A report from the front lines

I was there and it was a beautiful thing. Men and women of all races and creeds, Republicans and Black Panthers, Libertarians and AntiFa, Straight and Gay all peacefully side by side, comparing their weapons and seething at their common enemy, an overbearing government.


Northam’s claim that his planning and fencing kept things peaceful is ludicrous.  There was literally nothing for the police to do. We talked and chanted and then picked up the trash before we left.



93 thoughts on “A report from the front lines

  1. I’m glad there was no violence. As I posted earlier, evidently the “bad boys” bailed in part because of the “cage” and fear of entrapment. And probably the arrest of 7 of their fellows a few days ago. I think some of the major counter protesters also bailed.

    Whether or not a gun free zone on Capitol grounds was effective or not is kind of hard to judge. If the above is valid about the Nazis bailing because of that, then that would seem vindication.

    I guess we’ll see what effect this turnout has on legislation.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Long day, huh?

    I was there between 7AM and 4PM.

    The only problems I could swear to were caused youngsters.

    Other than that, it was good day and when ‘We the People’ began leaving the area? A lot of us were picking up trash.

    Strangely…somehow these 4 Pilot journalists saw different things:


      1. The lead paragraph.

        ‘Thousands of mostly white men — many decked out in camouflage and armed with assault-style rifles — packed Richmond’s streets Monday, circling the gun-free Capitol Square, where thousands more waved signs and listened to speeches, all wanting to make one point: They weren’t going anywhere, and their gun rights shouldn’t either.’

        There weren’t thousands of signs. “Many” (a subjective word) weren’t decked out in camouflage (other than insulated jackets and/or ball caps). There weren’t “many assault-style weapons” either.

        I doubt if I saw more than five “TRUMP 2020” flags; didn’t hear any chants (four more years) when Delegates Frietas and McGuire were speaking-I was about 200-250 feet away from them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The only chants I heard were U S A

          The big deal about them wearing camouflage is silly. It was 18 degrees and windy, for most of them, their hunting clothes are the only ones they own for that degree of cold.

          It was just as peaceful outside the wire as inside. In fact, downtown Richmond probably hasn’t been that safe in decades.


          1. “downtown Richmond probably hasn’t been that safe in decades.” Undoubtably.

            I’m never surprised when responsible gun owners act responsibly.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow! Imagine that! There was no gun violence at a Gun Rights rally.

    On their best behavior because anything else would not be helpful. Besides, it’s not like driving a car into a crowd, or spraying them from a hotel window.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was a peaceful rally because they are peaceful people. They are not white supremacists or bigots. The Black Panthers and Antifa were as welcome there as anyone else. Our common interests brought us together more than any differences divided us.


      1. “”They“(?) are not white supremacists or bigots”

        Unfortunately that is extremely improbable. “They” are a reflection of the American people with all the good and bad.

        It would be naive to think otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ‘They’ would be the bulk of the crowd, That does not mean that there would be zero racists among 50,000 people. But if they were there, they kept their mouths shut about it.


          1. @tabor

            “ if they were there”

            I’m not trying to be contentious, but rather make an important point.

            “They” WERE there and “they” always will be; which is exactly why we need a more stringent gun ownership process.

            Liked by 2 people

      2. “It was a peaceful rally because they are peaceful people.”

        It was a peaceful rally because IF one of them started shooting, it would give the other 49,998 a reason to shoot too (49,998 assumes that all 50,000 are as well-trained as you claim so the shooter won’t miss the first guy).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Nancy, don’t give in to his doubling of the crowd size. There may have been an additional 24,000 ducks he claimed to have counted, but the numbers released officially did not include ducks as they are definitely in the gun control aisle.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That would apply IF there was animus between the attendees. A balance of terror if you will.

          But that was not the case, they were united against a common enemy.

          Bill Johnson has a video on facebook in which an out-of-state Black Lives Matter leader who gave his name as ‘Jaffaree’ approached one of the militia groups to see “White Supremacy” for himself. They tried to recruit him.

