The more I ponder the mass demonstration being promoted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League for the annual Lobby Day at the Richmond Capitol, the more it looks like a disaster in the making. I wish it were otherwise, but I see many times more downside risk than possible upside benefit.
Even if Virginia Senate Bill 16 is passed, banning nearly all semi-automatic firearms, the new law will be challenged in court, and given the potential dire outcomes, the case will rapidly ascend to the SCOTUS. This process will take years, and Governor Ralph Northam and the Democrat majority in the legislature may be voted out in the meantime, and the law overturned. So why, before all that happens, go charging into Richmond in just a few weeks? Will rabidly anti-gun urban Democrats be convinced to change their minds because of a mass rally by their despised deplorable enemies? Not a chance. Instead, it will only harden their resolve. Now let’s look at the downside risks, which I have divided into overlapping scenarios, from best to worst case.
Scenario 1: Best Case
Even if nobody is seriously injured on January 20, some percentage of the Second Amendment crowd (or anti-gun trolls posing as such in order to discredit them) will show up wearing camouflage while waving long guns, Confederate battle flags, and, as in Charlottesville, even some Nazi swastika flags. No matter what the VCDL intends, this fringe element will become the national media image of the entire event. And trust me, these morons and bad actors will show up in Richmond. Believe it or not, there is actually a lunatic element that considers Charlottesville to have been a victory for the far right, “because now everybody knows we’re here to fight!” (The same could be said about Pickett’s Charge and Custer’s Last Stand. “Moral victories.” Yeah, right.)
These attention-seeking media whores and social-collapse “accelerationists” will never miss an opportunity to strut and preen for a national television audience. They will be in Richmond first, up front with their banners, and the mainstream media cameras will give them the national spotlight and face-time that they crave like needle junkies crave dope. Remember Charlottesville, and the many Confederate battle flags, and a few Nazi flags. Remember their torchlight march through the university. The VCDL Lobby Day organizers can decry them and beg them not to come to Richmond, but come they will. The Neo-Nazis and other “accelerationists” are locked in a twisted symbiotic relationship with the leftist media. Like it or not, camo-clad yahoos waving Confederate “stars and bars” and even Nazi flags will become the national image of the Second Amendment (2A) movement. The yellow Gadsden “Don’t Tread On Me” flag will forever be associated with the Confederate and Nazi flags. And this is the best case scenario!
This is the “official” Wikipedia image for the Charlottesville fiasco. Learn, people, learn!
Scenario 2: The Bus Brawl
Buses from afar can only arrive in cities and peacefully discharge their many passengers with the helpful cooperation of local LE. Picture one or more buses full of rural pro-2A supporters, mostly boomers, and many packing their legal CCW pistols, being attacked after law enforcement (LE) officers deliberately direct them down “Antifa Alley.” Watch this Andy Ngo video from Portland to see buses swarmed by Antifas. Folks arriving in dozens of buses will be extremely vulnerable in tight city quarters.
Back to my Richmond Scenario 2: On exiting the bus or buses, a rumble predictably results, with LE suddenly nowhere to be seen. Antifa clubs are answered by Glocks, SIGs and 1911s. Then a LE sniper on a rooftop sees a drawn pistol, and kills the 2A supporter with a rifle shot to the head. In panic and confusion a dozen more pistols are drawn, and all hell breaks loose, leading to…
Scenario 3: Waco Twin Peaks Redux
For the past several months since announcing their proposed gun bans, Governor Northam and prominent Virginia Democrats have been receiving threats of bodily harm, up to and including being hanged from lamp posts as traitors. Be aware that the governor’s mansion—Northam’s house—is also located on Capitol Square. Take it as a settled fact that there will be Virginia State Police (VSP) and federal law enforcement agency (FBI and ATF) snipers on every rooftop parapet surrounding and overlooking the square. Please study the two satellite images of downtown Richmond around Capitol Square to have a better idea of the terrain that pro-2A demonstrators will encounter. Understand that the Richmond and Virginia State Police will have tight control of every downtown block, and they will simply not tolerate a mass demonstration of gun-toting rednecks and yahoos, (as seen from their liberal, anti-gun, urban perspective.)
