Political Animal


May 04, 2013 8:29 AM This will end well

By Kathleen Geier

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports that a libertarian activist is organizing a march on Washington consisting of gun nuts illegally carrying loaded rifles:

Libertarian activist and radio host Adam Kokesh is hoping to get 1,000 people to march on Washington on July 4 — armed with loaded rifles. The plan, launched with a Facebook group today, is to gather on the Virginia side of the Potomac, where gun laws are lax, and then march across the bridge with loaded rifles slung over their shoulders into the District, where openly carrying weapons is generally prohibited.

What could possibly go wrong?

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • martin on May 04, 2013 8:48 AM:

    Wasn't this tried a few years ago, or was it just threatened?

  • Celui on May 04, 2013 9:02 AM:

    So! For his fifteen seconds of fame (and notoriety), Mr. Kokesh 'sticks it to the Man', raises his fist in indignation against something or another, espouses the unfounded NRA tripe about 'taking your guns' and in so many words, proves himself a total schmuck (look it up). Where in the world did such rampant small-child egotism become the norm for babbling bozos who like the sound of their own voices?

    And: Craptcha:: Comicow always Couldn't have said it better myself!!!

  • Mudge on May 04, 2013 9:03 AM:

    But, but, but..NRA members are all "law-abiding citizens". This must be some fringe group of non-members.

  • Anonymous on May 04, 2013 9:04 AM:

    The political party that has recently bantered breezily about the need for insurrection against government is forming an armed mob to march on Washington? Huh.

    Will they be carrying dry powder and muskets or AR-15s with 30 round clips? If Adam is capable of thought he may want to rethink this.

  • Snarki, child of Loki on May 04, 2013 9:33 AM:

    Hey, wait a minute...aren't these morons allied with the NRA-morons that are all for "nullification" of federal gun laws they don't like?

    Wow, DC "nullified" stuff the NRA-morons like. Why, they might have an actual problem with that, if they weren't enormous hypocrites, that is.

  • c u n d gulag on May 04, 2013 9:40 AM:

    They never outgrew their angry, petulant, teenage years.

    Mom and Dad say I can do this outside, but not outside, so, let me go and do this INSIDE - THAT'LL SHOW 'EM.

    Look son, you want to walk around flashing your guns? Fine, do it in states or cities where that's either not illegal, or tolerated.

    This is like some nudist deciding to strip naked and go for a swim at a family beach, just because he thinks nudity is best for everyone.
    He knows it'll cause a ruckus on the beach, but he knows he'll be fine once he's in the water, because his tiny lure wouldn't draw a nibble from single fish.
    And, probably only gets laughs on the beach, itself, after the initial shock.

    My guess is, the bigger the gun, and the more you want to carry it around, the more you're compensating for having a tiny lure.

    So - GO FISH!
    And bring some bail money. You'll need it. Putz!

  • bleh on May 04, 2013 9:59 AM:

    I do hope there is also a confiscation provision in the DC law.

    Get arrested, get a record, spend a little time in jail, pay a fine, lose your gun.

    Yes, they'll be angry, but they're already angry. And if it isn't this, it's Benghazi, or something else.

    Lock 'em up! We can't have hooligans flaunting lawbreaking behavior. I'm for law and order!

  • Kathryn on May 04, 2013 10:19 AM:

    Yes Martin, a view years ago it was threatened and some gun toters met on the Virginia side of the Potamac River in a park. It's vague in my memory, but the plan to march over one of the bridges into the District of Columbia never materialized.

  • mellowjohn on May 04, 2013 10:26 AM:

    "What could possibly go wrong?"

    1,000 fat white guys shooting themselves (or each other) in the foot?

  • c u n d gulag on May 04, 2013 10:42 AM:

    And that's only if they were aiming for head-shots.

  • Josef K on May 04, 2013 10:46 AM:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Don't even joke. I'm an alum of Kent State, so there's that.

    Add the unhappy reality a lot gun-rights activists are acting and talking plain nuts right now, and the possible dangers multiple by the second.

    Then again, that's presuming this little march even happens. Here's hoping it doesn't.

  • Anonymous on May 04, 2013 10:52 AM:

    God I hope this happens. Ever since the Park Service was forced to cancel the 4th of July concert due to sequester, I've been looking for good clean family entertainment that weekend. You have four jurisdictions you're messing with here. The Park Police, MPD, Capitol Police and the ones especially known for having a quality sense of humor: the Secret Service. On the fourth of july, when it's all hands for law enforcement. Even if they get past the Park Police on memorial bridge (which they won't) and MPD on Independance (I trust they'll be smart enough to stay on the sidewalk on the north side) then at some point, you're just a guy with a loaded rifle looking at the White House. You try telling the Secret Service you're just trying to make a point. You know what these folks are really going to enjoy? A weekend in the perpetually overcrowded DC jail. A long weekend, cause they won't see. Judge until Monday. Hope you like bologna!

  • Mikhail the History Grad Student on May 04, 2013 10:53 AM:

    I suppose I'm a horrible person, but I've a rather ghoulish sense of curiosity over just how it will go wrong. That it will, I have no doubt...

