.

      The Washington Post ran a story trying to the same thing. It claimed Tea Party people were furious with Scott Brown’s vote on the jobs bill. It used an anonymous internet post and a Facebook page as sources. That’s it. Two shaky sources. They want nothing more than see a fight within the conservative movement but I doubt they get it.

      The Tea Party is not nearly as extreme as portrayed and the traditional Republicans don’t feel as threatened as portrayed. This is a legitimate movement for fiscal conservatism.

      • valley p

        “This is just another attempt to drive a wedge between traditional Republicans and Tea Party activists. The goals of both groups are very similar and the opponent for both is liberal ideology.”

        We agree. The Republican Party has become the tea party. And good luck with that.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Wow, and you and I agree on that as well! Thanks

          Since the start of the tea party, the Republican party has come back from the grave.

          Lets see now:

          BO down in the dumps in the polls since the start of the tea party – check

          Hmm, won two governorships from Democrats – check

          What else?

          I can’t remember

          Oh yea, turned MA into a swing state, and broke the filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

          Whatever the tea parties mojo is, it sure seems to be working!

    • Anonymous

      Well this should tell you something:

      “the fact that most of these people are dumber than doggy dung, it is also the ugly reality that so much (although not all) of that movement is based on the nasty philosophy that has embodied the white supremacist movement for decades.”

      Ahem…

      I have been an active tea partier from the beginning. I record Glenn Beck while I am at work so I can watch him at home. 9/12 movement? Hell yes!

      So, am I an uneducated white supremicist?

      HELL NO!

      What I am is a hispanic man with five degrees, including a doctorate. And all the tea party members I know are highly educated and sophisticated. Not a mouth breather among us. But we know our history, and know our constitution, and love our country – and we want to save it all from the statist thugs running it into the dirt.

      • Anonymous

        HA HA HAAAAAA!!!!

        • Anonymous

          HAAAAAAA HA HA HA!!!

          • Anonymous

            HA HA HEEE HEEE HAAAAAAAWWWW!!!

          • Harry

            Yes, quite funny.

            But the reality is that more and more Hispanics (and other peoples historically lined up along side Democrats) are no longer just going lock-step with the Dems (and unionistas, libs and progressives).

            The libs think that by laughing at them, they will herd these wayward sheep back into the fold. Intelligent people voted for Obama, wanting real change from Bush-Clinton-Bush, and voted for not-Clinton-Bush. And they got Obama, the change that they are having a hard time believing in. Laughing at them will not get them back into the fold.

          • Anonymous

            A truly inspirational response. I could not have argued the case better. I especially appreciate the “HEE HEE” mixed in there. A flawless way to enhance the debate.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >It’s not merely the fact that most of these people are dumber than doggy dung, it is also the ugly reality that so much (although not all) of that movement is based on the nasty philosophy that has embodied the white supremacist movement for decades. You could hear it in the remarks made by the protesters at the September 12, “March on Washington”. You could see it in the signs they carried. Most of these twits refuse to even acknowledge the fact that the president of the United States is an American citizen!

      Hate to tell you this but when you try to connect a bunch of guys dressing up like Paul Revere and complaining about spending with some sort of emboldened white supremacist movement – that you see on the rise when I doubt you could find a man in the street who could name the last time he saw white supremacists in the news – you are the one who comes off as dumber than doggy dung.

      Seriously, if you don’t like a groups position, or think their outfits are kooky, then call it good at that.

      You have evidence the Tea partiers are really stealth Nazi’s? Lets hear it. You have evidence their positions are extreme? Id love to know of them. All I have ever heard is concern about government spending, and frankly I hear it from a pretty non partisan perspective. Bush gets knocked plenty by tea partiers.

      That doesn’t seem to extreme to me, yet you say they are extremists, why?

      Wanting to stop a president and congress from running the country into bankruptcy makes you a white supremacist? How?