Law Enforcement will lock down the city and make mass arrests before permitting that to happen. And local LE will control the parking (especially for the many expected buses) and they will control the vehicle and pedestrian routes into and around Capitol Square. Anybody who thinks that they are just going to be able to drive into downtown Richmond, park with no hassles, and then, afoot, swarm and overwhelm the Capitol grounds with angry pro-2A demonstrators is a fool. Law enforcement will be fully expecting trouble on a Charlottesville (or worse) level, and there will be a downtown Richmond LE presence on a presidential visit level.
On the other hand, anti-gun Virginia politicians and LE brass (often aspiring politicos) will not pass up the golden opportunity, delivered like a gift on a silver platter, to trash and ruin the statewide and national image of the Second Amendment movement. If Charlottesville is a guide, 2A supporters and Antifas will deliberately be herded together to instigate telegenic brawls—or worse—in order to discredit the constitutional gun rights movement.
Along with Charlottesville, now I’d like to introduce another example with potential points of comparison to Lobby Day. Please recall the biker club meet-up in Waco Texas at the Twin Peaks restaurant in May of 2015. Even though the bikers were there for peaceful purposes, Waco law enforcement, anticipating the potential for violence, was covering the event with undercover SWAT officers. Who fired first and why is debatable, but nine bikers were killed, at least four of them by police .223 caliber rifle ammunition, and more than twenty were critically wounded. No biker was ever tied to a shooting by forensic evidence, and some believe that most or even all of the casualties were the result of shots fired by LE rifles, with bullets passing through their victims. The high percentage of biker casualties resulting from head shots also cause some to believe those shots were fired by LE rifles equipped with magnified optical sights.
Over 175 bikers were arrested that day, and they all faced identical felony charges: “engaging in organized criminal activity resulting in murder and aggravated assault.” They were all held on million dollar bail, and dozens were jailed for months and financially bankrupted, even though not one conviction was ever obtained, and eventually all charges were dropped. No police were ever charged. Please read a few articles about the Twin Peaks disaster to consider the potential for violent mayhem when LE snipers and undercover officers are set up in place to cover a large outdoor event they feel has the potential for violence.
Then ask yourself if you think LE snipers will be set up around the Richmond Capitol Square when they fully expect thousands of angry “redneck gun nuts” to arrive, possibly armed. Richmond Lobby Day has Twin Peaks potential on steroids. It won’t matter who pulls the first gun, or why, or who fires first. As in Waco, all hell can break loose in seconds, multiple fatalities can result, as well as hundreds being arrested…and the entire bloody fiasco will be blamed on the “dangerous gun nuts” who came to Richmond to make trouble.
Next, read the following for some more context, and an idea about what kind of reception to expect in Richmond:
FBI National Press Office / March 8, 2019
FBI Director Christopher Wray has named David W. Archey as special agent in charge of the Richmond Field Office. Mr. Archey most recently served as a deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters and was assigned as the FBI senior lead at the Special Counsel’s Office. /snip/ Mr. Archey returned to the Baltimore Field Office in 2010 as the supervisory special agent for the counterintelligence squad. In 2012, he received the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence Operations. In April 2013, Mr. Archey led the Baltimore Field Office’s counterintelligence and cyber divisions as assistant special agent in charge. He was promoted to section chief at FBI Headquarters in September 2014, where he oversaw the Global Section in the Counterintelligence Division. Mr. Archey was then named deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate in October 2016.
So the top Fed in Richmond is an anti-Trump FBI counterintelligence expert (like Peter Strzok) who just finished working for Robert Mueller as part of the deep state coup effort. Now, what do you think the chances are that he’s going to be favorably disposed toward thousands of angry “Constitution fanatic gun nuts” heading toward Virginia’s capital, (where he lives and works), to teach the liberal Democrat political ruling class a hard lesson? Look at that downtown Richmond satellite image again, and check out all the government facilities ringing the capitol, including the nearby Federal Building, home of the local FBI and ATF.