  • williamjacobs on May 04, 2013 11:05 AM:

    I suppose they're willing to do without police protection for this march, right?

    This may be one of the cheapest demonstrations DC has ever hosted.

    They'll do well not to enforce they're unconstitutional laws. It's not as though concealed carry is legal in DC.

    Can't carry openly or hidden, therefore can't carry. How is their law NOT abridging the right to bear arms? Or does DC get the right to nullification that we criticize red states for?

  • registeredguest on May 04, 2013 11:14 AM:

    I think it's a great idea. All kinds of good things could result.

    The Mall should be setup to welcome them and cordoned off so that non gun totters can't get in.

    Offer free beer in the hot sun as a show of hospitality, set up remote cameras to record the fun.

    By the end of the day we should have a good idea of just how responsible this crowd is with the video to prove it.

    I love the idea.

  • Grag on May 04, 2013 11:16 AM:

    All major protests should have armed militia contingents to protect themselves from police violence and brutality.

    I guarantee that police would be less likely to trample on anyone's constitutional rights, make false arrests, or even wantonly spray their chemical pepper sprays if they knew they would be SHOT for it!

  • jonh on May 04, 2013 11:18 AM:

    This brought to mind two movie clips,

    From The Maltese Falcon: 'The cheaper the hood, the gaudier the patter.'.

    And from the Ed Wood Jr. - penned The Violent Years:
    The setup - a gang of hoodlums - all girls! - are contacted by the commies to vandalize a schoolroom. While they are doing this, the cops arrive. Our gals start shooting at the police. The police return fire. One of the hoodettes turns to the leader (played by October 1955 Playmate Jean Moorehead) and complains 'They're shootng back!'.

    I can certainly imagine one of these 'patriots' firing a live round at the 'jackbooted thugs' of D.C. law enforcemnet, getting some tear gas in response, and then kicking up a symphony of sympathy of how awful it was that the cops 'shot back'.

    More seriously, as Waco and Ruby Ridge taught us, about the only way a white guy is going to get killed by U.S. law enforcement is to be a part of a group that shoots and kills one first. It kinda sucks that we have to hope that that does not happen here.

  • biggerbox on May 04, 2013 11:23 AM:

    Back in the day (that being the 1790s), we called that kind of nonsense "rebellion" and sent 13,000 troops to tell them to knock it off. And that was when they were way out in western Pennsylvania, not marching on the nation's capital. But Barack Obama is no George Washington.

    I realize that responding with overwhelming physical force would be a mistake, in terms of legitimizing every paranoid fantasy of every gun nut in the nation, but I'd sure like to see the fools behind this "protest" properly shamed for being disloyal, anti-American terrorists. An openly armed force marching on the seat of government with the express intention of violating the law and overturning the democratic process? What is that besides treason and rebellion?

  • Menthol on May 04, 2013 11:32 AM:

    As a thought experiment, let's now imagine that instead of 1000 "libertarian activists" in the Adam Kokesh vein, this was a group of 1000 African Americans. I'll bet the Tea Party members would be besides themselves.

  • MuddyLee on May 04, 2013 11:35 AM:

    This sounds like a CONSPIRACY to break the DC laws and to intimidate elected officials and citizens who may be engaged in some sort of unarmed protest (exercise of free speech). Maybe the FBI and the ATF will get involved (remember Waco?). Or maybe Homeland Security will take notice - if you can't carry a regular size tube of toothpaste on to an airplane, can you carry a loaded weapon into the District of Columbia?

  • Rick B on May 04, 2013 11:40 AM:

    Gee. A bunch of gun-toting rural rubes decide to enter a hated city that rejects their beloved but deadly firearms.

    Is there anything they could talk about that is more symbolic of the culture war that is messing over American politics these days?

    Somehow the Captcha 'touched hometsr' seems to fit.

  • Steve P on May 04, 2013 11:41 AM:

    “Freud says that guns are an extension of your dick, Jo Bob.”

    Nick Nolte as Phil Elliot,"North Dallas Forty"--I swear, I hear this sound clip in my head every time I see an NRA window sticker.

  • smartalek on May 04, 2013 11:51 AM:

    "It kinda sucks that we have to hope that that does not happen here."

    We do?
    Oh, yes, of course we do.
    To do otherwise would be very, very wrong.
    That said, I can see a lot of potential amusement value in hordes of little RC helicopter models buzzing this crowd.
    Hobbyists, you know what to do. Have they started making models of the Predator drones yet?
    If they're only shooting one another, and neither LE personnel nor normal citizens (who should have the intelligence to give this colloquy a very wide berth), would anyone really have to feel any guilt whatsoever?
    Except perhaps for cruelty to children, that is...

  • David Martin on May 04, 2013 12:04 PM:

    I suppose a rally could be arranged for the Virginia side of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. The theme could be "Let My People Go" to the other side. A rally in the District itself raises problems of getting there, and the National Park Service would likely turn down any permit. I don't think it's gonna happen.

  • Mimikatz on May 04, 2013 12:09 PM:

    Good thing these yobobs don't know much about history or they would remember what happened to the Bonus Army after WWI. Much more analogous than the Whiskey Rebellion.

    I think the DC Police should have a cordon to protect everyone else (and the Capitol) and otherwise let them congregate. With the track record of gun accidents one is bound to shoot himself or a buddy, and then they will all try to be the "good guy with a gun" who takes down the shooter, and we will see how well it all works out.

  • rrk1 on May 04, 2013 12:12 PM:

    These superannuated, angry, addleheaded, teenage morons are itching for a fight, and don't be surprised if more than 1,000 show up. And they're all white, overweight, and mostly old. Tri-corner hats, and britches will likely be the costume of the day, even if the weaponry is state of the art. This is obviously an effort to kick off a real rebellion especially if a few of these idiots are "martyred."

    I can't imagine that all the undercover operatives for the FBI, CIA, SS, Homeland Security, and a whole bunch of agencies we don't even know much about, won't try to sabotage this exercise in juvenile petulance even before it gets organized.

    But what about all those angry guys in all those agencies in sympathy with the Teabaggers? It's one thing to mow down Blacks and Hispanics trying the same stunt, But old white guys wanting the "good old days," not likely.

  • PTate in MN on May 04, 2013 12:40 PM:

    I'm trying to imagine how this will play out, if it does. So, let's say, a group of 1000 armed citizens gather and march across the bridge in Washington DC. Are armed DC police waiting for them as they cross the bridge? Do the police try to arrest them for violating the law? How do the marchers--already primed to make a point about needing guns to preserve their liberty--respond?

    And which side has the good men with guns who will stop the bad men with guns?

    Ultimately, I am just so sad that the bold American experiment in government of, by and for the people has degenerated into this paranoid sideshow.

  • c u n d gulag on May 04, 2013 1:49 PM:

    You want to mock these sociopathic gutless cowards, and leave them looking like the moronic @$$holes they are?

    And they won't be able to do a damn thing about it!

    Let them march, and when they cross into DC, have thousands of children from around the country there to greet them, wearing t-shirts with crosshairs on them, holding flowers out for the marchers.

  • xpatriate on May 04, 2013 1:53 PM:

    The D.C.police should meet these collective Yosemite Sams unarmed and dressed in Bugs Bunny costumes, crunching carrots, saying: "What's up doc?" Wearing bullet-proof vests under the costumes just in case.

  • T-Rex on May 04, 2013 2:30 PM:

    This sounds like the most elaborately orchestrated suicide-by-cop yet attempted. (I'm sure a few of the guys who carried guns to appearances by Obama may have had that outcome in mind, although they didn't achieve it). Then the suicides -- er, heroic patriots taking a valiant stand -- will be celebrated as martyrs to the right to bear arms. Take it to the bank.

  • RepubAnon on May 04, 2013 3:29 PM:

    One wonders what would happen if an Imam suggested an armed march on the Capital - my guess is that these same bozos would be clamoring for all participants to be shipped off to Guantanamo.

    Remember the guys playing paintball games that were convicted of attempted terrorism in Virginia?

    Nor did the men "attack" anyone, or any country -- as the Neutrality Act requires. Instead, prosecutors alleged that they played paintball, and fired legally owned firearms in the Virginia countryside, in order to prepare to someday help Lashkar-i-Taiba if necessary. (Two of the men also admitted to being in a training camp in Pakistan, and one of said he helped to recruit others to join in support of Lashkar-i-Taiba. But again, these activities preceded Lashkar-i-Taiba's designation as a terrorist organization.)

    Prosecutors called these activities "paramilitary training" and "preparation for violent jihad" -- although both playing paintball and firing a gun are perfectly legal in Virginia.

  • Crissa on May 04, 2013 3:45 PM:

    Re: williamjacobs on May 04, 2013 11:05 AM:

    You put them in a locked case or rack, in some state of unassembly. It's not difficult.

  • Ken on May 04, 2013 6:28 PM:

    Seize the weapons, melt them down and besides fine for breaking the law charge them the cost of destroying their playthings.

  • Karen Crosby on May 04, 2013 7:43 PM:

    Why doesn't he try this shit in New Mexico where he is trying to run for Congress? I can just imagine the reaction of the police in Albuquerque or Santa Fe or anywhere else in the state!

    He is a jacked up blowhard who needs some attention now, Mom.

  • exlibra on May 04, 2013 8:37 PM:

    Adam Kokesh, huh? The erstwhile hero of the left, no less. Must be missing the attention and adulation he used to get but a few short years ago.

  • Roddy McCorley on May 04, 2013 10:17 PM:

    ...where openly carrying weapons is generally prohibited.

    These seems like a good time to bring up one of the gun lobby's lesser talking points. Whenever any legislation pertaining to guns comes up, this point will invariably be made: Let's enforce the laws we already have.

    So, yeah, if these putzes march in DC, by all means let's enforce the laws we already have.

    (I believe we even have a law or two pertaining to armed insurrection.)

  • Shivas on May 05, 2013 12:30 PM:

    With that many people on the bridge you will be sure to hear the nuts creaking.

  • rdale on May 05, 2013 3:19 PM:

    How is this not treason? Because they're white?