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2nd Amendment Litmus Test: ‘Peaceful’ Armed March On D.C. Planned For Fourth Of July

May 7, 2013 by  

2nd Amendment Litmus Test: ‘Peaceful’ Armed March On D.C. Planned For Fourth Of July

A libertarian radio show host is organizing a Fourth of July march on Washington, D.C., by inviting participants to open carry their loaded firearms in a nonviolent organized demonstration.

Adam Kokesh, who hosts the YouTube-based “Adam vs. The Man” radio program, is gathering RSVPs for the planned event on Facebook. The invitation extends to all Americans who own firearms as well as those who don’t, but are supportive of rigidly preserving the unambiguous sanctity of the 2nd Amendment. Law enforcement officers are also invited to take part.

The invitation originally characterized the march as an act of “civil disobedience, not a permitted event.” But Kokesh changed that phrasing, saying he had received a large response from would-be participants and is now coordinating with Washington, D.C., law enforcement in an effort to ensure the event remains peaceful and that the demonstrators aren’t harassed.

Open carry is permitted in Virginia, but not in Washington, D.C., which forbids open carry, does not honor any State’s gun permits and requires residents to register each and every firearm they own, without exception.

Kokesh acknowledges a “remote chance” that an armed march met by any form of organized resistance could turn violent. But the strategy for the march involves peacefully going as far along the planned route as possible, and either turning back if instructed to do so by law enforcement or peacefully submitting to arrest, if law enforcement instead attempts to make arrests.

From the original Facebook invitation:

On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the [Arlington] National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

You are welcome to attend unarmed as a supporter, or armed with a recording device.

In order to follow through with the event, Kokesh states at least 1,000 bodies must be physically gathered on July 4 to take part in the march. To assure that threshold has been met, he said, 10,000 people must RSVP their intention of participating by responding to the invitation on Facebook.

It’s hard not to envision that a Fourth of July march on the capital — with guns — would be heavily “promoted” by a shrill mainstream media, creating a powder-keg set of expectations in viewers entertained by the possibility, no matter how real or artificially stoked, that violent confrontation could erupt.

If the march does go forward, it’s also difficult to imagine the organizers and participants won’t, at the very least, face some form of very public arrest. The idea that these demonstrators will simply be asked to turn around, without fear of legal repercussion (or worse), seems least plausible of all. And in the days and weeks following such a protest, what then? How will Congress and the executive branch respond in the wake of a demonstration — even a peaceful and uneventful one — sure to be branded a “threat” to the safety and security of the seat of world power?

A few Internet commenters have speculated Kokesh is a false flag, planted by the left to ramp up the perception that conservative views and their adherents are dangerously absurd. Maybe; maybe not. It seems implausible, in light of his past.

Kokesh supported Ron Paul as a Presidential candidate for 2012 before souring on what he calls “Ron Paul, Inc.” and distancing himself. Paul had supported Kokesh’s 2010 attempt to win election to a New Mexico legislative seat. The “Adam vs. The Man” radio show was aired not only on Albuquerque AM radio, but also by the Russia Today television network — before being canceled following a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging the show had helped stoke Paul’s campaign with foreign funds.

Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran, received dubious national notoriety in 2007, when he was given a “general” discharge from the Marines after a flap over allegations he wore his service attire at a Washington, D.C., anti-war protest in which he took part.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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