Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 579, July 18, 2010

"I eventually came to the conclusion that the police didn't
actually know anything about the laws they were enforcing."

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The Importance of Image
by Sean Gangol

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

A few months ago I wrote an article titled "A New Hope." A week after the article had been posted on TLE, Paul Bonneau, another contributor to this site, responded negatively to my criticism of the town hall protestors that stood outside carrying firearms out in the open. Apparently Mr. Bonneau took offense to my criticism and accused me of looking down on people who choose to exercise their constitutionally protected rights. He also accused me of being someone who would rather beg for my rights then demand them. I thought it was strange that he accused of me of this since I was praising those who stood up to the government through out my article. I have already written two responses in the Letter to the Editor section, but I felt that it was important to illustrate my points further.

I want to point out that I am a gun owner and a long time supporter of Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. I also share L. Neil Smith's belief that the NRA instead of being the Second Amendment warriors that they claim to be, are actually one of the oldest gun control organizations in America. When it comes to the Second Amendment, I am absolutely uncompromising. I have even been called a gun nut and an extremist because of it.

I am not disputing that the protestors were exercising their constitutionally protected right to bear arms, when they carried their weapons out in the open. They certainly had a right to carry those guns. I was not offended by the sight of those men carrying their guns out in the open. I just didn't think that it was a good idea because I knew that the media would try to use these images to make the town hall protestors and anyone who agreed with their positions look like violent extremists.

Mr. Bonneau's response to this was that we shouldn't be so concerned with the way that we are perceived by the mainstream media. He also said that the carrying of firearms out in the open is the best way to let the government now how angry we are about the policies that they are trying to push on us. To a degree Mr. Bonneau is correct. The bearing of arms is a good way of showing how angry you are. What Bonneau doesn't seem to understand is that it can be used against us if we are not careful. He may not care about image, but I say that image is everything. Image is the very thing that can turn public sentiment against us.

You have to remember that the members of the lamestream media are always looking for ways to paint us in a negative light. They are the ones who are able to pick out the small groups of people carrying racist signs during the Tea Party protests so that they can label the entire movement as racist. Never mind that these groups usually only consist of a tiny minority out of hundreds or even thousands of people who do not carry racist signs. When the media caught sight of the protesters that chose to carry their guns out in the open, they didn't hesitate for a minute to paint the opposition as psychotic extremists. Talking heads on MSNBC tried to use this as another example of hostility towards having a black president, never acknowledging that the protestor who had an AR-15 slung on his back was a black man.

Luckily we didn't receive much fall out from the negative press. At least no more then we usually get. What worries me is that one day the government will take advantage of the negative press and try to use it against us, like California legislators did to a certain group during the last sixties.

As for those who were around during the late sixties or for those who know their history, there was a time when the Civil Rights movement was taking a violent turn. Many African-Americans found themselves taking up arms against their oppressors. One of these groups was the Black Panthers. Now, whether you love or hate this group, you have to admit that they did have a right to take up arms to defend their communities. The state legislator responded by proposing a law that would ban the open carry of firearms in public. The Panthers took upon themselves to protest this law by marching on the state capital with their shotguns and rifles in hand. They even walked into the capital building with their guns in view. This turned out to be one of the greatest mistakes that this group ever made. When they barged in with their guns, the only thing the legislators saw was an armed mob of angry black men, which only encouraged them to pass the law against the carrying of firearms in public. This also ruined it for anyone else who would want to carry their guns in public.

Am I comparing the Black Panthers to the Tea Parties or the town hall protesters? No. Not in a million years. Especially if you consider the fact that the Black Panthers have evolved into black separatist bullies who like to intimidate voters at the polls during Election Day (it's funny how the media forgot about this one). We just have to be careful not to make the same blunders as the Black Panthers. I just believe that we have to be careful of what we do in public, especially when there are cameras present. Like I said before, you have to be careful when choosing your battles.

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