In the days leading up to the annual lobby day in Richmond, Va.—where thousands of Virginians traditionally lobby their legislators on numerous issues – an unprecedented number of supporters of the Second Amendment were expected to show up in opposition to the virulently anti-gun legislative agenda of Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Democrats. In response, anti-gun advocates and their supporters in the media tried to paint a picture of an impending violent confrontation.
Of course, defaming law-abiding gun owners is nothing new for those who abhor the Second Amendment.
Any time a violent criminal uses a firearm to commit a heinous act, extremists dedicated to banning firearms attempt to blame anyone who supports our right to keep and bear arms. Every time a state legislature passes legislation to make it easier for American citizens to defend themselves or others—such as by making it easier to carry a firearm for personal protection—those opposed to the idea of personal protection predict future tragedies committed by the law-abiding, or question the rationality of such measures.
The recent heroic actions by Texas permit holder Jack Wilson highlight this sad strategy of the anti-gun community.
When Texas law was changed so that places of worship could have armed security, former Vice President Joe Biden questioned its rationality. After Jack Wilson saved countless lives, it became yet another reminder of Biden’s gift for gaffes to create problems for the 2020 Democrat presidential candidate.
Even after the fact, anti-gun New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg had the audacity to suggest that Wilson should not have been allowed to legally act in the defense of countless congregants facing an imminent lethal threat.
Bloomberg’s campaign mouthpiece, Kevin Sheekey, even tried to walk back Bloomberg questioning Wilson’s action this week, claiming, “Mike Bloomberg supports [Jack Wilson’s] right to own a gun with a background check. We salute him, I salute him.”
Sheekey went on to say, “The question is where he and Mike Bloomberg disagree, which is should anyone who walks out of an insane asylum be able to get a gun? Mike Bloomberg would say ‘no,’I’m not sure what other people would say.”
Of course, this “clarification”has nothing to do with Bloomberg’s assertion that law-abiding citizens cannot be trusted to act responsibly when using a firearm to defend themselves or others. And Sheekey’s use of the term “insane asylum,”which we are pretty sure is not on the list of approved PC terms when discussing mental health, may require additional “clarification.”
So, as deplorable as it is to see the anti-gun crowd’s narrative that law-abiding gun owners represent some sort of threat, we are sadly accustomed to it.
Before the legislative session had even begun, Virginia Democratic members of Congress threatened law-abiding citizens with the Virginia National Guard to confiscate firearms.
The week before gun owners and Second Amendment advocates gathered in Richmond this past Monday to voice their opposition to the Virginia Democrat gun-ban agenda, Governor Northam ramped up the ridiculous rhetoric.
Northam and Bloomberg’sbought-and-paid-for Virginia General Assembly had already rushed through legislation to ban firearms at the Capitol. This was just prior to NRA’s own day for legislative action, where we invited members to join us in speaking out against Northam’s extremist agenda. This event, which even Governor Northam described as a “peaceful event,”saw more than 2,000 NRA members gather in Richmond, without incident (as we would expect).
Even though gun owners regularly gather by the thousands, and sometimes tens-of-thousands, without any problems, Northam decided to ramp up the anti-gun hysteria ahead of Monday’s event by declaring a “State of Emergency,”and expanding the zones where lawfully possessed firearms are prohibited around the Capitol.
And the media fanned the flames of Northam’s attempt to paint law-abiding gun owners as dangerous.
Prior to Monday’s event, fear-mongering headlines were everywhere.
Time.com went with, “Tensions are High, Extremists are Expected to Attend.”
Yahoo! News ran a piece by Bloomberg’s primary anti-gun shill, Shannon Watts, which included in its headline, “Extremists Plan to Rally in Virginia.”
An MSNBC.com headline claimed, “As gun rights rally looms in Virginia, Richmond residents fear another Charlottesville.”
The day of the event, more of the same, and sometimes worse.
Huffington Post proclaimed, “Thousands Of Pro-Gun Activists And Far-Right Extremists Swarm Richmond, Virginia.”
Yahoo! News announced, “Tensions Are High, Some Protesters Are Showing Up Armed.”
Craig Melvin, an MSNBC anchor, received quite a bit of push-back for stating that “thousands” of “white nationalists” attended the rally.
The media, of course, were not alone with hyping the hysteria.
