How a Democratic Governor and the Mainstream Media Tried to Delegitimize a Civil Rights Rally Before It Even Started

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has tried to slander gun rights advocates from the beginning. (Photo: Gov. Northam Facebook)

By now you’ve heard that Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has declared a “state of emergency” and banned the possession of firearms in downtown Richmond where a massive gun rights rally is set to take place on January 20th.

Northam has been threatening the move for days, and it culminates what has been the worst slander against lawful gun owners in recent memory. Gov. Northam and his allies in the media have conflated white supremacists with legitimate peaceful protesters, and Northam’s executive order confirms that slander in the minds of the public: gun owners are dangerous, and their presence in the capital necessitates a state of emergency.

Northam probably knows more about white supremacy than I do, given his history, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

The Governor

Virginia’s intelligence officials may have picked up evidence that extremists are planning violence on January 20th, but you wouldn’t know it from Northam’s order.

He beings by alluding to the far-right white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville in August of 2017. This has become a theme in the media coverage of this event and in the governor’s statements. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d think the upcoming rally was about guns and white supremacism.

In the next paragraph, he gives Virginians his justification for declaring a state of emergency. He says, “Credible intelligence gathered by Virginia’s law enforcement agencies indicates that tens of thousands of advocates plan to converge on Capitol Square for events culminating on January 20, 2020.”

No offense to Virginia’s law enforcement agencies, but a groundhog with an internet connection could have figured that one out. You don’t need “credible evidence” to determine that a massive rally is about to take place in Richmond.

Northam continues: “Available information suggests that a substantial number of these demonstrators are expected to come from outside the Commonwealth, may be armed, and have as their purpose not peaceful assembly but violence, rioting, and insurrection.”

Notice he switches from “credible intelligence” to “available information” when describing the threat from out-of-state “demonstrators.” Also, notice the vagueness of the term “substantial number.” How many is that? 10? 100? 10,000? Is the Galactic Empire descending on Richmond, Gov. Northam?

SEE ALSO: Virginia Gun Owners Prepare for Heated Legislative Session

The Virginia Citizens Defense League is confused as well. The gun-rights group responsible for organizing the rally noted in an email to supporters that “neither the Governor nor any of his law enforcement has informed VCDL of any of these alleged threats.” Whatever threats the governor’s team has discovered, they haven’t bothered to tell the organization in the best position to keep the rally peaceful.

I’m old enough to remember when Democrats complained for two solid weeks about how President Trump’s drone strike on Qasem Soleimani was ill-advised because the White House couldn’t publicly name a specific, “imminent” attack. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the standard of evidence required for vaporizing a terrorist should be lower than the evidence required from delegitimizing a civil rights protest. The same Democrats who cried for proof of specific threats to kill a bona fide terrorist are happy to intimidate gun owners on what appears to be far less evidence.

Anyway, that’s it. Those two sentences are Northam’s justification for his executive order.

It’s entirely possible that Virginia’s finest have, in fact, discovered a plot to sow violence and “insurrection” on Monday. But does anyone think those individuals will pack up their swastikas and their Lugers and go home just because Northam banned lawful gun owners from carrying firearms? This is a microcosm of the entire gun rights debate over the last 50 years, and Northam’s massive gun-free zone could very well endanger those who seek to demonstrate peacefully. Honestly, you could cut this irony with a knife.  

Northam, in short, has made it clear that the right to peaceful protest is sacred to every group except Second Amendment supporters. Women’s rights leaders associated with open anti-Semites were allowed to descend on the nation’s capital during the Women’s March without so much as a peep from mainstream politicians or state governors. But when gun owners rise up peacefully to make their displeasure heard, their efforts are cast as racist and violent.

The Media

The governor’s campaign against what promises to be the largest pro-gun gathering in Virginia’s history began last week, when several mainstream media outlets ran reports claiming to have uncovered a Charlottesville-like plot in the making. But while their headlines were inflammatory, their evidence was what kids these days call “weak sauce.”

One article, for example, cited by Moms Demand Action, declares “Virginia Democrats won an election. Gun owners are talking civil war.” The author begins by comparing the gun rights rally to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and includes a section titled, “White supremacists are recruiting.” Here’s how that section begins (notice all the rabid white supremacists she mentions):

Virginia’s gun rights battle is already being covered widely in conservative media outlets. Donald Trump and the rightwing Arizona congressman Paul Gosar shared articles about it on Twitter. The Fox News host Tucker Carlson talked to a guest on his show about fears that local law enforcement in Virginia would be sent in to confiscate citizens’ guns. Carlson blamed the left for “trying to pick a fight, like a real fight, with rural Virginia.”