      If you don’t like someones position, call it good at that. Rarely does the person who slings the white supremacist label at every opportunity come off sounding anything but kind of nutty.

      • valley p

        “Oh yea, turned MA into a swing state, and broke the filibuster proof majority in the Senate.”

        I think you may want to talk with Scott Brown about that, given his latest vote.

        “I doubt you could find a man in the street who could name the last time he saw white supremacists in the news – you are the one who comes off as dumber than doggy dung.”

        Technically I’m not out on the street, though I am a man and was on the street just a few minutes ago. Bought a paper. The B section of the Oregonian today, above the fold: “Supremacists eye John Day.” That didn’t take long did it?

        I know I know Rupert…the Oregonian is not really news, or my not typing this while actually being on the street probably disqualifies this post. You have your ways of escaping reality.

        “You have evidence their positions are extreme? Id love to know of them. ”

        Well let’s see. One of the keynote speakers at their “convention,” Tom Tancredo, referring to the current White House occupant, suggested bringing back literacy tests for voting (the crowd yucked it up over that one). Another was ranting about homosexuals. Others have proposed abolishing Medicare and Social Security. Of course yet others want government out of their Medicare, so I guess there is some balance.

        “All I have ever heard is concern about government spending”

        Well then you have not been paying attention. Tea Partiers also think the government wants to take their guns away. They seem to want to bomb Iran. They are against spending except for Medicare, Social Security, war, and the military in general, and from the looks of them and where they come from probably agricultural price supports. In other words 3/4 of the federal budget. And your boy Brown just voted to increase stimulus spending. So much for consistency. Right back to regular old Republicans: run against spending and the day after elected spend. Just don’t dare tax to pay for the candy. In fact cut taxes, especially for the rich. Party on. Both Bushes did it. Reagan did it. Its clearly a winning formula.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >I think you may want to talk with Scott Brown about that, given his latest vote.

          Wait a second, if a Republican votes with the Democrats once then that means he is now a Democrat?

          This is pretty boobish, even for you.

          >The B section of the Oregonian today, above the fold: “Supremacists eye John Day.” That didn’t take long did it?

          Exactly my point. You couldn’t name any supremacist activity off the top of your head, had to go to the paper.

          Thanks for that one.

          >One of the keynote speakers at their “convention,” Tom Tancredo, referring to the current

          Sorry Dean, a speaker is not a platform position. Democrats have had endless speakers with extreme positions at their conventions, Jessis Jackson for one. That doesnt make the party an extremist party.

          >Well then you have not been paying attention.

          Well, I have actually been to a few events, doubt you have, but I am sure you will pop off based upon some third hand knowledge.

          >Tea Partiers also think the government wants to take their guns away.

          Dianne Feinstein, main sponsor of the assualt weapons ban said immediatly upon passage if she could have confiscated all guns she would have.

          You should also keep in mind that you come from a fairly paraochial perspective on a lot of issues, this one especially.

          Not everyone lives in Oregon Dean, a whole bunch of people live in California for example, they had guns taken away.

          Some actually live in New York, they had guns taken away

          A substantial number of people have actual experience with guns being taken away statewide, if you were better informed you would know that.

          >They are against spending except for Medicare, Social Security, war, and the military in general, and from the looks of them and where they come from probably agricultural price supports.

          So you can judge what peoples occupation is based on their looks?

          Does this apply to black people? Like should we assume black people, say from the South, based upon their looks and where they are from really like watermelon?

          Good God your are appaling at times.

          >In other words 3/4 of the federal budget.

          You are saying being against spending on what you list constittutes being against 75% of the Federal budget?

          Here is your quote

          “They are against spending except for Medicare, Social Security, war, and the military in general, ”

          SS, Medicare, the Military and war efforts, Farm price supports only constitute 25% of the budget?

          This looks like yet again another example of your inability with numbers.

          >Right back to regular old Republicans: run against spending and the day after elected spend.

