Blame Game Set for Va. Gov. Northam's Gun-Free Kill Zone

The political battle lines have been drawn over Virginia governor Ralph Northam's declaration of an emergency kill zone on the Capitol grounds for Lobby Day, Jan. 20.  As of Friday night, after a Virginia district court rejected a legal challenge to the governor's gun ban, the ban appears to be in place, unless a last-ditch appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court can succeed in overturning the ban this weekend.

As it stands, an area bounded by 9th, Broad, Bank, and Governor streets around the Richmond Capitol has been declared an emergency gun-free zone.  One section of the appeal to the Supreme Court argues:

These events merely underscore the Petitioners['] concern raised at oral argument before the trial court, that people who choose to show up armed to Lobby Day — and there will be many who seek to — will be forced by this EO into the unprotected chaos of the surrounding streets, rather than the "shelter" of the Capitol grounds.  The EO's ban on firearms on the grounds for this permitted event has increased the risk of problems despite the purported justification of "avoiding another Charlottesville."

Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, discussed the logistics of the rally on the Cam Edwards YouTube channel on Thursday:

... 9th Street is right there, that's the street that touches the Capitol square ... 9th street will be blocked off so that people can stand there and they will be able to hear the speakers[.] ... If you are on that street, you can carry[.]

Capitol police expect to funnel as many as 10,000 people through magnetometers into the outdoor gun-free kill zone that will be contained by fencing around the Capitol grounds.  Thus, any violent extremists motivated by mass murder will be able legally to carry their weapons onto 9th Street and have a free fire zone into the trapped and defenseless crowd. 

Similarly, it will be legal to carry anywhere on the streets surrounding the kill zone.  Trapping people in an enclosure won't make them safe, and the prospect of mixing bad and good actors in the streets is an object lesson in the futility of gun-free zones.

On Lobby Day, should people need to escape the gun-free kill zone, they will be funneled into exit choke points along the fence, where they will be vulnerable to further concentrated violence.  This is the same type of plan used in Charlottesville to trap Unite the Right demonstrators behind metal barricades, and then to funnel them through exits targeted by the Antifa mob. 

The only people who might be protected by this plan will be the people inside the Capitol building itself — i.e., mainly lawmakers. 

On Wednesday, in his prepared remarks, Gov. Northam went to significant lengths to justify the emergency declaration and explicitly tied the current threats to similarities with the events in Charlottesville in 2017:

[W]e have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday.  This includes out of state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.  They are not coming to peacefully protest.  They are coming to intimidate and cause harm.  State intelligence analysts have identified threats and violent rhetoric similar to what has been seen before other major events such as Charlottesville. 

After warning of unspecified haters, Gov. Northam then made a vague and confusing reference to various "off-line and on-line" sites in "mainstream" but "dark web" channels as the source of the intelligence.  This was followed by an incoherent non sequitur about some unknown "conversations" involving "conspiracy theories":

This intelligence comes from main stream channels, both off-line and on-line, such as alternative dark web channels used by violent groups and white nationalists from outside Virginia.  These conversations are fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Thus, on Wednesday, Gov. Northam threw the first grenade in the blame game.  The Democrats' political tactics are straight from the Charlottesville playbook.  First, prior to a legal rally, delegitimize your opponents by calling them dangerous extremists, haters, and intimidators, then paint your opponents  as outsiders, and then warn them to stay away from "your" territory.  Lastly, set up your opponents to take the blame should anything violent happen.

In his remarks, Gov. Northam set up some unspecified infiltrators as dangerous white nationalists who may be coming here to do harm.  On Wednesday, the Zman blog presented a cogent analysis of the problems associated with calling someone a white nationalist.  Peter Brimelow of VDare is suing the New York Times for $5 million in damages for libel after the paper repeatedly called him a white nationalist. 

Who defines, and how do you define, a white nationalist?  Is it a libel to call someone a white nationalist or not?  Gov. Northam is going with the libel angle.  If "white nationalist" is not a slur on your character, then the term must represent a legitimate identity, and that doesn't get you very far in declaring a state of emergency against white nationalist invaders. 

So he is using the term as a libel, and a specific libel to mean that white nationalists, by virtue of being white, are racists, as opposed to some other kind of nationalists who are not white and not racists.

The hypocrisy about racism here is absolutely staggering.  After initially apologizing for being in a medical school yearbook photo painted in blackface (standing next to someone in a KKK costume, or perhaps being the one in the KKK costume), he later recanted the admission, and a private investigation costing $368,000 (paid for by the state medical school) said there was no conclusive evidence that it was Gov. Northam in the photo.  He now claims that he doesn't know how the picture appeared on his personal yearbook page, though he also claims that he did darken his face that same year to dress up as Michael Jackson.

Though there were bipartisan calls for his resignation, after creating a new top advisory position for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and after hiring a black woman to be the first ever director in the position, Gov. Northam saved his job.  Now Gov. Northam is wholly owned by the race industry.  He has no choice but to define white nationalists as evil. 

Could he be sued for libel by someone who is in Richmond on Monday?  What if it gets out where you work that you went to Lobby Day with the white nationalists?  Might you face job discrimination as a white nationalist?

Gov. Northam was not done setting up targets for blame.  He's also lining up the VCDL for blame should anything go badly on Monday.  After stating that he believes the VCDL when it says it intends this to be a peaceful event, he said this:

Unfortunately, they have unleashed something much larger, something that they may not be able to control.  And so I call on them to disavow anyone who wishes to use Monday's rally to advance a violent agenda, and I call on them to discourage people from other states from coming to Virginia with violent intent. Hate, intimidation, and violence have no place here.

As it turns out, it's actually the Democrats who have unleashed something much larger, something that they may not be able to control.  In fact, they may have created a national opposition movement.  Lawmakers in West Virginia have invited Virginia counties to leave Virginia and rejoin their historical family, a prospect that is entirely possible.

According to news reports, the VCDL's Van Cleave responded to the governor by saying:

Excuse me, the governor caused all of this stuff[.] ... This is on him, not on us.  All of these people are stirred up because of what he is doing, trying to remove guns from law-abiding citizens.

Notice that Gov. Northam is using a Stalinist tactic when he requests that private citizens disavow people they don't even know.  The implication is that if you don't become a state-controlled denouncer, a stooge of the government, you will be held responsible for anything bad that happens when you express your First Amendment rights.

Moreover, the governor is requesting that the VCDL discourage people from other states from coming to Virginia.  This is a double-whammy.  You must disavow and discourage, or you will be held accountable.

In another part of his remarks, Gov. Northam said,

Now, I call on the Virginia Citizens Defense League and its members to follow the NRA's example, and make your event a peaceful display too[.] ... Please do not dishonor Virginia or your cause.

So let me get this straight.  Gov. Northam has declared a state of emergency based on credible threats from the dark web that violent white nationalist militias may storm the capitol in response to his anti-gun legislation, and somehow the VCDL is supposed to be responsible because he claims it's "your event."   

The pre-emptive blame game now is in full swing.  It sounds as though Gov. Northam is going with his yearbook strategy.  I don't know how this happened!  Someone else must have done it!  Blame him!

Image: Craig via Flickr.

The political battle lines have been drawn over Virginia governor Ralph Northam's declaration of an emergency kill zone on the Capitol grounds for Lobby Day, Jan. 20.  As of Friday night, after a Virginia district court rejected a legal challenge to the governor's gun ban, the ban appears to be in place, unless a last-ditch appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court can succeed in overturning the ban this weekend.

As it stands, an area bounded by 9th, Broad, Bank, and Governor streets around the Richmond Capitol has been declared an emergency gun-free zone.  One section of the appeal to the Supreme Court argues:

These events merely underscore the Petitioners['] concern raised at oral argument before the trial court, that people who choose to show up armed to Lobby Day — and there will be many who seek to — will be forced by this EO into the unprotected chaos of the surrounding streets, rather than the "shelter" of the Capitol grounds.  The EO's ban on firearms on the grounds for this permitted event has increased the risk of problems despite the purported justification of "avoiding another Charlottesville."

Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, discussed the logistics of the rally on the Cam Edwards YouTube channel on Thursday:

... 9th Street is right there, that's the street that touches the Capitol square ... 9th street will be blocked off so that people can stand there and they will be able to hear the speakers[.] ... If you are on that street, you can carry[.]

Capitol police expect to funnel as many as 10,000 people through magnetometers into the outdoor gun-free kill zone that will be contained by fencing around the Capitol grounds.  Thus, any violent extremists motivated by mass murder will be able legally to carry their weapons onto 9th Street and have a free fire zone into the trapped and defenseless crowd. 

Similarly, it will be legal to carry anywhere on the streets surrounding the kill zone.  Trapping people in an enclosure won't make them safe, and the prospect of mixing bad and good actors in the streets is an object lesson in the futility of gun-free zones.

On Lobby Day, should people need to escape the gun-free kill zone, they will be funneled into exit choke points along the fence, where they will be vulnerable to further concentrated violence.  This is the same type of plan used in Charlottesville to trap Unite the Right demonstrators behind metal barricades, and then to funnel them through exits targeted by the Antifa mob. 

The only people who might be protected by this plan will be the people inside the Capitol building itself — i.e., mainly lawmakers. 

On Wednesday, in his prepared remarks, Gov. Northam went to significant lengths to justify the emergency declaration and explicitly tied the current threats to similarities with the events in Charlottesville in 2017:

[W]e have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday.  This includes out of state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.  They are not coming to peacefully protest.  They are coming to intimidate and cause harm.  State intelligence analysts have identified threats and violent rhetoric similar to what has been seen before other major events such as Charlottesville. 

After warning of unspecified haters, Gov. Northam then made a vague and confusing reference to various "off-line and on-line" sites in "mainstream" but "dark web" channels as the source of the intelligence.  This was followed by an incoherent non sequitur about some unknown "conversations" involving "conspiracy theories":

This intelligence comes from main stream channels, both off-line and on-line, such as alternative dark web channels used by violent groups and white nationalists from outside Virginia.  These conversations are fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Thus, on Wednesday, Gov. Northam threw the first grenade in the blame game.  The Democrats' political tactics are straight from the Charlottesville playbook.  First, prior to a legal rally, delegitimize your opponents by calling them dangerous extremists, haters, and intimidators, then paint your opponents  as outsiders, and then warn them to stay away from "your" territory.  Lastly, set up your opponents to take the blame should anything violent happen.

In his remarks, Gov. Northam set up some unspecified infiltrators as dangerous white nationalists who may be coming here to do harm.  On Wednesday, the Zman blog presented a cogent analysis of the problems associated with calling someone a white nationalist.  Peter Brimelow of VDare is suing the New York Times for $5 million in damages for libel after the paper repeatedly called him a white nationalist. 

Who defines, and how do you define, a white nationalist?  Is it a libel to call someone a white nationalist or not?  Gov. Northam is going with the libel angle.  If "white nationalist" is not a slur on your character, then the term must represent a legitimate identity, and that doesn't get you very far in declaring a state of emergency against white nationalist invaders. 

So he is using the term as a libel, and a specific libel to mean that white nationalists, by virtue of being white, are racists, as opposed to some other kind of nationalists who are not white and not racists.

The hypocrisy about racism here is absolutely staggering.  After initially apologizing for being in a medical school yearbook photo painted in blackface (standing next to someone in a KKK costume, or perhaps being the one in the KKK costume), he later recanted the admission, and a private investigation costing $368,000 (paid for by the state medical school) said there was no conclusive evidence that it was Gov. Northam in the photo.  He now claims that he doesn't know how the picture appeared on his personal yearbook page, though he also claims that he did darken his face that same year to dress up as Michael Jackson.

Though there were bipartisan calls for his resignation, after creating a new top advisory position for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and after hiring a black woman to be the first ever director in the position, Gov. Northam saved his job.  Now Gov. Northam is wholly owned by the race industry.  He has no choice but to define white nationalists as evil. 

Could he be sued for libel by someone who is in Richmond on Monday?  What if it gets out where you work that you went to Lobby Day with the white nationalists?  Might you face job discrimination as a white nationalist?

Gov. Northam was not done setting up targets for blame.  He's also lining up the VCDL for blame should anything go badly on Monday.  After stating that he believes the VCDL when it says it intends this to be a peaceful event, he said this:

Unfortunately, they have unleashed something much larger, something that they may not be able to control.  And so I call on them to disavow anyone who wishes to use Monday's rally to advance a violent agenda, and I call on them to discourage people from other states from coming to Virginia with violent intent. Hate, intimidation, and violence have no place here.

As it turns out, it's actually the Democrats who have unleashed something much larger, something that they may not be able to control.  In fact, they may have created a national opposition movement.  Lawmakers in West Virginia have invited Virginia counties to leave Virginia and rejoin their historical family, a prospect that is entirely possible.

According to news reports, the VCDL's Van Cleave responded to the governor by saying:

Excuse me, the governor caused all of this stuff[.] ... This is on him, not on us.  All of these people are stirred up because of what he is doing, trying to remove guns from law-abiding citizens.

Notice that Gov. Northam is using a Stalinist tactic when he requests that private citizens disavow people they don't even know.  The implication is that if you don't become a state-controlled denouncer, a stooge of the government, you will be held responsible for anything bad that happens when you express your First Amendment rights.

Moreover, the governor is requesting that the VCDL discourage people from other states from coming to Virginia.  This is a double-whammy.  You must disavow and discourage, or you will be held accountable.

In another part of his remarks, Gov. Northam said,

Now, I call on the Virginia Citizens Defense League and its members to follow the NRA's example, and make your event a peaceful display too[.] ... Please do not dishonor Virginia or your cause.

So let me get this straight.  Gov. Northam has declared a state of emergency based on credible threats from the dark web that violent white nationalist militias may storm the capitol in response to his anti-gun legislation, and somehow the VCDL is supposed to be responsible because he claims it's "your event."   

The pre-emptive blame game now is in full swing.  It sounds as though Gov. Northam is going with his yearbook strategy.  I don't know how this happened!  Someone else must have done it!  Blame him!

Image: Craig via Flickr.