The author’s so-called evidence for sounding the alarm about white supremacist recruitment comes entirely from third party experts who claim to have been monitoring “conversations” online. But she never actually quotes any of these white supremacists or links to their inflammatory comments.

SEE ALSO: National Guard Responds to Prospect of Enforcing Gun Control in Virginia

She also mentions a militia group known as Oath Keepers. Much of the media fervor surrounding the upcoming rally stems from statements made by Oath Keepers leadership about visiting the rally. But even the Southern Poverty Law Center doesn’t go so far as to call them a white supremacist group, and white supremacists themselves have criticized Oath Keepers because they aren’t racist. In addition, the Oath Keepers organization has never, to my knowledge, been blamed for any acts of violence.

Neither the media nor Gov. Northam has been able to name any actual white supremacist threats to the January 20th rally or prove that Nazis, et al, are planning to descend on Richmond in large numbers.

This raises the question, Why the state of emergency?

Virginians

I spent my formative years in Virginia, and I’ve proudly watched how gun owners have responded to the constitutional threats coming from the Democratic legislature. This campaign to paint the gun rights rally as another Charlottesville slanders all those hard-working, law-abiding gun owners who want to protect their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Friends of mine in Virginia have defended the governor and argued that threats of violence should never be taken lightly when thousands of people are crammed into a few square blocks. I get that, and I’ve advocated against openly carried firearms at large public rallies. If someone does start shooting, it’s almost impossible for law enforcement to tell the good guys from the bad.  

It’s also worth noting that the rally is still taking place. The governor hasn’t gone so far as to ban peaceful protest, and his rhetoric doesn’t appear to have discouraged attendees.

But Gov. Northam and the media have engaged in a blatant campaign to delegitimize Monday’s rally. Rather than focus on the massive grassroots uprising against restrictive gun bans, the media has obsessed about “another Charlottesville” and “out of state militia groups.” Their coverage and the governor’s overblown “state of emergency” allow the rally to be dismissed as nothing more than the unhinged complaints of white supremacists and crazies.

It’s insulting, it’s slanderous, and it needs to be proven wrong. I hope the rally goes off without a hitch, tens of thousands of people attend, and the country sees what can happen when elitist politicians threaten the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

If you’re planning to visit Richmond on Monday, check out the email below from the VCDL, especially this portion:

IF YOU SEE A BAD ACTOR flag down a police officer and point it out.  If someone tries to provoke you, smile and walk away.  There is probably someone secretly recording the interaction, with the intent of capturing some kind of inappropriate reaction on your part.  Don’t take the bait. It’s not worth the bad press.  Again, you might want to notify law enforcement of such bad actors.

The eyes of the nation and the world are on Virginia and VCDL right now and we must show them that gun owners are not the problem.”

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!*** 

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Joshua Bressel January 19, 2020, 10:33 am

    I am a proud Virginian, not by birth, but by choice! I am an 11-year U.S. Army combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and former Army Ranger. My wife and her family have lived in Virginia all their lives. I care very deeply for this state. I will be in Richmond Monday, wearing LVL III body armor underneath my jacket, and will be filming as much as possible. I have a brand-new, 64MB SD card, ready to go! I will be there at first light, and will not leave until it is over. We will stand up to Governor Blackface, and show him that he cannot take away our freedom! My only regret, is that we could not get this kind of turnout in November, for the Election, or we wouldn’t be in this situation!!!! Exercise your sovereign franchise, it is the greatest power you wield! The Democrats talk about kids being too irresponsible, and want to raise the age on firearms to 21, have raised the age on tobacco to 21, but want to LOWER the voting age to 16. They want to allow children to vote, because they know how easily swayed they are, with liberal promises. That is the real danger. This demonstration is a good thing(though I don’t trust the presence of Antifa on “our side”), but the MOST IMPORTANT THING is for all of you, out there, to go to the polls, in November, and VOTE!!!! Do your research. Pick the best option you can. Do all your candidates suck? Pick the one who sucks LEAST, or you’ll be stuck with the one who sucks MOST! Don’t like Trump? That’s ok, but consider the alternative being Elizabeth Warren or Michael Bloomberg!!!!! In November 2020, stage your own demonstration, by casting your vote, the stakes could not possibly be higher!!!!!!!

