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If you recognize the name of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, you might be remembering that the Aryan Nation marched through its streets twenty years ago. It also has a colorful history and is named after an American Indian tribe. Most recently, though, it has gained attention as it takes up arms against Black Lives Matter.
When BLM decided to organize protestors in the town in June, the locals wanted to be sure that the town was protected. One resident shared the following impressions from June 2:
We just drove downtown Coeur d’Alene. It is packed with armed citizens. I’ve never seen so many AR-15s in my life. There’s at least one thousand armed citizens walking on the sidewalks and the streets are packed with cars and trucks with guys in the back with AR-15 and American flags everywhere. We saw two protesters wearing their little black clothing and black masks and sitting on a step quietly with their little poster board sign saying ‘our system sucks!’ Guess why they’re being so polite.
As many as 300 armed citizens at a time arrived to discourage looting and violence.
In spite of the small number of black people in the town, white citizens showed up to support BLM after the hoopla about George Floyd. Some activists claimed to be intimidated by the armed residents, while others were relieved to know that they would be protected if violence broke out.
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A number of thoughts came up for me when I read this story. First, Black Lives Matter is bringing in many of its protestors from the outside to several rural towns; BLM is becoming ubiquitous. Second, there were no reports of problems with the armed citizens who were there; Idaho is an open-carry state. Third, in doing my research, I discovered a surprising number of states allow open carry, ranging from no requirements to apply for a permit or license, to states that had some restrictions. For lists of those states and requirements, you can go here and here.
As I look around at the relentless, illegal and unconstitutional actions of BLM and Antifa, and the tepid response of state and community leaders, if any response at all, a demonstration of force might be appropriate. If some of these officials see that citizens are willing to push back, maybe they would start to take action, like arresting rioters, empowering and supporting their police departments, and holding others accountable for their disruptions and violence. Gun carriers would need to be coached on the best ways to engage (or not engage) the protestors to minimize the possibility of triggering an event.
I realize that encouraging citizens to take up arms is a risky proposition. My goal would be to shame officials into acting and that after an initial demonstration of force, government officials would do their jobs. At that point, I might be satisfied in encouraging the armed citizens to stand down.
What do you think? Is it time to take up arms?Published in