          No one there, except the handful of gun control advocates who attended, was afraid of anyone else. Even those gun control advocates were afforded respect and courtesy.


          1. @Tabor

            Respect and courtesy?

            Your damn right they were fearful. They had reason to be. That is why there was only a “handful of gun control advocates.” For example, the local chapter of Moms Demand Action received emailed threats from one of your prominent fellows and decided not to attend. So did anyone else with any common sense. Your guns WERE in fact intimidating and deterred contrary voices. So carry on patting yourself on your peace-loving back.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I haven’t seen any evidence of those threats, but even if they were true, there were 16,000 good guys there to protect her.

            Capitol square was likely the safest place on Earth Monday.


  4. I, too, am glad that the rally went peacefully. Did Northam’s actions have anything to do with it? We will never really know. I believe it had the desired effect to keep the peace.

    The questions I have are 1) where were the 50,000 to 120,000 Mr. Van Cleave expected? The reports I saw and heard had the crowd in the 22,000 range. And 2) how many of those were from out of state? The claims by the VCDL that the majority of Virginians supports them is belied by the a) number of Virginians in attendance, and 2) the election results from November.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think, if anything, Northam’s actions increased the likelihood of violence.

      Consider that their were twice as many people outside the cage as inside, and outside they were free to carry arms, and did.It was every bit as peaceful and cordial outside the cage as in it.

      But the street closures seemed almost intended to make people angry. Certainly, closing the streets to vehicles was appropriate, we don’t want a repeat of the ‘car violence’ we saw in Charlottesville, but the cross streets were closed to pedestrians too forcing everyone to use on way in and the same way out. To get from that one way in to the Pocahontas where the offices are located you had to push through a densely packed crowd with people trying to go the opposite way in the same narrow corridor. That kind of crown control makes people testy no matter why they are there.

      Having to stand in line for half an hour in a bitterly cold wind to get in the door when last year we just showed our ID and CHP and went where we wanted did nothing to improve our moods either.

      It really would have been better had Northam just kept his mouth shut and done nothing. It was peaceful in spite of his insults and inconveniences, not because of them.


      1. “I think, if anything, Northam’s actions increased the likelihood of violence.”

        As stated, we will never know one way or the other.

        With the credible threats received and with law enforcement’s endorsement, Northam did what he felt was prudent. Kind of like when he instituted the hurricane evacuations last year. Luckily, the storm turned and he was vilified for overreacting. But what if the storm didn’t turn and he had done nothing? You would be leading the charge against him. And all because of the little (D) after his name.

        If he hadn’t instituted the protocols for yesterday and something did go wrong, he would have been vilified for not protecting those who were there to peaceably address concerns to the GA.

        He can’t do the right thing unless he is is 100% in lockstep with your views. And if there was a little (R) next to his name, I surmise you would be giving him a pass. Just my opinion based on what I have read from you over the past few years.


        1. Certainly I do not give Northam the benefit of the doubt. At this point, he’s lied to me enough.

          But I’m not going to try to prove a negative.

          Northam was arrogant and condescending at every turn. Had he done the same things without the smugness, maybe I would see it differently but the anger he inspired could only make the situation worse.


          1. No, they can’t. The laws protecting those rights can be modified, but the protection of Constitutional rights must be amended by the required process. And even then, the rights remain even if the government doesn’t protect them. Your right of self defense exists due to our mutual assertion of that right.


          2. “The laws protecting those rights can be modified, but the protection of Constitutional rights must be amended by the required process.”

            Yes, there is a process. But they can (and in some cases, should) be modified.


          3. Let’s take another look at the Second Amendment:
            “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

            The well regulated militia was a necessity in the 18th century, as there was no standing army and the founders were loathe to create one. In the 21st century the need for a militia for a free state is no longer required as we have both a standing national army and a state national guard (under command of the several governors).
            SO your interpretation is from the 18th century, mine and gun control advocates have evolved to the 21st century interpretation. There was a really good comment from a reader at the NY Times (from Florida, as I recall) that explained it much better and I wish now I had saved it when I saw it. With over 2000 reader comments on the news story, it was impossible to find the next day.

