"... was that there was no negative reaction from the semicircle of gun-toting and conspiracy-minded supporters who had gathered round to hear it."
It's not that there's an old guy out there somewhere in American saying things like that, it's that people had gathered 'round. He wasn't some old grandad with a family who loves him and lets him talk and lets it go. He was (is?) a folk hero, and anybody who gets into hero-promoting activities has an obligation to exercise vigilance and stand ready to speak up and talk back. But those who are susceptible to the belief that they have found a hero may have linked vices like passivity, an uncritical mind, a tendency to merge with the group, and taste for the ecstasy of proximity to the object of worship.
Hero worshipers of the world, disunite.