Harvard’s own David Hogg apparently took a break from his studies to tweet (his favorite form of communication) a plethora of insults and incendiary jibes at the men and women who took the time to peacefully express their political views. Hogg made references to “white supremacists”and “nazi’s”(sic), said “you’re a fascist”of many attendees, and said some who showed up that “they actually think there (sic) in Call of Duty.” He even took the time to tweet “Donald Trump is an idiot.”
So, that’s what you apparently get with a Harvard education these days. Maybe next semester he will take a class on civility, or even English.
When the event was over, and no acts of violence had been reported (which was no surprise to anyone actually familiar with law-abiding gun owners), many in the media felt compelled to actually report the rally ended peacefully. That’s not news, unless you spent the days before the event trying to foment fear over the potential for violence. Sadly, it sounds more like disappointment.
But the denigration of what was estimated as 22,000+ gun rights activists simply using their collective political voice to oppose attacks on our cherished freedoms didn’t end with the close of this Lobby Day.
Before, during, and after the rally, countless media hacks tried to portray the event as less an expression of support for the Second Amendment, and more a gathering of white men who, as Hogg put it, are “white supremacists,”“nazi’s,”and “fascists.”
In fact, the rally was incredibly diverse, with men and women from across the racial spectrum. It was far more inclusive than, say, the stage at the last Democrat Presidential debate.
One of the more egregious diatribes post-rally came in the form of a GQ column penned by Talia Lavin. While most in the media reported on how peaceful the event was (again, not news, but expected behavior from law-abiding gun owners), Lavin’s fevered, anti-gun imagination projected an image of a rally with “the promise that bloodshed might happen at any time….”
But was she even there? Unlikely.
Her column appears to be cobbled together from various other news articles, and second-hand reports from “[r]eporter friends who planned to attend,” and a “leftist activist”who claimed she was there.
The idea that someone who likely wasn’t even at the event could offer insight as to the mood of the event isn’t Lavin’s only problem. The “research”she did for her GQ piece was filled with errors.
She claimed “some 22,000 people from all over the country had turned up to protest the gun control laws recently passed by the Virginia State Senate.” In fact, the rally had been planned for some time, as a protest for all of the anti-gun legislation Governor Northam and his ilk had been threatening to pass since last year.
Lavin also claimed that “NRA handed out 1,000 free 30-round magazines to gun owners before the rally.”If by “before the rally”she meant a week before, during our own, separate day for legislative action, then that would be accurate. But that doesn’t fit into the image of a scene she described as “a spectacular arsenal of weaponry.”A description she crafted based, presumably, on photos and video of the event. So we’ll just make an educated guess that her sloppy work resulted in her conflating two different events, either intentionally or not, to feed her negative narrative.
Again, rather than doing actual research, Lavin relied on a news article or two to also claim, “The effects on locals amounted to a sweeping petrification. Due to Monday’s event, Richmond natives closed their businesses downtown—from a 7-11 near the Capitol to a barbershop….”Rather than the image of a shuttered downtown Lavin tried to create, many, if not most, businesses remained open, and flourished with the concentrated influx of customers.
She also brought up the notion that some groups chose to cancel their own Lobby Day events. Some may have simply not wanted to deal with competing for space with 22,000+ other citizens who were making their political voices heard. Sadly, some may have been scared away by Governor Northam and media hacks like Lavin projecting a sense of impending doom.
Lavin quoted from a press release by one group that claimed it canceled because of its fear over “heavily armed white supremacists…seeking to incite violence.” But that came from the rabidly anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (formerly the National Coalition to Ban Handguns). It seems far more likely the group saw an opportunity to take advantage of the hysteria created by Northam and the media, get a little attention, and avoid showing up with a handful of activists that would just get dejected and go home early.
Now, the name Talia Lavin may sound familiar to some. In 2018 she resigned from her position as “fact-checker”for the New Yorker after she posted a picture of an ICE agent, and implied he had a Nazi tattoo. He did not.
So, apparently attention to detail has long been a failure for Talia. Coincidentally, like Hogg, she is also a product of Harvard.
So, before, during, and after a rally in Richmond that saw 22,000+ Second Amendment advocates come together to voice their opposition to legislation designed to infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, anti-gun extremists, politicians, and their enablers in the media did everything they could to malign the attendees. They projected an image of impending violence at the thought of so many gun owners in one place, then seemed to imply it was “news”that the rally was peaceful.
Again, gun owners gathering together peacefully is not “news;” that’s the norm.
Then again, anti-gun extremists, politicians, and their enablers in the media working together to malign law-abiding gun owners, sadly, isn’t really “news”either. It’s just another day that ends with “y.”