  • Michelle January 18, 2020, 12:44 pm

    We must pray for Governor Northam. Colossians 3:25
    “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

  • Moneyrunner January 18, 2020, 8:12 am

    This is a great time to find out what we can do to recall the legislators who support this attack on our constitutional rights.

  • Francis W. Porretto January 18, 2020, 3:24 am

    The critical factor in this showdown is that Northam owes his office to Michael Bloomberg, the most anti-gun public figure in America. Bloomberg won’t allow Northam to back down. He’s spent too much money contriving this suppression of civilian gun ownership. If he can’t prevail in Virginia, with the votes of all those urban-dwelling government workers to buoy up his campaign, he can’t win anywhere.

  • Robert Gault January 17, 2020, 7:48 pm

    The bottom line is we now have power hungry Republicans behaving just like Democrats in selling America down the river, into a disarmed Socialist/Godless government.

    Socialism 101 – Step one, Disarm the population.

    And never forget, Socialism is one degree removed from Communism. Very little difference.

  • steve January 17, 2020, 7:12 pm

    Excellent article. Virginians and all of us…shame those leftists by your behavior which is of the highest morals and above legitimate reproach. Let’s make our founders proud!

    ps that “I’m old enough to remember…” reference almost made me choke on my dinner—that was hilarious!!

  • Bones January 17, 2020, 7:07 pm

    …just carry EVERYWHERE… period…. as long as there are no metal detectors….. whats the fuckin worry? Who cares about man made laws?!? Just do what you need to survive as a being on this planet..

  • Danny January 17, 2020, 4:56 pm

    Hell, In Portland(we changed the name to Piss and Feces town) any time the Patriot Prayer group
    wants to march for 1st Amendment rights the mayor has a press conference the day before the
    march barking about “Hate”groups and having a bunch of minority speakers barking about hate.
    Of course Antifa is allowed to bring weapons and buckets of shit and piss to the rally while the cops
    sit around getting OT for doing absolutely nothing except being rude and asking people who get injured
    if they need to call the emt’s. This one guy who was just helping someone who was injured got the shit
    kicked out of him with some brass knuckles so bad his skull was busted wide open and you could even see his brain because the skull was literally split open. If you look conservative downtown theirs a good chance
    at the minimum of getting surrounded and screamed at or what usually happens is 4 or 5 Antifa pussies(they never fight one on one) attack you and beat the hell out of you. I could go on with all the fucked up shit that goes on hear but you get the drift. Don’t visit here..people who do say they will never return because of how dangerous this town is plus the homeless are literally everywhere..it’s a disgusting shit hole here. To my fellow patriots, please support our President..if he gets reelected Portland will burn..hopefully to the ground!.

  • Nicholas January 17, 2020, 2:56 pm

    This is a Constitutional Federal Republic, it is not a democracy. The Supreme Law of the Land begins with “We the People” that describes the unique form under which this nation was supposed to operate. That form was first described in our Declaration of Independence. This is a nation of popular sovereignty, and for the life of me I can’t comprehend why this is not understood by those calling themselves pro-2nd.
    The Constitution is a uniform document to be read in its entirety, but not picking and choosing what you care to expound such as only the last 14 words of the 2nd to the exclusion of the first 13, and the 3 provisions in the Constitution that explain the reason for the 2nd.
    In its entirety, the Constitution states that “the Militia of the several States”, “organiz[ed], arm[ed], and disciplin[ed]” is recognized as the only authority “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions”. To that end “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” so that “We the People” maintain Militia in order to protect our rights, protect our Laws, protect our nation, and suppress attempts at tyranny.
    For decades, supposed pro-2nd groups have been making bad case law, ignoring the complete context of the Constitution, and doing everything possible to make sure that we lose our rights in the same fashion as the frog in the boiling water.
    MILITIA as the Framers of the Constitution, and the Founders understood and practiced is a body of the People, in which all able-bodied men are REQUIRED to be enlisted, and perform with arms supplied by themselves. Simply applying the laws as they are written would not only stop gun-control, but force a repeal of all gun control.

