Matt Bracken has written a thoughtful, insightful essay about the coming anti-gun-control protests planned for Virginia later this month. Let me say at once that I endorse what he has to say. I think the potential for really serious trouble is very great; and I think the new authorities in that state will exploit such trouble(s) for all they’re worth to further their anti-gun agenda.
Matt writes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):
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 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.)
. . .
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.
. . .
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.
. . .
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.
There’s much more at the link. Highly recommended reading.
To look at this another way, remember the old adage among carpenters, tailors and others who rely on precise fit: “Measure twice, cut once“. That’s even more important when trying to pass (or overturn) legislation. We need to tailor our actions to a precisely calculated end, and make sure that what we’re doing actually contributes to attaining that result.
We should also remember that in almost any situation, the Law of Unintended Consequences all too often wins. That applies particularly when emotions are running high over a particular issue. Too often, emotions trump reason, and knee-jerk reaction trumps logical, planned action. That’s particularly true when two sides meet, and the reality of social friction undermines or overwhelms civilized behavior. As Helmuth von Moltke put it, “No plan survives contact with the enemy”. Knuckle-draggers on both sides of an issue like Second Amendment rights often seem to prefer getting physical, rather than talking or demonstrating. Antifa and other activists will mix it up with “in-your-face” open-carry swaggerers, and the results are probably all too foreseeable. Virginia is a very likely place for such scenarios to happen (again).
I entirely agree that unconstitutional measures need to be resisted with all our strength. I entirely agree that attempts to take away our rights and freedoms, particularly those that pre-date the constitution and are merely recognized by it rather than conferred or authorized by it, must be rejected. However, in the absence of civil war (which God forbid), there are constructive ways and means to achieve that. Let’s use them all – and let’s avoid situations where they’re likely to be overtaken by events, and we know we’ll be left looking like the bad guys. Why play into the enemy’s hands?