This article was written by James Wesley Rawles and originally posted on SurvivalBlog.
This news headline makes it clear that the BHO Administration is widening their net: Nevada Standoff Indictment Names Bundys, Five More. These “add-on” indictments are quite troubling. I believe that the assessment by Brandon Smith’s (previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog) may be correct: A Warning To The Feds On Incremental Prosecutions Of The Liberty Movement. There may be dozens of more indictments of people who attended the Bundy Ranch protests in 2014 that filter out over a the next six to nine months.
Let’s draw a comparison: There were overt and quite visible physical threats and considerable actual violence in the “Occupy (Wherever)” protests of 2011 and 2012–particularly Occupy Oakland (rock throwing), Occupy Portland (Molotov Cocktail throwing) and Occupy Fort Collins ($10 million in arson damage.) But the Malheur occupiers and Bundy Ranch protesters who never pointed a gun at anyone are being selectively prosecuted. This smacks of partisan politics. (Note: The Occupy Wall Street (and Wherever) crowd were leftists and hence media darlings, despite their scruffiness and uncouth public ablutions. It is noteworthy that they received zero Federal indictments for conspiracy. In fact only a few of them got local charges, and only then for overt acts of violence, not conspiracy.)
Whenever politics rather than the facts are the main drivers for felony prosecutions, then the end result is rounding up political prisoners.
As I’ve written before: It is important to pick your fights wisely. Discretion is a virtue. Perspicacity is a virtue. Silence is a virtue. Yes, America needs to have some proactive Tyranny Response Teams ready to travel on short notice. But ending up in prison for 40+ years just for being a protester or for being a journalist covering a protest event is a sub-optimal outcome. As previously noted, carrying press credentials could be advantage. You can get press credentials free of charge, though our spin-off web site: CFAPA.org.
Avoiding prosecution in future protests and confrontations may come down to camouflage, tradecraft, and wise discretion. As I’ve mentioned in my blog previously: Because the owners of vehicles are easily identifiable, it is probably best to park a long distance away from a protest, and hike in. And if you park off the street (with permission) on private property where in most jurisdictions you can legally remove license plates, it is important to also cover up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your dashboard, which can be photographed through your car or truck’s windshield.
A few notes on visibility and identifiability: Check state an local laws before attending a protest wearing a face mask. (It is illegal in some jurisdictions. But where it is legal, then depending on the circumstances you might consider attending as Guy Fawkes.) It is very difficult to prosecute “an unidentified protester seen wearing woodland pattern camos and a mesh face mask”, but it is very easy to prosecute someone who sits down in a lawn chair and gives interviews to the press.
Likewise, it is best to leave at home any guns or gear that have been customized in any readily-identifiable way. By this I mean custom-made pouches, slings, or boots, guns with unusually distinctive modifications (such and hand-painted camouflage) or an odd combination of features. Ditto for any visible magazines that have painted-on numbers.) Remember, ARs are modular like a Barbie Doll collection–you can mix and match the accessories. So if you attend a public protest, I recommend that you bring one of your most “generic”-looking guns, such as an AR with just factory furniture or MagPul MOE furniture, and a generic red dot scope. Even the unique wear patterns on faded denim blue jeans have been used to identify masked men. On another note, it is important that you carry your rifle slung over your shoulder, so that you won’t be charged with “brandishing a firearm”. Under most state laws, a holstered pistol or a slung rifle does not constitute an overt threat or meet the legal threshold of brandishing. Such laws, by the way are statutory mala prohibitium crimes, rather then a mala in se.)
It is ironic that the Federal government is prosecuting the Bundy Ranch and Malheur Ranch protesters with “conspiracy to intimidate”, when in fact it was their own sworn officers who were the ones doing all of the intimidating. And they were the only ones who did any killing. Now they are following up by suppressing evidence–by only releasing one grainy video of the shooting shot from a long distance and no audio, which would have told us how many shots were fired, and when. (Many people now contend that Lavoy Finicum only dropped his hands after he had been shot.)
There is one other point that seems to be overlooked in the media accounts of these arrests and indictments: Several of the recent Federal indictments seem to be predicated upon the erroneous assumption that carrying a gun is somehow in and of itself intimidating. That is a fatuous argument. Someone choosing to exercise their First Amendment right to attend or journalistically record a public protest does not nullify their Second Amendment right to also bear a firearm in a public place. The two rights are not mutually exclusive. Instead, it was our Founding Fathers’ intent that these rights be mutually supporting. (It is the Second Amendment that is the de facto insurance policy for the rest of the Bill of Rights.)
Only an unconstitutional tyrant should feel intimidated by the sight of guns at public meetings, and only then because they feel guilt and shame for their tyrannical actions. If anyone expresses such angst, then I contend that they either have an irrational fear of guns, or that they themselves are a tyrant (or a tyrant’s sycophant), at heart. – JWR