  • David Kent January 17, 2020, 2:07 pm

    I personally know 3 of the 4 Virginia Beach officers who stopped the gunman in Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on May 31, 2019. I’ve worked with 2 of them in the past. They responded EXACTLY per the training they received, moving swiftly and efficiently toward the gunfire. Two of them were DETECTIVES, wearing suits and ties, who grabbed their bulletproof vests, ran from their office only 100 yards away,and DID NOT HESITATE to enter the fray. As a retired Virginia Beach Police Officer, I could not be prouder to have once been a part of their team. But still…12 people died, because nobody in the building at the time had the means to defend themselves, even though the best trained and most heroic officers on the East Coast were within rock throwing distance when it started. Contrast that to recent shooting church shooting in White Settlement Texas. There were 2 casualties. But the bad guy was stopped in SIX SECONDS; several MINUTES before the police arrived. The truth is, NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TRAIN, NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE WANT TO PROTECT YOU…We will NEVER be able to protect you as well as you can, so long as you’re willing to prepare and equip yourself to do so. Every cop knows this. The ones that truly care about you easily and readily admit it. And they (and I) completely support your right to defend yourself. And a bunch of us will be standing with you in Richmond on January 20.

    • Higgs Boson January 17, 2020, 5:08 pm

      Well said. A majority of all retired law enforcement officers from the 38,000 agencies in the US will be standing with you in spirit.
      The “seconds” vs. minutes in response nails the point home. We all know what a great job Hitler did protecting his citizens after taking their guns, Stalin, Mao and the like. History spells it out plainly. A pity demoncrats can’t read…

    • Geoff January 17, 2020, 11:36 pm

      I see a lot of anti-MIL/LE rhetoric these days. And I just wanted to say you are the type of officer I’ve always known my dad to be. Clearly wishing to help, but also understanding people are their own first responders. Good man. We appreciate the support. And I offer mine in return.

  • Mike Reed January 17, 2020, 1:59 pm

    Is there any truth to rumors that rural counties are exploring seceding from Virginia with an intent to join the states of West Virginia or North Carolina? The federal government allowed that realignment in 1863, would that happen again?

    • Jordan Michaels January 17, 2020, 8:58 pm

      There are rumors, but I don’t think anything will come of it. Pretty sure there are some federal laws against state realignment: https://apnews.com/39160d0761229a169b7fbf5f522ea70f

      • Mark Kaulius January 18, 2020, 6:12 am

        What law should trump the right of people to choose who they associate with freely and legally. Counties, states, annex places all the time for political gains. Time to see it go the other way. Would be nice if VA were reduced to a few counties outside DC. Hell, put them back in DC then Build A Wall around it.

  • Boss January 17, 2020, 12:50 pm

    Sic semper tyrannis, or in English, Thus always to tyrants.

    Remove these Tyrants! Let us hope Virginia never has to change their flag!

  • Jay January 17, 2020, 12:37 pm

    Someone once said, Those that want to prevent the citizens from owning guns are scared to death they will use them against them because of what they want to do to the citizens!

  • Robert Brooks January 17, 2020, 12:22 pm

    That’s what the 2nd amendment is for. These people we entrust with the administration of or will must be kept in check. It’s human nature to abuse power. It’s a rare man to not succumb to it’s incorruptible influence. Looks like the framers of the constitution knew this and often reminded of of it.
    WE are the constitution. Not DC. Not Harrisburg. Not Richmond. Those persons are put in these positions to carry out our will and nothing else. They work for us. We are the power. We are the constitution. That’s what seems to be forgotten.

  • Tommy Barros January 17, 2020, 11:01 am

    Communist Progressive Leftist Seditious Traitorous POLITICIANS must be STOPPED!

    BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

  • Sam January 17, 2020, 9:46 am

    Amen to the last paragraph. To all attending on Monday- PROVE THEM WRONG!!! Remember that everyone will be watching (and recording).

  • rsmalt January 17, 2020, 9:10 am

    Yup! Blackface Ralph, the Little Caesar of the Old Dominion and his leftmedia shills have been working overtime to make this annual event something that it isn’t, and never has been. He’s a true POS.

  • Ej harbet January 17, 2020, 4:02 am

    There are examples in history of what northam whose true views are likely closer to nazis than many think(blackface?? His”coonman” nickname) what he does to law abiding gun owners is similar to what hitler did to jews before debute of the”final solution”. The difference is once the jews were disarmed they were easy to deal with.most of us know this and wont give up our means to resist oppresion by this bigot and his cronys.

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