Activist and talk radio host Adam Kokesh in a Facebook post last week called on his listeners to join him on July 4 to march on Washington, D.C., with loaded guns.
More than 1,500 people have responded to say they plan to attend the event.
Here’s what Kokesh wrote in the original post [emphases added]:
On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.
There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting. We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
You are welcome to attend unarmed as a supporter, or armed with a recording device.
We especially invite law enforcement officers to stand with us armed however they feel is appropriate.
He later added this update:
UPDATE 130506 Now that it’s undeniable that this is going to happen, allow me to make clear how. There will be coordination with DC law enforcement prior to the event. I will recommend that they do the best they can to honor their oaths and escort us on our route. Failing to provide that commitment to safety, we will either be informed that we will only be allowed up to a certain point where we would be arrested. If this is the case, we will approach that point as a group and if necessary, I will procede to volunteer myself to determine what their actual course of action with someone crossing the line will be at which point fellow marchers will have the choice of joining me one at a time in a peaceful, orderly manner, or turning back to the National Cemetery.
Sure, responding to alleged government suppression with acts of civil disobedience is usually a noble endeavor, but certain right-of-center commentators say Kokesh’s idea is just plain awful.
“Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine a worse idea, particularly in the midst of a heated debate with gun grabbers in the government,” Jazz Shaw writes for Hot Air.
“If [Kokesh] wanted to promote an act of peacefully breaking the law to make a point, it would certainly be worthy of considering. For example, you could take a large number of people to block the entrance to the main office of the A.T.F and force the police to arrest and remove you,” he added. “But this is something very different.”
Shaw goes on to explain the obvious downsides to protesters with loaded guns charging around a city with strict gun laws:
Showing up with a thousand (or even a few hundred) people openly carrying loaded weapons and marching toward the Capitol is not something that law enforcement is going to play around with, particularly when you announce it in advance.
And they’re not going to allow the march to proceed “peacefully” either. Normally I’d write this off as a bad idea that wouldn’t gain widespread support, but the problem here is that it doesn’t need widespread support. It would really only take a few hundred really upset people to get it rolling. And even if most of them intend it to be peaceful, when the officials show up to arrest them, weapons drawn, you have the potential for disaster…
Also, aside from creating a highly volatile situation with the police, the optics of a hundred or so gun owners breaking guns laws in a major American city will most certainly hurt the pro-Second Amendment camp.
“There could be no better gift to hand to gun rights opponents than to have a bunch of people get arrested for breaking established (if really bad) gun laws or, worse, getting in a shootout with the cops,” Shaw writes. “This is not the type of representation we need in this debate.”
To many, on both the left and the right, the armed protest sounds backwards. Who is Kokesh trying to win over and why would anyone knowingly create and/or participate in a situation where armed conflict with the police is a possibility?
Perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look at the protest’s organizer. Conservative authoress Michelle Malkin reminds us of Kokesh’s questionable background in political activism:
Adam Kokesh…marched in uniform in mock patrols for the anti-war movement, paraded around holding an upside-down American flag (see Jonn Lilyea for more), was arrested for defacing signs, and traveled to Germany to urge soldiers to abandon their posts and seek aid and comfort with his anti-war minions.
Kokesh, believe it or not, is now running as a Republican candidate for Congress in New Mexico. And, believe it or not, he is getting positive exposure on at least one Fox News show. He has the backing of Ron Paul, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and the 9/12 Project.
He is an anti-war smear merchant in GOP clothing. Spread the word.
Oh, and then there’s this tweet from Kokesh: “It’s time to abolish the US federal government.”
And there’s this: “When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery.”
So – is this actually about the right to bear arms or is it about “fighting the man”?
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.