TVOI News Boise, Idaho Amidst the barrage of anti-open carry op-ed pieces as well the poor public image shaped by various media outlets privy to the events of the No Shame 2nd Amendment Rally, we as Idaho’s III% find ourselves in the middle of a lop-sided battle between exercising our constitutional rights and heavy-handed, fear-mongering “journalism”. While there are a good handful of examples, one editorial in particular strikes us as jarring enough to warrant a response. A recent article entitled “Gun March in Poor Taste” by the Times News took a critical look at the reasons for the event, as well as the appropriateness, timing, and outcome of the response from our members at the rally in Ketchum.
With our effort as a non-profit organization and calls to action for constitutional rights activism, we are opening ourselves up up to an elevated level of public scrutiny, especially when it comes to perceptions of threats to public safety. However, this particular article missed the point entirely. Aside from the blatant inflammatory descriptions of the members in attendance, the piece is riddled with contradictions and a disturbing amount of misinformation. Within the first paragraph we see the rally described as “armed people” marching “in a show of force aimed at the Idaho Mountain Express”. To recall, the Idaho Mountain Express released an op-ed piece On June 10th, 2015 proclaiming that public “gun-shaming” could prove more effective that more stringent gun control measures. The rally was organized by Idaho’s III% Vice President Erik Parker and Leadership member Jonathan Casey who was “completely appalled that a “news” source would use it’s 1st amendment right to deny the 2nd, so we would use our 1st amendment right while practicing the 2nd responsibly and without shame”.
The article goes on to point out that exercising open-carry in a protest in front of the Idaho Mountain Express was “provocative and aggressive, and does more harm than good to the gun-rights movement” along with the highly subjective observation that “ it makes you look like a gun-nut”. Let us get one thing straight: The guns-right movement is about exercising your 2nd Amendment right, pure and simple. To do harm to the movement involves inaction, the results of which are not a consequence we wish to invite. The Times News proposes the appropriate response to be in the form of a written rebuttal, not to “pull a gun”. In fact, not only is action warranted, but a rebuttal would not accomplish the primary mission of an Idaho III% member; Educate, Empower, Encourage, and Inform. Using our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights do just that. As a side note, not a single firearm was removed from it’s holster, nor did any of our members ever feel the urge to “pull a gun”, it was a reiteration of rights, not a move of aggression.
While The Times news piece does not buy the “gun-shaming” argument of the Idaho Mountain Express, the author states that the timing of the event was inappropriate and performed in incredibly poor taste due to the recent massacre in South Carolina. This statement pre-supposes that the two events are somehow related. Just as a passenger getting on a train in Germany 70 years ago is also in poor taste. Far fetched at best, and the attempt at linking the two is best left to writers at the National Enquirer.
The rally was in fact not a Pro 2nd Amendment show of force, but rather a defensive response against the notion of public shaming. As far as being an inappropriate response, action was warranted especially when the acts in question are protected by the Constitution. As far as contradictions go, the writer understands that Idahoans are not ashamed of guns, and that we have a right to carry them openly. However further into the article the author cites that “Guns are weapons. They’re designed to kill. They’re intimidating. And there’s no sense displaying them in public, especially if it’s to prove a political point”. First off, Bengal Tigers are also designed to kill and are intimidating, however they are protected vehemently. Second, the political arena is where the fate of gun-ownership ultimately resides. These are the grounds on which weapons should be openly displayed because they are the focal point of the political discourse. The main reason these fear-laden arguments creep into the discussion is mainly due to misinformation, peddled by individuals who have ulterior motives outside the scope of public safety.
It would seem as if we are living in a society where journalism preys on the knee-jerk reactions of the public. The inflammatory and misleading descriptions of events by these types of articles is designed to illicit emotional responses from audiences, producing a version of the “Two-Minutes Hate” described by George Orwell in 1984; Illogical, nonsensical, unintelligible arguments and positioning that are based solely in fear, misunderstanding, and an innate vulnerability of the public to be mislead.
Rather than use our rights to attack the rights of others, Idaho III% will focus on safe practices, courteous communication, intelligent fact-driven debate, and above all the balance of Power. As an organization we will continue to educate, empower, encourage, and inform every member of the public who wishes to exercise their constitutional rights to the fullest.. Idaho III% stands strong in it’s conviction to resist tyranny, from enemies foreign or domestic. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it was the pen that was used to cement our second amendment right into law. We do not debate the Constitution.