Please study the above photograph carefully and keep in mind the thoughts you have about it.
This photo was taken at a rally in Michigan several days ago. I first saw it in a social media post that asked if the viewers found the content disturbing. Several people commented that yes it did; other comments included mentions of domestic terrorism. Not one of the commentators specifically stated what troubled them about the photo. I have spent more than a little time perusing the pic and I have a few thoughts about what upset some folks including me.
First there is one item that, quite honestly, really angers me. The person in the center background is holding a sign that states, “Heil Witmer” and the sign has what appears to be a swastika on it. While I agree that some of the measures Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer has implemented are in many cases quite draconian and without a reasonable explanation for their need, but to compare Witmer to Nazis is despicable and reprehensible. Witmer is not a mass murderer and while she is, in my opinion, heavily infringing on the rights of Michigan citizens, she is not imprisoning people in death camps. Hitler’s Nazis were perhaps the greatest evil the world has ever seen and comparing American politicians to them for political gain is wrong, very, very wrong, and we all must protest this practice whatever our political leanings.
Now let’s look at the others in the photo and try to understand what might be a trigger to upset others. Bear in mind that the people in the photo were simply exercising many of their constitutional rights. Most obviously, they are assembling peaceably, although perhaps boisterously, in an effort to petition the Michigan State government for a redress of their grievances concerning the Covid-19 quarantine. They are no doubt also expressing their concerns with their speech. All these actions are guaranteed by the 1st Amendment and while one might not agree with their protests, I find no reason to be concerned about their actions, nor should anyone else.
So, besides the Nazi reference what else in the photo might be disturbing to someone. Could it be the cigarette the man in photo left has hanging from his mouth? I don’t see any “smoke free zone” signs so I find no reason to be upset with that. Perhaps it is the mask worn by the person in photo right, but that person may just be following CDC guidelines, and it appears that both people are properly social distancing. The two people in question are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights and they are bearing rifles. My guess the rifles are what trouble and disturb some people, the question is “why? Both men are engaging in safe firearm handling, fingers off the trigger, muzzles pointed in a safe direction, and the guns are under their immediate control, no problem there. Well, it must be the evil black guns that so concerns some. Perhaps folks would be more comfortable if the two were carrying bats, or pitchforks, or axes, or a mace. I myself am very comfortable with law-abiding citizens who chose to be armed; one never knows when a crazed zealot might show up hell bent on mayhem and murder.
When I look the two people in the photo foreground I see them exercising their rights, they don’t appear to be threatening anyone, I doubt they went to the rally with any criminal intent, and I could not find any reference indicating such intent, they are following the CDC guidelines, and I am assuming that they are not in a “gun free zone.”
So how did we get to the point where the free exercise of Constitutionally guaranteed rights is to be feared. We got to this point via the constant fear mongering of politicians and a complicit press. All too often law-abiding citizens are demonized simply because they own a gun, especially an evil black one. Falsehoods abound with rigged studies that twist results to support a political end, not inform us. People’s minds become conditioned to react with fear at the simple sight of a gun.
Please understand that I vehemently support firearms ownership and use, and I truly believe that the rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution are truly fundamental to the survival of a free people. While we may have the right to bear arms in public, we also have a responsibility to use sound judgement when exercising that right. It makes no sense to scare people at the grocery or the coffee shop; such actions only harm our arguments for support of the 2nd Amendment. We must be vigilant and we must help others understand that there is nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens bearing arms; in fact, they are to be welcomed.
Be safe and good shooting.