A March for our Lives, 2022/6/11, Washington DC

On Saturday, June 11 2022, 'A March for our Lives' held a rally at noon on the north side of the Washington Monument, near Constitution Ave.  Speakers whom I heard included Mary Muriel Bowser, Manuel Oliver, DuQuan Brown (black Harvard student), Cori Bush (congresswoman) and David Hogg (20 minute speech).  

I posted sixteen short videos from this event on my channel  (link)

Muriel Bowser spoke predictably, about DC statehood.  I’ve talked to her in the past (in 2017) and she is not comfortable with the idea that citizens need guns to defend themselves.

Brown called for people to “do more love” and seemed to criticize the hypercritical attitude that individuals have for each other personally, and it is not so clear this is just about race.  It has bigger implications (like tempting politicians into fascism).

Oliver (who lost a son in the 2018 Parkland massacre) called for students to commit to a strike to get changes in gun laws (Common Dreams coverage).   

David Hogg spoke for about twenty minutes, challenging the rally attendees personally at many points.

I will embed videos 1 and 8 here.

Video 8.

In Video 8, at about 45 seconds, David starts to talk about what “I need from you”, making it personal with the people as their 'fealty' to him. That disturbs me a bit. It sounds cultish. At the end of that portion he asked for people to text a message to one address. (The same passage appears at 21.53 in the News2Share video below.) He repeats the clause 'when I need you there' several times when talking about political action, as if activists should take orders from him specifically. That seems a bit blunt.

I have never joined an organization where I participated as a paean in mass activism, but that is something about me and my own set of circumstances (it would corrupt my personal 'agency' but I might be able to stifle conventional activism even unintentionally) and  I’ll take up again soon.  (Look at a couple posts in March, 'The Demands of Others'). 

Ford Fischer’s News2Share offers a complete speech filmed by T Jones.  News2Share allows embedding but (a warning!) requires licensing to use in your own video (his business includes licensing original footage to larger media outlets – I don’t have the capability set up myself to do that).  News2share has two smaller videos about Saturday’s event (Bowser’s speech, and a minor false alarm disturbance). Note in the News2Share video that David does seem to be reading some of the speech at the end (no teleprompter). But, a speech is like a podcast, and this speech could be matched with other video to make a compelling short film. David has written the 'script'.

Sunday morning we learned on CNN, in an article by Dana Bash, Manu Raju and Donald Judd, “Bipartisan group of senators announces agreement on gun control”.   It is not clear this can get past a filibuster (another problem I hope Hogg has studied at Harvard).  It seems that Hogg’s speech shook up Congress a bit.  Add the ages of David Hogg and Joe Biden and you get 100.  It seems like David played president for a day. (He can’t be inaugurated until 2037, in time the worst of climate change; let’s hope we have our democracy then).  It’s interesting, to see someone who presents himself as immaculate, lean and cleancut, with almost military precision, speaks for the oppressed personally with very different social backgrounds from him.  Last summer, he showed himself learning to sail on Instagram.

CNN followed up with an op-ed, recommending rewriting or rescinding the Second Amendment. Authored by Bill Press, the title is “Opinion: There's no way to fix the Second Amendment. Let's just get rid of it”.  He discusses what he sees as the flaws of the D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 and notes that Scalia had said that the 2nd Amendment did not stop Congress or states from limiting the kinds of weapons individuals can own. Well, you can oppose the NRA at get rid of gun manufacturers' own version of "Section 230". Or you might pervert the Texas and Oklahoma abortion laws in blue states for gun control (watch out).

I am not sure that militias in the 18th century were just for white supremacy.  They also might have been needed against the British (we had the War of 1812, the impressment (“conscription”) issue too.  But many responsible individuals today see the right to defend themselves (and their families and properties) as indispensable to their personal agency.  Think of it as in an inverse relationship to conscription.

I would also be concerned that restrictions on 3-D printed weapons (including "ghosts"), while understandable, could have implications for other free speech problems not directly created to weapons (or illegal substances or practices). Look at the Defense Distributed case (Harvard Law Review). That's a topic for another day.

During Saturday afternoon, I found out on Twitter (when I could get it to work – it doesn’t work when you are in large crowds with smart phones), when leaving the MFOL to go to Capital Pride), that the arrests in Coeur d’Alene Idaho this weekend were partially preventive, as there was concern about the possibility of a right-wing attack on a local gay pride celebration (after recent concerns about supposed ‘grooming’ covered in other posts).  The Pulse attack in 2016 was from radical Islam, not our own alt-Right, which rarely goes after individuals the way the extreme Left does.  News2Share also covered the events there this weekend (check the channel dated early today, and expect further videos).  MFOL learned about the concern mid-day Saturday but did not mention it at the DC Rally.  This is a developing story.  Daniel Walters has a story in the New York Times (paywall, available for gift), “Dozens of White Supremacists Arrested in Idaho Had Planned to Riot, Authorities Say”, story by Daniel Walters, June 12.

I have visited Coeur d’Alene once, in 1990, alone on vacation, and drove by the entrance to a white supremacist encampment at the time, in a rental car.  I didn’t take as many “journalistic” pictures at that time.  

(Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 10 PM by John W Boushka)