          No one will ever argue that that is not the Republicans single biggest problem.

          But lets also remember, you are a partisan, you dont think, you just do what your party says.

          If you did think you would realize, Democrats ran against the excessive spending of Bush. They actually held most of the publics opinion as being more restrained fiscally by the end of Bush.

          We all know what happened next. BO spent like a drunken sailor in a ted kennady mask at a Democrat convention!

          > Just don’t dare tax to pay for the candy.

          Again, you are showing your ignorance here, raising taxes does not always lead to higher revenue. If you could ever learn anything you would know that. Since you can;t you will forever make this same foolish error.

          >Party on. Both Bushes did it. Reagan did it. Its clearly a winning formula.

          Hmm, but curously not a winning formula for BO. He did it as well, massive spending with no means of paying for it, taxes or otherwise.

          He is in the toilet now.

          Hmm, Looks like your boy might not be as smart as Bush, at least he had better ratings, lol

          Cheerio, dawdle on!

  • Steve Plunk

    Much is being made (by the left) of Sen. Brown’s vote on the jobs bill. The bill passed 70 – 28 so other Republicans voted for it as well. Perhaps it has bipartisan support? Brown has stated quite clearly he will not support Obama care and has come out against the latest version. This is no big deal that he voted for a $15 billion jobs plan as opposed to the nearly $800 billion state and local government stimulus plan. There’s no comparison really.

    The left is trying awfully hard to paint Tea Party members as racists. It won’t stick. This is mostly about fiscal restraint and responsibility. Like all groups there will be more extreme members but all in all this movement has legitimate goals and popular support. Those two ingredients are something the President lacks.

    • valley p

      “The bill passed 70 – 28 so other Republicans voted for it as well.This is no big deal that he (Brown) voted for a $15 billion jobs plan as opposed to the nearly $800 billion state and local government stimulus plan.”

      No big deal. 2 unfunded wars were also no big deal. Agricultural supports (see Midwest: Republican Senators) are no big deal. The fact that the bank bailout was created by a Republican president and supported by many Republican senators is no big deal. Medicare Part D, an unfunded multi hundred billion dollar entitlement expansion was voted for by Republicans using reconciliation and probably illegal bribes. No big deal. So clearly another $15 billion in the debt hole is no big deal. i mean $15B is not real money these days.

      The past is the future Steve. Tea Party/Republicans emoting over deficit spending when they are out of power, and rationalizing it when they are in power. How many times can they fool you? Republicans have not balanced a budget in many decades, and they have no intent on ever doing so.

      Spending? That is what this is all about? No. Its about power and whatever lies are necessary to get back into it. Wise up.

      • Steve Plunk

        Pick your topic and stick to it please.

        The left is trying to brand the Tea Party as a hate filled racist group that will disrupt the traditional Republican party. It just ain’t so. The Tea Party is also new enough not to be tainted with the old guard spending problems while they inject new priorities. The difference between then and now are huge. Even with two wars the budget deficits of the past are about a third of what we have and what’s coming. That creates a sense of urgency when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

        BTW, the TARP funds are being paid back so it is proving to be the right move.

        Liberals are losing their common sense these days and jump from argument to argument without finishing any of them. That is a sign they are losing those arguments to logic and reason.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Asking Dean to stay on topic removes one of his favorite devices for not admitting he is wrong dodging the question.

          The fact is Dean just wants to smear the tea party movement as racist and doesn’t know what he is talking about.

          Sure there are racists in the tea party. There are racists everywhere, famously in the Democrati party, with Bob Byrd, and also here. Dean constantly says racist things, just as he did a few posts above. That doesn’t mean this is a racist blog or the Democrat party is racist however.

          Having members who may be racist establishes no more of a white supremacist regime than does a motorcycle club with one guy who can sing establish a rock group.

          Its just basically liberal play book stuff. If you cant argue with the issue, call the person names.