            And Supreme Court decisions throughout history, including your go to, Heller, discuss the kind of arms we can own. Limiting they types of arms is within the realm of Constitutionality according to Scalia’s opinion.


          4. …”arrogant and condescending “… If those traits are so awful to you, how can you stand by Trump in the manner you do? H-y-p…You know how it’s spelled.


          5. I have written here many times that I do not like Trumps’ manner, There are also policies I disagree with as well as those I support.

            But I like Pelosi and Schummer a lot less, and none of their polices.


          6. ”he done the same things without the smugness,”

            So your perception is based on the “way” that information is delivered rather than the information itself.

            IDK; if a smug, arrogant asshole conveys a fact to me, while I may not like their demeanor, I’d be foolish to not consider the information dispassionately…..

            Liked by 2 people

          7. Of course HOW someone tells you something makes a difference.

            If someone told me they supported a ban on AR rifles because it would save thousands of lives every year, and they said it sincerely, I could just point out to them that homicides with rifles of all kinds were less than 500 per year and expect their opinion might change with the factual information, but if Northam said the same thing in his usual condescending way, I would it was pointless to correct him because he won’t be influenced by facts.

            If you have ever talked to politicians one-on-one you know what I am talking about, you can feel which ones care what you say and which ones are pretending to listen but really ignoring you.


          8. @Tabor

            “you can feel which ones care what you say and which ones are pretending to listen but really ignoring you”

            You have me chuckling on this contention. Professional deceivers count on what people “feel” based on feigned “sincerity”.

            I’ll stick with back-checking EVERYTHING.

            Liked by 2 people

          9. @Green Re 2nd Amendment

            Regardless of how you relate the RKBA to the militia, the Heller decision breaks the amendment into a prefatory clause and an active clause, and states that the active clause is justified by but not limited by the prefatory clause.

            Article I section 13 of the Virginia Constitution goes further, inserting the explicit “therefore” the 2nd lacks, so in Virginia at least, the linkage to militia duties is definitely severed.

            It is true that Scalia in the Heller opinion did allow that the RKBA did not include all places and all weapons, that such places as prisons and courtrooms could be excluded and that “dangerous or unusual” weapons could be barred.

            Historically, the dangerous or unusual category has been used to describe indiscriminate weapons such as spring guns and land mines, or indirect artillery, that kill or injure persons whose identity or intention cannot be known. After all, we don’t want to blow the little girl who enters your property to sell you cookies.

            Bearable weapons ‘in common use of the day for legal purposes’ are protected.

            At some point, SCOTUS is going to have to be less vague about which weapons can be banned, but HB961 ban of nearly all centerfire semi-automatic rifles and handguns is almost certainly overreach.

            And again, the language in Virginia’s Constitution is more direct than the 2nd Amendment.


          10. @Tabor

            The Heller decision you hold so dear is an aberration compared to the understanding and precedent of the two centuries before. It is based on totally ignoring the concept of a “well-regulated militia” and the role the militia played at the time the Constitution was written. Not only did the four dissenting Justices express that view so to did Chief Justice Warren Burger – a Republican I might add – in an essay written in 1992.


            The conclusion that Burger – and anyone who is not blinded by emotion – reached is that it is not contrary to the Second Amendment for guns to be subject to regulation similar to those for automobiles.

            In 1991 he called the idea of an unrestricted right to own a gun a “fraud” perpetrated by political interests.

            Liked by 1 person

          11. Heller itself is not the law of the land. It is the last opinion issued by the Supreme Court that has any relevance. And as I said in a previous post, even Scalia said there is a limit to the type of firearm one can own as a citizen.


    2. Crowd size is always hard to estimate, and the road and sidewalk closures make it even harder as people going from one point to another often had to go blocks out of their path.

