Second Amendment supporters across the nation have rightly criticized the state of California for its suppression of the God-given right to self-defense. But despite the liberal disposition of the majority of California voters and politicians, and the refusal of the United States Supreme Court to come to the aid of California conservatives, a vocal and vigorous minority continues to agitate for its natural rights, both to keep and bear arms and to speak their minds.
In a recent article, CNS News described a recent example of this resistance to tyranny, initially reported by ABC 10 News in San Diego. In Oceanside, one of the more conservative cities in Southern California, both police and liberals pressured local gun store manager and Marine Corps veteran Brendon Von to silence himself. Liberty Nation contacted the store, “Firearms Unknown” to hear the story directly from the staff.
When the store opened last autumn, like any new small business, it took a while to get the word out. To raise awareness, on Black Friday Mr. Von created a giant size cardboard cut-out shaped like an AR rifle, and because local sign-spinning companies refused to spin his sign for insurance reasons, he went out on the nearby sidewalk and began turning the sign himself. The reaction of ninety-eight percent of the public was positive, with many people giving Mr. Von thumbs up signs. However, a small minority also began slowing down, taking photos, and in several cases making obscene hand signals at him.
Thirty to forty minutes into the sign spinning session, police arrived to investigate, saying that they had received several phone calls reporting a man standing on the side of the road with a rifle. Mr. Von showed police the sign, which was obviously not a gun, but instead a giant cardboard cut-out. Police asked Mr. Von to modify the sign to include text which would make it more obvious to passers-by that the sign was just a sign. Mr. Von respectfully refused. To the credit of the officer, he accepted that answer, canceled the call for police presence, which defused any potential police escalation, and then inquired about a law enforcement discount.
Mr. Von had no further negative contact with the city, but the original local television report did generate several less than pleasant contacts with the public. People came into the store to ask why Mr. Von would wave a sign shaped like a giant gun. Some went so far as to claim that because they had children, and that they didn’t want themselves or their children to see gun images, Mr. Von shouldn’t wave his sign. Mr. Von responded, “Tell them to close their eyes.” He went on to describe his position in detail, saying, “what if there is a billboard with a message that you don’t agree with? Are you going to complain about that too just so you can have your way? What if I want my way? What if someone else wants their way? It’s not just about you.” In the end, most liberals challenging Mr. Von’s actions disagreed respectfully, but several were hateful and couldn’t be satisfied.
When asked to reflect in general on his experience, Mr. Von said the following:
When I went into the Marine Corps, the first thing anyone does is take the oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, so for somebody to come and tell me that I can’t express my opinions or something like that is a huge slap in my face as a veteran. That’s not what I joined for. That’s not what I swore to protect. In the end, I care more about personal liberties than people’s feelings.
What is important for conservatarians to understand is that due to establishment media fake news and demographic shifts caused by liberal policies in education and immigration, what happens today in California will occur in a decade in Texas, and in another decade in places like Montana or Wyoming. It is unconscionable that there exist members of the public that are so ignorant of firearms, or so afraid of weapons, that a giant cardboard cutout shaped like a rifle can cause them to panic and call law enforcement.
Mr. Von is exactly right. Our liberties are more important than our feelings. If we on the right can deal with changing the channel when affronted by degeneracy in the establishment media, the left can suffer imagery which promotes self-defense. The left must be instructed in this reality, even over their screeching, no matter how loud.
Never be quiet. At every opportunity, stand your rhetorical ground. Challenge liberal excesses wherever you find them. Make your voice heard. Then invite your hipster snowflake neighbors to the range. At least then, when they see an image that promotes self-defense, they will not have ignorance of weaponry as an excuse for their intolerance.