(Photo: Screen Shot/Legal Insurrection)
On Monday, TheBlaze brought you the story of an unnamed veteran who stood up and gave a rousing defense of the First and Second Amendments during a Chicago-area forum on gun control.
"The problem with this country right now is, ‘it’s us and it’s f***ing them,'" he declared soon after watching a slideshow equating gun owners with Nazis. "We need to stop this crap."
And while he was extremely respectful in asking how the professor on the panel would react if his First Amendment rights were in the crosshairs, when the professor reiterated that the Second Amendment should be re-examined for relevancy, the vet retorted: “The threat of tyranny is no less than at the turn of the century in 1900, in 1800, or in 1700.”
Watch the entire video, first posted by Legal Insurrection, below:
The vet sat down to a standing ovation-- but afterwords, the question remained: Who was he? What made him speak out, and what does he think of the state of the country? With help from the Winnetka-Glencoe Patch, TheBlaze was able to track him down and ask in an exclusive interview.
The veteran's name is Kevin Tully, and he left the Air Force a staff sergeant after serving in Desert Storm, 3 tours for Operation Southern Watch, and a tour in Panama.
Tully emphasized throughout the interview that America has become too divided: a nation of Republicans vs. Democrats, pro-life vs. pro choice, us vs. them. On a more basic level, many don't even identify as American-- they're Italian-American, African-American, Asian-American, etc.
"I'm not a liberal, I'm not a conservative, I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Democrat. I'm an American -- I believe in the Constitution, I believe in our country," he said.
But that doesn't mean he's pleased with the actions of those on the left or right.
"I'd had enough," he said simply, describing why he stood up at the conference.
Though the majority of Second Amendment supporters there were "well-mannered," a small group of "ignorant" individuals had grown unruly and actually booed the professor off the floor. While the "hubris" of the various speakers was difficult to stomach (they were apparently talking to the pro-gun group like they were "five-year-olds"), Tully wanted to hear the professor out.
But after Professor Goodman simply repeated that the Second Amendment may no longer be "relevant," Tully reacted:
"Having no concept that-- tyranny doesn't exist, or the threat of tyranny doesn't exist, or the word doesn't even exist-- you're living in a utopian society...He had no grasp of the concept of why the Second Amendment is in the Constitution at all. It's not to go hunting, it's not to own a firearm, it's to give the people the power to keep tyranny at bay.
[Tyranny is] not a wolf that dies. It's a wolf that breeds, and it may not always be in your backyard, but it's always looming on the horizon. It's always looming on the horizon, and that's why the Founding Fathers wrote it the way they did. And the guy had no grasp that without the Second Amendment, they would soon come after his First Amendment rights."
When asked where he sees the latest push for gun control going, Tully freely admits that he's not a "history professor," but he's taken it upon himself to study history.
"Throughout history, any king or emperor that wanted to oppress the people-- with whatever their views were, their new laws or taxes-- the very first thing they did was they went around and rounded up everybody’s weapons," he cautioned. "It didn't matter if it was clubs or all the way up to firearms...That's where it goes."
That doesn't mean that tyranny is knocking on the front door, but that it's a dangerous game to assume it will never re-emerge as a threat.
When asked why he thinks many Americans no longer feel the need to arm themselves against any threat foreign or domestic, Tully speculated that it might be because we haven't faced an existential threat since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"I remember feeling like, wow, we don’t have any enemies now," he recalled. And if you or a loved one hasn't served in combat, your perception of today's threats is likely to be completely sheltered.
Not only that, he added, but think about how much your life revolves around food and television. "Our school systems don't teach history anymore," he noted, and then many people go on to spend spend years if not decades absorbed far more in television and entertainment than reality.
"Bread and circuses," he said, repeating the line of the ancient Roman poet Juvenal in describing how the Roman Empire slowly collapsed.
But Tully continued, that obviously needn't be the case. What surprised him most about the viral video from the gun panel-- which has been watched roughly 60,000 times since being uploaded on Jan. 22-- was how many people lauded him for standing up and speaking out.
"I think for myself-- I look different things up and formulate an opinion after I've gathered some facts, and everybody in this country has the ability to do that," he said. "And those that aren't doing it now-- they're just taking sides of being a liberal or a conservative-- they need to stop that. We're Americans."
He concluded with a declaration as moving as that in Chicago:
"You’re an American, there’s no reason to hold your voice. We need to stand up, be proud to be Americans, be proud of our heritage, be proud of our flag, proud of our Constitution, and proud of the accomplishments of our country and [individuals]. Speak up, because nobody else is going to. If we're a nation with a single voice, the world hears us."