      My best guess from aerial photos and doing a duck count would be between 50 and 60K


  5. I am glad nobody got hurt but let’s keep it real – thousands of armed people descending on the seat of government is a form of terrorism. Full stop. It will not work. The four measures that have such people in such a tizzy enjoy wide popular support. To recap, these “controversial” and “oppressive” measures are . . .

    1. Limit purchase of guns to one per month.
    2. Universal background checks for the sale of a gun.
    3. Allow localities to decide if events should exclude guns.
    4. Red flag laws to enable law enforcement to act on threatening behavior

    Opposition to this last one is hypocritical because every time a maniac does a mass shooting the cry from the gun right people is why was nothing done given the warning signs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How can it be terrorism to demonstrate that people can be both angry and armed and yet be peaceful?

      The measures you mention are annoying at most, and if proper protections are in place, most of us would support Red Flag laws, but the existing proposal (SB240) is deeply flawed.

      But the reason people were there is HB961


      1. ..”the existing proposal”… The key word is proposal. Proposed indicates that it is a starting point to a better outcome for all. You and the 2A or death crowd are so afraid of a little inconvenience, you blow things so far out of proportion, rational people don’t want to listen to what you have to say.

        I heard a commentator on NPR yesterday say that 2A supporters, the more vociferous ones, are more emotional than gun control proponents. I tend to agree with that sentiment.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “The key word is proposal. Proposed indicates that it is a starting point to a better outcome for all.”

          Proposed can also indicate it is a starting point to a worse outcome for all.


          1. RE: “To a pessimist as yourself, sure.”

            No pessimism here. The observation is factually true.


          2. RE: “As is mine.”

            No. You erred in pretending that your ambiguous statement has only one meaning.


          3. Actually, the fault is yours. Being optimistic is not being ambiguous. You. on the other hand, are a complex mishmash of ambiguities. But you are entertaining.;


  6. @Tabor

    How can it be terrorism? The answer to that is self-evident. The definition of terrorism is the use of violence or the threat of violence to achieve a political goal. Lots of people carrying weapons to the seat of government is threatening. The same number of people assembling without weapons is political protest. With weapons it is terrorism.

    HB961 does not go far enough. There is no legitimate need for assault weapons or handguns that is remotely worth the carnage they produce. Such is my opinion and it is shared by a growing majority of people, especially young people.


    1. Carrying weapons and remaining peaceful while doing so is eloquent political speech. That was the point, not to threaten but to demonstrate inherent peacefulness.

      You cannot be truly peaceful unless you are capable of effective violence. If you are disarmed and not capable of asserting your rights with force, you are not peaceful, you are ineffective.. That is not the same thing. We demonstrated that while we are capable of force, we chose not to exercise it, and that was the point.

      And it is because you will never be satisfied, that even HB961 isn’t enough, that I must be armed. You recognize no rights that are not in line with your opinion.


      1. …” If you are disarmed and not capable of asserting your rights with force, you are not peaceful, you are ineffective..”…

        I believe that man who’s birth was celebrated yesterday would say you are wrong. As would Gandhi.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. To a man so vilified that he was assassinated, he would want to protect himself. (which by the way, I take no issue with) However, the idea that you stated about being disarmed makes you ineffectual is ludicrous. More ludicrous than you stating that Northam’s actions had nothing to do with with yesterday remaining peaceful. It can’t be proven either way, but if McDonnell had taken the same actions, you would have been grateful.

            And I saw several posts yesterday (in another forum) talking about how California in the 60’s was not so keen on gun control until the Black Panthers showed up with guns. Have to wonder about that just a bit.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “California in the 60’s was not so keen on gun control until the Black Panthers showed up with guns. Have to wonder about that just a bit.”

            The Black Panthers in 1960s California were murderers, rapists and drug dealers. Do you mean to imply that gun control at the time was racially motivated because the Black Panthers were black?


          3. @Tabor

            Whether MLK had a position on gun control or not is completely non-responsive to the point made. Another straw man.

