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Dept. of Bad Ideas: Radio host planning open carry march in D.C. on July 4th

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Adam Kokesh, sans tinfoil hat

Just in time for the fireworks on Independence Day, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh is planning an open carry gun march on Washington, D.C., in clear violations of the city's gun laws, to protest what he thinks is a government attempt at "tyranny." Kokesh is organizing gun supporters to march around D.C. on July 4th, openly carrying firearms which is in defiance of Washington, D.C.'s gun laws, an act Kokesh refers to as "civil disobedience." Kokesh is no stranger to controversy thanks to his backing of the 9/11 truth movement and for thinking during the 2012 election cycle that assassinating Mitt Romney was viable plan to help Ron Paul's chances.

The Washington D.C. police chief has already responded to Kokesh's planned march.

From Buzzfeed:

Kokesh, who owns "about a dozen" guns, said there will be strict rules for how participants can carry their guns. Those with long guns must keep them slung across their back.

"It'll be an AR-15 across my back, and that's gonna be a strictly enforced protocol in order to be part of what we're doing," Kokesh said.

He said other pro-gun bigwigs might show up as well.

"I did an interview for the Alex Jones show today, and he said that he was hoping to be there but didn't make the commitment," Kokesh said.

Yes, because if there's someone whose support you want to make your cause seem even more rational and sane, it's certainly Alex Jones. And if by "Washington's tyranny" Kokesh means a bipartisan bill that had majority support in Congress, overwhelming public support, would do little to hamper the ability to purchase firearms, and yet still failed, well, okay. Whatever.

Of course, proponents of the march that the Bill of Rights is an old document - ratified 222 years ago - and from time to time, our Constitution needs to be amended because the course of human events necessitates change (see: the 13th and 14th Amendments). The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, well before the invention of semi-automatic weapons, well before these weapons could find their way into the hands of teenagers, and well before the evolution of the mass-shooting. It's unlikely that Thomas Jefferson had a massacre like the Sandy Hook Elementary or Aurora, Colorado shootings in mind when this was being written, yet gun proponents - including the organizers of this march - love to quote him and use his words as support for their cause. The invite for the march includes this quote from Jefferson: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

But what about when the people fear other people? The Second Amendment was written at a time when the United States was newly independent, freeing the yolk of the then-all-powerful British Empire. Now days, the biggest threat to Americans is ourselves; U.S. gun deaths over the last 30 years outpace terror-related deaths by an astronomical margin. The entire point of the Constitutional Amendments is our own government's realizations that things change and our constitution should change along with it, that nothing necessarily needs to be set in stone. If we as a country see fit to tweak the primary document of our government to adapt it to the context of our current state of affairs, why is the Second Amendment exempt from such tweaks?

Perhaps even more ludicrous than calling this march an act of "civil disobedience" is Kokesh's comment to Buzzfeed saying, "I'm going to be a lot safer at this event than I would be on the streets of Chicago." While it's no secret that Chicago does have a horrendous gun problem, this flippant remark not only shows how disconnected Kokesh is from understanding the city's complex gang problem (I doubt he'd be in danger simply walking around Bucktown or Lincoln Square, it shows how clearly he doesn't understand that so much of the city's gun violence is thanks to people like him fighting gun laws. An investigation by the Tribune earlier this year showed how easy it is, thanks to the lack of any background checks, for straw purchasers to buy guns in Indiana and then flood Chicago streets with them. If Kokesh is worried about his safety from gun violence in Chicago, perhaps he should do something about preventing the guns from getting to the city rather than flood the market with more guns.

As I pointed out the other day, the NRA's (and many gun proponents') logic is horribly faulty: to battle the epidemic of guns, make sure more people are armed. It's the only time I've ever heard any suggest that the only solution to stopping something that's harmful to people is by flooding the world with even more of that thing. And Kokesh himself told Buzzfeed that "he can't fully guarantee that no one in the group will do anything dangerous. 'No, but that's never true, and that's one of the realities in our daily lives,' he said. 'We largely do trust the people around us to not kill us. Human life is really fragile.'" And yet Kokesh will march, in essence, in opposition the government's attempts to institute very bland, basic laws that try to give just a shred of added protection to our fragile nature.

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3 Comments

The author of this article cannot even get his historical facts right. Thomas Jefferson was not the author of the Second Amendment and despite the author's lamentations about the invention of semi-automatic firearm, fully automatic firearms were invented centuries before the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791.

I suspect Mr. Kokesh will find himself alone on July 4th but should some miracle happen and his march takes place, I hope he has read the history of the English Peasant's Revolt. It would be a shame to pass up a missed opportunity.

If you march into Washington with a loaded weapon, without a permit, Then you are no longer a "law abiding citizen" and defeating your own talking point.

The police chief is right and wrong. Entering Washington DC with open firearms is illegal. It is also civil disobedience. Look up civil disobedience, please. An action being illegal is a prerequisite for something being civil disobedience. Protesting is not civil disobedience because its not illegal. Protesting in defiance of anti-protesting laws would be civil disobedience.

Civil disobedience is saying to that they do not recognize the right of the government to make those mandates, and standing in direct defiance of them as a means of protest. This case is unique because it is about guns, and defiance of the law requires that the participants be armed. None of this makes it any less "civil disobedience". It's like she's scared to use the words because it somehow justifies it as being right. Civil disobedience is disobedience. By it's very nature, it is wrong.

I hope this goes well. Everyone talks about the risk, but what about the reward? What if he actually does succeed at a successful, peaceful armed protest? It would show that thousands of armed citizens could enter Washington DC without anyone getting shot. It would show the government that power of the people is the only power. He's also mentioned the possibility of demonstrating in Virginia if the police do not allow them to enter. He says he will have shown that "free men are not allowed in Washington DC."

I really, genuinely believe that this is a good message. This is not about guns. This is about reminding those that would usurp power who the power really belongs to.

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