I’m not going to lie: I was following the build-up to the Second Amendment Rally in Richmond, Virginia with a sense of dread as the 20th drew closer.
On the face of things, there was much to be concerned about. The August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville came to mind more than once, and the idea of a contentious subject drawing the emotive and antagonistic elements into the spotlight of media attention proved my worries chillingly correct:
My biggest fear in this whole mess is that some idiot, pissed that these statues and memorials were removed, will do something more violent and reprehensible in the name of this controversy.
At the same time, the direction of the… draconian… legislation proposed by Virginia generated a level of attention and consternation I don’t ever remember being as drastic as anything I have ever seen. Sure, there have been cries of outrage and frustration before, but nothing which directly resulted in several counties of a state to openly declare that they have no intent on compliance with a state capitol. Paired with the preemptive Tweets and statements from Richmond and the media which painted a forecast of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Antifa, State Troopers, and even the possibility of needing the National Guard, Lobby Day loomed as a sort of an epicenter for a nastiness which would more than likely spiral completely out of control.
My own thoughts reflected the mood…
[About the previously mentioned events from November 2019 in upstate New York]
It is difficult to write about stuff like that because I can see it going so badly for so many “good intentions.”
When I first read about it, I instantly was weirded out because the information coming from the actual location had incomplete data… or, at least, it felt like there was a lot missing. As it progressed, I could easily imagine one damn “patriotic” person doing what he felt was his duty doing something extremely stupid based on that partial information that we all had at the moment.
Would things escalate from there? Probably not as bad as any worst-case scenario would play out, but it really wouldn’t be good.
Now, with VA, it is like watching all the indicators for a perfect storm line up in a sequence that builds tension almost incrementally… to what point? And what would this mean for Rob next week or Jesse up in NY… eventually? Or any of us, on a longer timeline?
My prediction is that the Governor will back down; he HAS to – there is WAY too much at stake on the local level and those will have national and international results. If he doesn’t, we will be looking at the exact same scenario I posed to you all out in the gazebo [regarding a discussion thread I started about the Constitution and our roles in accordance with it and our Oath of Enlistment]… and I really don’t want the real-world answer to that hypothetical situation…
Here is my prediction:
The VA government “concedes” by whittling down some of the proposed laws to what they originally wanted with hopes that the process can be repeated until they get everything they want.
Tomorrow is tense, but relatively peaceful. There are some arrests, but those folks are definite troublemakers.
However, the anti-gun efforts over the last few years has been too much and the VCDL refuses to budge and become more insistent because the Governor is “listening.” The stalemate continues, but there is a resurgence of qualified Republican and Independent candidates which will eventually replace much of the state roles. Eventually things calm down because everyone sees where this almost went.
However… That is the BEST case scenario.
Shots are fired by someone… Accusations fly that it was a false flag or plant… Or just some asshole who thinks that by forcing the issue, one side or another wins. The Governor cracks down… The NG and police eventually side against them and he is forced out of office… Setting the example for other states.
WORSE case scenario is that the NG and police side with Richmond… Setting the example for other states.
In this case, I love being wrong.
Lobby Day was far better than I could have imagined.
Estimates suggest about 22,000 people showed up to the rally – about 7,000 tolerated security and searches for weapons to stand on Capitol Square, while 15,000 others remained beyond the perimeter… many with slung weapons.
Only one arrest was made that day – a woman who was warned twice to take off her mask after being warned twice prior… and even then, she was “released on her own recognizance” not too long after.
Even more interesting was the overall unity shown by attendees – no matter what their identity, sexual preference, political affiliation, age, or other distinguishing factors, they were there together to show support for a cause that has been a source of division along those very same lines.
Finally, what has made me snicker proudly is the fact that the post-rally area was left “the cleanest they’ve seen in quite some time.” Contrasted against several stories from friends and family members who have been to other political rallies and their laments of the sheer volume of trash they saw as the event came to a close, the idea that there was a collective conscientiousness involved is very reassuring.
I get it: the topic of firearms ownership will always be polarizing and argued endlessly. I cannot change that, nor would I; healthy debate is more productive than resentful acquiescence on either end of the spectrum.
However, for once, it is reassuring that an event this big and with so many different possible “points of failure” can go off with more people being wrong than right about what might happen.
Sometimes, being wrong is a good thing.