            MLK and Ghandi each led important and successful political movements that did NOT rely on their followers being armed. The fact that many in this crowd of 22,000 were brandishing weapons is a sign of weakness, not of strength.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. RE: “If the rally yesterday had consisted of a majority of TODAY’s BP, you wold have been screaming for the National Guard to be called out.”

            You have no idea what I might scream about, or even if I would scream at all. You comment is just another example of you saying things you can’t prove.


          5. RE: “You can’t prove a negative.”

            What negative are you referring to? You claimed you could predict what I would scream about in a hypothetical situation, which obviously it is impossible for you do do. But never mind, if you want to “stand by” your own ignorance, I’m happy to let you.


          6. It’s called an opinion. You can disagree with it all you like. Opinions do not need to be proven. They need to be based on facts. And the fact is, your commentary throughout our time together indcates that what I BELIEVE is true.


      2. @Tabor

        “Carrying weapons and remaining peaceful while doing so is eloquent political speech.”

        Yeah, it elegantly says that if we do not get what we want things will get very ugly. You are essentially confirming the terrorist nature of political demonstrations with weapons in hand.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. @Tabor

            Baloney. Obviously. People brandishing weapons are threatening. Especially in large groups. Period. Your denying that demonstrates yet again that you have managed to expunge any common sense or intellectual honesty that you may once have had.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Because you say so again?

            Carrying arms is not brandishing.

            You are projecting your own propensity for calling government force to subjugate those who disagree with you on others who are simply prepared to defend themselves against aggression. Displaying that you are prepared to defend yourself is a deterrent, not a threat.


          3. So did the rally attendees expect to have force used against them? You seem to insinuate that by your post. ( I knew there was something about this one that had me scratching my head.)


          4. There is a huge gulf between being prepared for something and expecting it.

            There was some concern that the warnings about neo-Nazis showing up and starting something violent. A strong deterrent is the best way to prevent that.

            So, we didn’t really think they would try something with so many armed good guys present. But it was thought prudent that others be prepared to defend our unarmed members inside the cage.


          5. They didn’t try anything because they were arrested before they got there. And that fact was well publicized, and, IMHO, prevented any others so inclined to do violence from showing up.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. @Tabor

            Re: “You are projecting your own propensity for calling government force to subjugate those who disagree . . .”

            You have made this comment umteen times in one form or another. It make you seem really and truly demented. Your use of words like “government force” and “subjugate” while brandishing an arsenal and sitting on barrels of bullets borders on or crosses into pathological.

            I believe that one of the purposes of our government is to promote the general welfare. It is a tool that the citizenry can use to make life better. Our Constitution establishes the methods by which that can be done and puts limits on how far the government can go. When those Constitutional political processes are followed and no Constitutional rights are violated, I do expect everyone to obey the law and to pay their taxes. Your characterizing laws you do not like as “subjugation” and taxes you do not want to pay as “tryanny” or “theft” simply demonstrates how out-of-touch and self-centered your political ideas really are.


        1. Carrying arms is not brandishing? Uh no. Check the law . . .

          Federal law defines brandished as, “with reference to a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) means that all or part of the weapon was displayed, or the presence of the weapon was otherwise made known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the weapon was directly visible to that person. Accordingly, although the dangerous weapon does not have to be directly visible, the weapon must be present.” (18 USCS Appx § 1B1.1)

          The point of carrying those weapons was to intimidate lawmakers and anyone who might dare to offer a different opinion on gun control. My choice of words was appropriate.

          And again, people brandishing guns are threatening not because I say so. It is a fact. They are and denying that those guns carried implicit threats is simply dishonest.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “The point of carrying those weapons was to intimidate lawmakers”

            Only in your mind. The point was to demonstrate that people can be well armed and peaceful.

            The closest thing to intimidation was the taunt ‘Come and Take It’ but that is a warning that aggression will be resisted, not a threat of aggression.


          2. @Tabor

            Only in my mind? Uh no. As I posted elsewhere the mob of gun-toting extremist scared away supporters of gun control and even though they are the majority in this state, only a “handful” (your word) had the courage to attend. And, of course, the governor explicitly stated the intimidating nature of those guns when he successfully went to court to keep them out of the square.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. They made the choice not to go prior to the event, so brandishing was not possible without a time machine. They were in no danger and no one threatened them.

