After enduring hours of derision and mockery by the panelists at a Chicago-area guns “forum” Sunday, one man in the audience stood up and addressed the crowd, identified himself as a veteran, and proceeded to give a straightforward but passionate defense of his support for the First and Second Amendments.
The forum, despite having been marketed by the organizers from the New Trier Democrats as a “space for real conversation,” had until then allowed for anything but discussion.
Countless snide remarks and dubious facts were placed on powerpoint slides as the audience, largely filled with NRA supporters, were repeatedly “shushed” and told to write any questions down for a later Q&A.
Still, as time went on, and especially after speaker Bill Jenkins placed a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia on the screen with the caption, “this is what a gun show looks like,” and after he had put a picture of a chihuahua with the words “this is what I think the NRA really is” up, the crowd had nearly had it.
Finally, when panelist Lee Goodman of the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition responded to a question about the original reasons for including the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights by saying “it didn’t matter [what their intentions were],” it was enough for the combat veteran to speak up:
Veteran: Sir, sir. While you’re standing up. I’ve sat here [inaudible] and I’d like to agree with the professor. Everyone standing in this room right now, especially the veterans in the room right now, know, that we are all Americans. The problem with this country right now is it’s us and it’s f***ing them. We need to stop this crap.
Now, the thing I would like you to answer, sir. And I did go to war for this country. Whether it was for everyone in here’s ability to have oil and gas in their cars, or the banks, or whatever. I went to war for my country.
And I went to war for your ability to have the First Amendment, to say what you stood up there and said today, to write what you want to write in your newspaper, and have whatever opinion you want to have. You can practice whatever religious freedoms you want. I would like you to answer the question, since you just said that one of the rights that I went to war over to defend, that is inalienable, to every American citizen. If this discussion was going on, about your First Amendment rights, would you still have the same opinion that we don’t need that any more either.
Goodman: You didn’t hear my answer….that’s not what I said…I said it doesn’t matter what their reasons are, what matters is whether or not it’s relevant today.
Audience member: It’s an eternal truth, an eternal truth….
Goodman: When they consider any part of the Constitution, any law, they’re going to say, “what does it mean today?”
Veteran: The threat of tyranny, today, is no less than at the turn of the century in 1900, in 1800, or in 1700!
Reporter Kathy Routliffe of the Wilmette Life described the event as a “raucous afternoon of anti-gun control activists heckling and jeering at panelists.” If only Routliffe had chosen to provide her readers with the panelists’ inflammatory remarks that led up to the combat veteran’s speech.
(WAJ adds — The image above reminds me of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech painting)
And additional video at An Army of Davy Crocketts and Annie Oakleys