General Custer, ahem, sir, that is the Little Big Horn down there, and you are outnumbered and outgunned.
Nah, it’s just another Indian village like all the rest. Charge!
And let’s not forget that James A. Fielding is currently serving a sentence of life plus 419 years for vehicular homicide following what happened in Charlottesville when his car was surrounded by angry Antifas. But I’m sure nothing like that could happen in Richmond, because our cause is just, and our hearts are pure. Really? That’s the VCDL plan?
As the Marines like to say, “Hope is not a plan.”
Scenario 4: The False Flag Operation
My worst fear for Lobby Day is the opportunity for a mass-casualty false flag operation conducted by an Antifa-type individual or group, (with or without any connections to a series of government cutouts.) This FFO could arrive in the form of a single person like the GOP baseball practice attacker James Hodgkinson, or a small group providing transportation and other support to the shooter. (Have you heard of Redneck Revolt, or the John Brown Gun Club?) Firing from behind and above a pro-2A crowd and across the street into an anti-gun crowd is the worst case scenario, and that’s exactly why it would have great appeal to a dedicated Anarcho-Communist. Within the same day, the media would be connecting the massacre to President Trump, and in a week, many Americans would believe that he was indirectly responsible for the carnage.
Anarcho-Communists believe that their noble revolutionary ends justify any means, so killing members of their own side can be justified as necessary “collateral damage” if the result is an effective FFO that will be blamed on their hated “right-wing white nationalist” enemies. This potential outcome will be so tempting that a Richmond Lobby Day FFO cannot be ruled out. The false narrative discrediting the gun rights movement would be carved in stone before any investigation revealed the truth behind a false flag massacre, if ever.
And by no means will potential violence be confined to Capitol Square, which will have an extremely heavy LE presence. With the Capitol grounds under firm LE control, the pedestrian routes to and from downtown Richmond parking areas may also turn into bloody gantlets, as happened in Charlottesville, Phoenix, Berkeley, Portland and elsewhere. (Additionally, open-sided multi-level parking garages are very effective urban sniper hides, and they must be fully occupied by LE to prevent their misuse, as occurred in Dallas in 2016 when a radical black racist sniper murdered five police officers and wounded nine others during a Black Lives Matter march.)
But hey, maybe I’m all wrong, and it will be a Kumbaya love-fest between pro-gun 2A boomers arriving with their CCW pistols, Antifas from Redneck Revolt and The John Brown Gun Club with their shields and clubs (and guns?), actual neo-Nazi “accelerationist” idiots, lefty trolls dressed as Nazis, the Bloomberg “Everytown” gun grabbers, climate change activists, pro-life and pro-choice groups, the Richmond Police, the VSP, the FBI, the ATF, and all the other Lobby Day participants. What could possibly go wrong? (Not to mention that FBI and VSP super-high-res crowd scanning cameras will capture every face and cell phone interaction for social network analysis and future use.)
Please understand that the January 20th Lobby Day is not owned by the VCDL or the pro-Second Amendment right. January 20 is also Martin Luther King Day, so there will not only be Antifas and gun grabbers present, but black civil rights groups mixed into the spicy gumbo. And because it’s a federal holiday, state schools and most government offices will be closed for MLK Day, so there will be plenty of potential third-party opposition on hand.
So, knowing all the above, now ask yourself, do you think that Governor Northam is stupid? Perhaps he is, despite the fact that he made it through medical school and became a pediatric neurologist. He was certainly stupid to choose to place his high school “Coonman” blackface-KKK picture in his medical school yearbook in 1984, at age 25, oblivious to its readily foreseen future negative ramifications. And he was politically very stupid to say aloud on the radio that he supported post-birth “choice” in the matter of keeping unwanted babies alive.
It’s very likely that Virginia’s new gun bans, if passed by the legislature, will be challenged in the courts and overturned, so there is no rush to charge into Richmond with a show of force on January 20, when the potential for a counter-productive backfire is so great. When an enemy is making a mistake, as Northam and the Virginia Democrat gun grabbers currently are, let them make it unimpeded! Don’t steal their fool’s spotlight by making an even bigger mistake that will overshadow theirs. Remember Charlottesville, and learn from what happened at Twin Peaks in Texas.