          It’s Deans play number two on this one. Remember, last summer Dean was claiming tea parties were a tempest in a tea pot ( kind of like he did with climategate ). Well, that didn’t work out, so now he is just resorting to saying “racist”.

          Time to move on, not a lot to see here, just Dean using the usual ugly tactics.

          • valley p

            Rupert writes: “Wait a second, if a Republican votes with the Democrats once then that means he is now a Democrat?”

            Who said he was? He is suddenly not so much against spending was my point.

            “Exactly my point. You couldn’t name any supremacist activity off the top of your head”

            Oh…ok. I get it now. I wasn’t supposed to actually look at the current news. I was supposed to remember the past news. How silly of me. I always forget to check the Rupert qualifiers.

            “a speaker is not a platform position. ”

            Right. And a tea party, not being an actual party doesn’t actually have a platform. So I suppose they can be for or against anything. That is very convenient for a while.

            “You are saying being against spending on what you list constittutes (sic) being against 75% of the Federal budget?”

            No Rupert. I’m saying the Tea Party is apparently against spending except for the 75% of the budget they are for. How dense can you possibly be? Please don’t answer that. You can’t even seem to clip in a quote properly when it is right in front of you. The quote is:

            “They are against spending except for Medicare, Social Security, war, and the military in general, and from the looks of them and where they come from probably agricultural price supports. In other words 3/4 of the federal budget.”

            The list was cumulative. I assumed a 3rd grade reading skill would be enough to grasp that, but apparently not. You managed to turn 3/4 into 25%, and attributed that only to one program. I’ll put this in Rupert triangle mental mystery file. That file is thickening a lot lately by the way.

            “No one will ever argue that that is not the Republicans single biggest problem. ”

            Oh really? That is their biggest problem? I think it is their core competency. It worked for Reagan and both Bushes. And they are clearly right back at it again. Other than scaring people about terrorists and minorities, its the only play they have in the playbook. Why would they ever abandon a proven political strategy, even if it does end up bankrupting the nation?

            “Again, you are showing your ignorance here, raising taxes does not always lead to higher revenue.”

            My ignorance? You just spent yesterday saying that the Bush and Clinton economic records were the same and you call me ignorant? OK by me. I can live with that.

            “He (Obama) is in the toilet now.”

            Yes, that is quite possible. But it is likely the toilet off the Oval office, which he can use for nearly 3 more years at minimum. And he now has Scott Brown’s vote so the sky is the limit.

            “mm, Looks like your boy might not be as smart as Bush, at least he had better ratings”

            Yes Rupert. Bush had fantastic ratings for a few months after he allowed the nation to be attacked while he dithered. We rallied around him and he had a short period of uber popularity. Do you think the same would happen if we are attacked under Obama? Are you suggesting he lower the alert level for a while? Play the terrorist card, as Sarah P might have said?

            Steve writes: “Pick your topic and stick to it please.”

            I did. Tea-Republican Party whining about spending is total crap. Show me otherwise.

            “BTW, the TARP funds are being paid back so it is proving to be the right move.”

            Well then I guess the Tea Party is upset over nothing. Shows over. TARP paid back. Economy growing, Unemployment decreasing. Go home and mow your lawns. Sell the Paul Revere costumes on e-bay.

            “Remember, last summer Dean was claiming tea parties were a tempest in a tea pot ”

            Rupert….I think it is now well established that you can’t remember anything accurate to yesterday let alone last summer with respect to anything I wrote or said. Do we have to go over that list again and embarrass you in front of all of your friends? Are you going to make me do that?

          • Steve Plunk

            “Tea-Republican Party whining about spending is total crap. Show me otherwise.”

            Actually it’s you who has made the assertion that needs proving and there is no such thing as a Tea-Republican Party. It’s not that hard to understand.

