Tens of thousands of gun rights advocates journeyed to Virginia to defend the Second Amendment (2A), yet the mainstream media painted another picture, one that grouped 2A defenders with neo-Nazis.
As Fox News reported, “several news outlets pushed the claim that the rally was made up of ‘white supremacists’ or ‘white nationalists.’ Instead, they got a rally that was so peaceful that the protesters even picked up their own trash when they were done.”
The rally was sparked by Virgina’s Governor Ralph Northam and the state’s majority Democrat legislature, which passed laws instating checks and red-flag restrictions preventing law-abiding citizens from exercising their 2A rights.
Virginia’s 2A rally was preceded by smaller rallies populated around neighboring districts, with some yielding as high as 500 attendees. Across the board, pro-2A Virginians invoked the messaging of the earliest Americans to remind lawmakers of their rights to bear arms — even if some lawmakers felt they were “scary.”
Social media documented the voices of citizens sincerely worried about their Second Amendment rights and journeying to Virginia to defend that right to protect their homes and families.
Meanwhile mainstream media painted another picture, one that grouped the 2A protesters with neo-Nazis.
There was news that armed neo-Nazis were planning to join and disrupt the protest. Yet, they numbered just three and all were swiftly arrested by the FBI, who acknowledged the trio’s connection with a white supremacists group called The Base.
FBI charged the trio with several federal crimes in other states.
Still, the news that this group numbered only three out of the tens off thousands of demonstrstors didn’t stop some media outlets from trying to discredit the entire protest as being flocked to by white nationalists.
It’s 22 degrees in Richmond, VA today, so many protesters are wearing face masks so they don’t freeze. Don’t let the media push the “masked terrorist” angle on you. 22 degrees with a neck warmer is much different than 60 degrees in Portland, Oregon with a black antifa mask.
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 20, 2020
MSNBC reporter Craig Melvin described the group as “thousands” of “white nationalists.” “Militia groups,” he said, were “swarming the state capitol.”
FAKE NEWS -> @MSNBC‘s @CraigMelvin who just claimed that “thousands” of “white nationalists” and “militia groups” are “swarming the state capitol in Richmond” (along with “guns rights activists”) #2A #LobbyDay2020 #VirginiaRally pic.twitter.com/9cgymITqe4
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 20, 2020
NBC News reporter Ben Collins similarly labeled Virginia’s 2A defenders as “white nationalists.”
An NBC reporter just blatantly lied and labelled the Virginia 2A supporters as neo-Nazis pic.twitter.com/oxERP153gp
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 19, 2020
Early rumors suggested Antifa might enter the protest space as well. However, fearing retaliation from armed protesters, the local Antifa group (Antifa Seven Hills) put out a statement:
“[We] never indicated we were attending as a group, nor did we make any call to action for folks to engage in the way that is being purported.”
Apparently, they reasoned that it’s easier to “engage” the crowd and throw concrete milkshakes, beat and pummel people when they aren’t trained and armed.
In the end, the protests were peaceful and were not filled with neo-Nazis.
Yet attempts by the mainstream media to paint entire class of people who are defending the constitution does a great disservice — to the constitution, its defenders and the ability of society to identify and truly weed out its destructive elements.
The debate of 2A isn’t going away. Until then, peace organization is the backbone of a civic society. To echo the voice of Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins, a prominent Virginian voice in defense of 2A, “Violence is not necessary. Your voice is necessary.”
Clarion Project’s National Correspondent and coordinator of Clarion’s Preventing Violent Extremism program Shireen Qudosi underscored the need for people to distinguish their values peacefully so that their value system doesn’t become a vehicle for extremist identities.
“American citizens who value the Second Amendment are peaceful, law-abiding citizens for the most part. They’re also often politically conservatives. Conservatives have a duty to keep underscoring their bedrock values and sifting to remove individuals and narratives that are looking to exploit the situation.
“Conservatives have that responsibility when it comes to weeding out neo-Nazis, just like progressives have that responsibility when it comes to weeding out violent Antifa protesters.
“Each side must do it’s part, and in that we can all work together even when we don’t otherwise agree — but I think we can agree on this: Extremism will have no home here.”