Even if Northam is indeed personally stupid, I have no doubt that he surrounded by very sharp deep-state operatives who see January 20 as a golden opportunity to permanently discredit the Second Amendment movement. Just as there are “accelerationists” on the conservative gun rights side, there are what I would term “arsonists” on the anti-gun side who will jump at the chance to turn Richmond Lobby Day into Charlottesville times ten, and these sinister actors may already be planning a disastrous outcome for our side. These big government “arsonists” are the yin to the right-wing “accelerationist” yang. Both outlier groups desire to maximize chaos and violence for their own evil purposes.
So, Matt, do you have a better idea?
Okay, we get it. Bracken thinks a mass Second Amendment rally in Richmond on Lobby Day is a bad idea. So what would you do, Matt? Roll over and surrender? Give up your guns without a fight?
Hell no. I’d continue to marshal our forces for maximum effect at local county and city council meetings. The 2A sanctuary county movement has been extremely effective at getting positive attention through this means. We should keep attending every local political meeting in force. Make your local politicos feel the heat. Keep pressing at the county and city level. Experiment with holding “unorganized militia” flash mob events. Be imaginative, and always use friendly local terrain to your advantage.
And I’d arrange other types of demonstrations, also on favorable friendly ground, using social media to distribute a strong message. For example, groups can hold and film what I would call “William Tell” events, where local shooters rendezvous and get on the firing line together for firepower demonstrations. The combined sound and fury of fifty or more semi-auto rifles banging away against steel targets at 100 yards would be very impressive, especially if different counties held similar demonstrations on the same day, all filmed and then combined for upload to the internet. The point is, if we want to demonstrate our strength, do it on friendly ground, using technology and social media to spread the message.
For our side, downtown Richmond is the worst terrain possible for an angry showdown. Does anybody really think that there will be a positive political outcome when thousands of pro-gun folks take dozens of buses and hundreds of cars and trucks into downtown Richmond, to try to change the minds of the very politicians who already hate their deplorable stinking guts? That’s just foolish, in my humble opinion.
Some suggestions for those still planning to attend:
Do not wear camo, or bring long guns, not even in your vehicle. Expect to be pulled over by the VSP at highway off-ramps on the way into downtown Richmond for mandatory “safety checks,” where you will be asked about any firearms in your car or truck. The police will then ask to inspect them, and to see IDs from everybody with you. They will film you, and record all firearm serial numbers and identification information. You will be hassled and harassed if you refuse to cooperate. These “safety check” officers will not be in a good mood to hear lectures on the 4th Amendment. Depending on their orders, and your decisions, you may never even make it to the Capitol Square.
Expect to be directed by LE toward distant or inconvenient parking places. Downtown Richmond will be under heavy police control, and their directions will not be suggestions. Anticipate that the walking route from your parking place to Capitol Square will take you through hostile opponents from Antifa or anti-gun groups. If you encounter Antifas taunting you or making threats of violence, and you wind up pulling out a pistol to protect yourself, expect to be arrested and held with a very high bail. And remember what happened at Twin Peaks: once your pistol is out, LE snipers may have your head in their cross-hairs. Once ignited, this is an escalation dynamic that is very hard to control.
I’m sure that it feels fantastic to be a buffalo in the middle of a stampeding herd of your kin. A thousand tons of muscle, hooves and horns on the move, all thundering along together in a mighty gallop, shaking the very earth! Yes, that must feel very powerful. A thousand times more powerful than a few Indians waving blankets and setting small brush fires that you hardly notice from the middle of your galumphing herd.
Just make sure that you’re not being stampeded toward a cliff, by devious political operatives who are more clever and cold-hearted than you. Remember Charlottesville, and what happened at Twin Peaks. Please think long and hard about stampeding into Richmond for what might turn out to be the mother of all buffalo jumps.
Keep it smart, and keep it local. Be the Indian, not the buffalo.
And please read this next, if you have not already: