Documenting the Virginia Crackdown

Recent elections in Virginia have placed the Virginia government within arm's length of widespread gun confiscation.  Around eighty-four counties and cities throughout the Commonwealth have pledged to ignore and resist these measures.  Some Virginia elected officials have called for the National Guard to carry out such confiscation, which would imply the arrest and disarmament of local officials who get in the way.  Governor Northam has stopped short of adopting such an idea, but he will not rule it out.  Additional stories indicate that the government will disable internet and telephone access to affected areas during the crackdown.  The prison budget has been increased in anticipation of gun-related arrests.

While the idea of soldiers engaged in gun confiscation is not yet a reality, the proposal itself should alarm every sane person in this country.  Elected officials want to send large numbers of uniformed soldiers in combat gear and armored vehicles through residential streets in search of American citizens and their lawful possessions.  The hyperbolic political debates of recent years notwithstanding, government oppression has not yet reached the levels displayed by Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot.  But the Virginia gun confiscation discussion begins to come close.  The use of military tanks in residential streets for the purpose of overwhelming law-abiding citizens (and local police) would equal the oppression of Tiananmen Square or the 1968 Prague crackdown.

Democrat regimes have previously been willing to endure political backlash from the temporary use of military force against civilians.  Waco and Elián González bear witness to this recent history.  The proposed Virginia gun confiscation would be far more widespread, with more enduring consequences.

The real issue is how the citizens of Virginia and the rest of the country should respond.  It is safe to assume that other state governments are watching to see how far they can go when mere constitutional rights get in their way.  Nearby governors might even contribute their own troops to help Governor Northam.  A proper response would deter politically minded governors in other states and might even invite the federal government to intervene to protect individual rights before the Virginia crisis escalates.  Widespread discussion of this response now might even deter Northam from this military mobilization.

Any such military action would produce shocking imagery, but do not expect the story to tell itself.  The images and the facts will be heavily censored — the same way that every other worthwhile story is censored by the MSM.  What few images do get through will be overwhelmed by endless MSM commentary that blames law-abiding citizens for this military intervention.  The MSM will run stock footage from old school shootings for comparison, thus reminding the viewers what the governor claims to be fighting.  They might even claim that the confiscations are necessary to fight "global warming."  

If you want the real story to reach America and the world, you must film it and spread the story yourself. Do not rely on social media, smartphones, or other internet-based communication — just in case the stories about internet censorship turn out to be true.

For an example of the best response, we should look to Prague, 1968.  The Soviet crackdown at that time involved tanks rumbling through the streets of many Czechoslovakian cities.  The Czech citizen response is a model for at least a short-term response among the people of Virginia now.  When the Soviet tanks made their first appearance on August 21, 1968, the head of a Prague film school immediately gathered his students and distributed cameras and film.  He told the students that he did not know why there were tanks on the streets and that they might even be witnessing the beginning of World War III.  But he instructed them to take as many pictures and movies as they could and see to it that the film got out of the country to the rest of the world.

This use of citizen photography was very effective, as the record it created generated a backlash that softened the crackdown and united the citizens.  The best description of these events appears in the 1988 movie The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  If you have any desire to understand the events that we may be about to experience, watch this movie.  It will help provide a model for action.  But do not simply watch the movie on Netflix.  Get the DVD with the director's commentary.  This commentary tells the story of the photographs: how the student photographers, during the chaos, would hand their film to tourists on the sidewalks with the request that the tourists take the completed film back to their home countries for development and distribution.  The viewer sees this strategy dramatized by the actors in the movie.  The strategy is not clear without the commentary.  The strategy worked, as the movie-makers later found these images in countries all over the world.  Museums, schools, libraries, and media outlets throughout western Europe and North America ended up with pieces of the story recorded on film.  The world saw the horror firsthand as a result of these student photographers.   The Unbearable Lightness movie was made possible because of the contraband photographs and footage.  Clandestine audiences in Moscow eventually saw Unbearable Lightness (with its contraband footage) in the final years of the Cold War.

Today, we have an advantage that the people of Prague did not have.  We have advance warning.  We can obtain cameras in advance — cameras not dependent on the internet and that cannot be disabled remotely by the government-compliant tech giants.  We can plan now on how to spirit the film and memory cards away.  Virginia shares large borders with neighboring states, each with many possible exits.  Once safely out of Virginia, the film or memory cards can be e-mailed to your entire mailing list and shared on social media — and reshared repeatedly in the event of tech-giant censorship. 

We can plan our targets for photography now, including likely locations for (1) troop movements, (2) arrests, and (3) the checkpoints and long lines that inevitably accompany government crackdowns.  We can film local police as they are confronted and overwhelmed by the military.  Take and distribute many pictures.  It takes volume to make the news.  It takes volume to make history.  We can tell this story our way instead of depending on the government-compliant media. 

But there are caveats.  Do not expect the soldiers to stand down or disobey orders.  Do not shoot at soldiers.  You cannot win that way.  The media are looking for citizens to blame for escalating the violence.  Regardless of your political affiliation, you will be labeled an extremist who attacked "the troops."

Virginia will not be a free state for some time.  They let felons vote just for the sake of maintaining socialist control.  The best that we can do now is take our lumps, film the atrocities, and shame the rest of the country into avoiding this kind of notoriety.

Recent elections in Virginia have placed the Virginia government within arm's length of widespread gun confiscation.  Around eighty-four counties and cities throughout the Commonwealth have pledged to ignore and resist these measures.  Some Virginia elected officials have called for the National Guard to carry out such confiscation, which would imply the arrest and disarmament of local officials who get in the way.  Governor Northam has stopped short of adopting such an idea, but he will not rule it out.  Additional stories indicate that the government will disable internet and telephone access to affected areas during the crackdown.  The prison budget has been increased in anticipation of gun-related arrests.

While the idea of soldiers engaged in gun confiscation is not yet a reality, the proposal itself should alarm every sane person in this country.  Elected officials want to send large numbers of uniformed soldiers in combat gear and armored vehicles through residential streets in search of American citizens and their lawful possessions.  The hyperbolic political debates of recent years notwithstanding, government oppression has not yet reached the levels displayed by Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot.  But the Virginia gun confiscation discussion begins to come close.  The use of military tanks in residential streets for the purpose of overwhelming law-abiding citizens (and local police) would equal the oppression of Tiananmen Square or the 1968 Prague crackdown.

Democrat regimes have previously been willing to endure political backlash from the temporary use of military force against civilians.  Waco and Elián González bear witness to this recent history.  The proposed Virginia gun confiscation would be far more widespread, with more enduring consequences.

The real issue is how the citizens of Virginia and the rest of the country should respond.  It is safe to assume that other state governments are watching to see how far they can go when mere constitutional rights get in their way.  Nearby governors might even contribute their own troops to help Governor Northam.  A proper response would deter politically minded governors in other states and might even invite the federal government to intervene to protect individual rights before the Virginia crisis escalates.  Widespread discussion of this response now might even deter Northam from this military mobilization.

Any such military action would produce shocking imagery, but do not expect the story to tell itself.  The images and the facts will be heavily censored — the same way that every other worthwhile story is censored by the MSM.  What few images do get through will be overwhelmed by endless MSM commentary that blames law-abiding citizens for this military intervention.  The MSM will run stock footage from old school shootings for comparison, thus reminding the viewers what the governor claims to be fighting.  They might even claim that the confiscations are necessary to fight "global warming."  

If you want the real story to reach America and the world, you must film it and spread the story yourself. Do not rely on social media, smartphones, or other internet-based communication — just in case the stories about internet censorship turn out to be true.

For an example of the best response, we should look to Prague, 1968.  The Soviet crackdown at that time involved tanks rumbling through the streets of many Czechoslovakian cities.  The Czech citizen response is a model for at least a short-term response among the people of Virginia now.  When the Soviet tanks made their first appearance on August 21, 1968, the head of a Prague film school immediately gathered his students and distributed cameras and film.  He told the students that he did not know why there were tanks on the streets and that they might even be witnessing the beginning of World War III.  But he instructed them to take as many pictures and movies as they could and see to it that the film got out of the country to the rest of the world.

This use of citizen photography was very effective, as the record it created generated a backlash that softened the crackdown and united the citizens.  The best description of these events appears in the 1988 movie The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  If you have any desire to understand the events that we may be about to experience, watch this movie.  It will help provide a model for action.  But do not simply watch the movie on Netflix.  Get the DVD with the director's commentary.  This commentary tells the story of the photographs: how the student photographers, during the chaos, would hand their film to tourists on the sidewalks with the request that the tourists take the completed film back to their home countries for development and distribution.  The viewer sees this strategy dramatized by the actors in the movie.  The strategy is not clear without the commentary.  The strategy worked, as the movie-makers later found these images in countries all over the world.  Museums, schools, libraries, and media outlets throughout western Europe and North America ended up with pieces of the story recorded on film.  The world saw the horror firsthand as a result of these student photographers.   The Unbearable Lightness movie was made possible because of the contraband photographs and footage.  Clandestine audiences in Moscow eventually saw Unbearable Lightness (with its contraband footage) in the final years of the Cold War.

Today, we have an advantage that the people of Prague did not have.  We have advance warning.  We can obtain cameras in advance — cameras not dependent on the internet and that cannot be disabled remotely by the government-compliant tech giants.  We can plan now on how to spirit the film and memory cards away.  Virginia shares large borders with neighboring states, each with many possible exits.  Once safely out of Virginia, the film or memory cards can be e-mailed to your entire mailing list and shared on social media — and reshared repeatedly in the event of tech-giant censorship. 

We can plan our targets for photography now, including likely locations for (1) troop movements, (2) arrests, and (3) the checkpoints and long lines that inevitably accompany government crackdowns.  We can film local police as they are confronted and overwhelmed by the military.  Take and distribute many pictures.  It takes volume to make the news.  It takes volume to make history.  We can tell this story our way instead of depending on the government-compliant media. 

But there are caveats.  Do not expect the soldiers to stand down or disobey orders.  Do not shoot at soldiers.  You cannot win that way.  The media are looking for citizens to blame for escalating the violence.  Regardless of your political affiliation, you will be labeled an extremist who attacked "the troops."

Virginia will not be a free state for some time.  They let felons vote just for the sake of maintaining socialist control.  The best that we can do now is take our lumps, film the atrocities, and shame the rest of the country into avoiding this kind of notoriety.