            I guess you could say the press brandished future weapons but the people at the event did not.

            They were the victims of their own projection, as you so often are. They imagined gun owners as being as dismissive of the rights of others as they are.


          4. @Tabor

            Promising to bring weapons to a public event is effectively a form of brandishing weapons albeit not criminal given the fact that the presence of a gun is required to prosecute.But, the promise to be armed is intended to intimidate and it did. You can dance around this all day long while singing Kumbaya. That does not change the nature of masses of armed people descending on the seat of legitimate and lawful government. It is terrorism.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Only in your mind.

            We had, outside the cage, 16,000 or more people, mostly armed, of different races and political stances. Many of them strongly disagree on almost every other issue.

            There was no violence, no one felt threatened, we all got along.

            That is a powerful statement that firearms do not lead to violence among peaceful people.

            You do not see that because your entire political philosophy is based on using force to control other people’s choices and wealth. You simply don’t understand people who prefer to live and let live without the use of force, but who will defend themselves if force is turned against them.

            The problem is in you, not us.


          6. @Tabor

            Laughable. You are patting yourself on the back because no one got shot. And, obviously you are pretending that brandishing your guns just goes to show what peace loving people you are. If I wanted to make you look ridiculous I could not do a better job.

            You seem to lack the imagination it takes to see what could happen if law enforcement had not blocked some of the most virulent of your fellow travelers from attending. If one or two of them had opened fire in that crowd, where would those 16,000 “good guys” point their guns in the ensuing panic and confusion? Talk about a circular firing squad. Good grief.


  7. On or about 0445 Monday morning?

    Mary (she’s 31) and Breanna (she’s 28) arrived at my house and we began driving to Richmond.

    On the drive to Richmond? Breanna said they were lesbians and asked if that was a problem…and I assured them that I didn’t.

    While I wasn’t expecting that three of us would meet up later and drive back?

    They left a note that they were going to a local restaurant…where we shared a meal.

    On the way back to Virginia Beach? I drove their car most of the way, stopped at Shell gas station (Newport News) to fill their tank and woke them up when I pulled into my driveway.

    How is it that 2 young lesbians and an old Jew can do that? Please…explain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Careful, Craig. Some might compare you to a recently deceased “old Jew”.

      All kidding aside, I think it is great that people from very diverse backgrounds came together to peacefully protest a perceived attempt to subvert the Second Amendment. The only “crime” of the day, IMHO, was that Lobby Day did not allow any citizen lobbying.

      A good story and I thank you for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Lobby Day did not allow any citizen lobbying”

        Please explain. Lobby Day WAS citizen lobbying. I met with 6 lawmakers myself.

        I was particularly disappointed in newly elected Delegate Alex Askew of VA Beach and Chesapeake who hid all day and wouldn’t meet with his constituents. Nancy Guy at least heard us out though I am pretty sure she will vote party line in spite of conceding we were right on the issue.


        1. I stand corrected. I did not see or hear of any until your post.

          I am glad that you were able to get in there. Too bad others were too intimidated by the number of protesters with guns to show up and lobby about other issues that are important to the Commonwealth.

          As an example, if I had been able to go (work), I might have gone to speak to the representatives to stick to the amendment passed last year on redistricting. I think it is the best way forward and the newly elected majority should not run from it, but support it. I understand their concerns about the appointed judges, but I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt that they would be fair to VOTERS, regardless of party affiliation, on how our voting districts are drawn.


      2. Adam?

        I really enjoyed the drive to and from Richmond with those two.

        When all was said and done? I adopted them as daughters and they adopted me as their 2nd Dad.

        Great day!


        1. This is an old cliche, but some of my best friends have been lesbians.

          Plus, I served with several that I mentored even if they weren’t in my department. Congrats on your new, extended family. And I agree, it was a great day for you and the ladies.

          Liked by 1 person

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