          • valley p

            Recognizing in advance you will choose to not believe this, a recent CNN poll found that 88% of tea party activists are either registered Republicans or “lean Republican.” 6% lean Democratic and 5% are true independents who do not lean one way or the other.

            https://politics.theatlantic.com/2010/02/independents_arent_independent_part_ii_the_tea_partiers.php

            You are correct, its not that hard to understand. 88% is a pretty high figure.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Ugg, please, think things through before you go there.

            Wanna bet that most KKK memebers were Democrats?

            Seems like most in the Senate are, and we do know about your foibels in that regard.

            Just thinking out loud, lol

          • valley p

            “Wanna bet that most KKK memebers (sic) were Democrats?”

            No Rupert. I don’t want to make bets with you because you create 15 pages of fine print escape clauses and you have trouble with facts, so even if it could be established what party KKK members belonged to, if the facts countered your bet you would simply deny the facts and move on to something else.

            I imagine back in the day, before southern racist Democrats all switched to the Republican party, that most of the KKK were indeed Democrats. I’m not sure what your point is however. Or if you even have one.

            Most in the Senate are what? KKK members? Foibels? You are passing strange.

            “Just thinking out loud”

            Two errors there. You obviously were not thinking and it wasn’t audible, thank goodness.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >It’s not that hard to understand.

            You might be suprised. Everywhere you look liberals are all on about trying to figure out the tea party movement. Its even the cover story on the Eugene Weekly.

            Does it ever occur to them to just go to an event, listen and try and get it? Nope.

            Instead they do nonsense like assume its a white supremacist movement.

            For a bunch of people who love to tell anyone fool enough to listen how smart they are, the left really is a bunch of slug heads on this one.

            Lesson one – Anyone who ever went to a tea party event would know the one party that is slammed more than the Democrats is the Republicans.

            Moral

            Gun control would work if only gun free zones were as assuradly gun free as tea party events were as berefit of liberals who actually went to find out what they were talking about.

          • valley p

            “Does it ever occur to them to just go to an event, listen and try and get it? Nope.”

            Yep. there were 200 reporters at the 600 person Tea Party convention. And since we know all reporters are liberals, that means it occurred to a lot of liberals to go to an event, and since they were all reporters who did write reports. we can assume they were listening. And since they were listening to Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo, we know they probably had schpilkas.

            “Instead they do nonsense like assume its a white supremacist movement. ”

            I don’t know anyone who assumes that. A fair assumption, based on the evidence to date (obnoxious signs, birthers, keynote speakers) is that there are racist elements within the so called movement, and they are tolerated if not applauded.

            “Lesson one – Anyone who ever went to a tea party event would know the one party that is slammed more than the Democrats is the Republicans.”

            Yeah right. They are walking around whipping themselves with thorny branches saying: “We spent too much. Boo hoo. We won’t ever do that again. We promise.”

            Moral: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me 4 times, I am a Tea Party member.

  • skippy

    Sarah Palin called upon the loosely related network of conservative anti-establishment types known as the Tea Party movement to join forces with the Republican Party. Palin, Dick Armey, Judson Phillips, Mark Skoda are the puppet masters when it comes to Freedom Works, Tea Party Express, Surge USA, Tea Party Nation and a string of other conservative groups.

    The obvious needs to be stated, the Tea party crowd has a habit of sticking to their talking points in the face of reality. The Guv of California, a Republican said the Tea Party movement will disappear as fast as it organized. The infighting between tea party groups have left it splintered and incredibly easy to exploit the followers. Keep sending those dollars and they will slurp their beer and wink at how easy it is to dupe the conservative types.

    • surefoot

      The Tea Party is just a lap dog of the GOP and will support the GOP candidates on Election Day. The GOP just has to watch that the dog doesn’t bit a finger. These are people that did not vote before, and the GOP has to keep hanging shine object in front of them so they don’t wander off.

  • Jerry

    These posts from these smart libs tell you one thing and one thing for certain. They are afraid of the tea party movement. Afraid.

    • valley p

      Who in their right minds would not be a bit afraid of angry people with loaded guns?

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