Yesterday I published a hasty summary of my thoughts on the recent drama surrounding professional attention whore Adam Kokesh. I want to tease out a couple of conversations threads that developed in the comments on that post, starting first with a more thoughtful look on the entire situation. The first, and most important point I want to make is that I absolutely believe that after the video of Kokesh loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza aired, he absolutely and 100% should have been investigated and, if sufficient evidence was found to prove he committed a crime, arrested. I also believe David Gregory should have been arrested for bringing a 30 round magazine into DC. Here’s the important fact: just because a law is unjust does not mean you automatically get to escape the consequences of breaking that law. Many civil rights activists were arrested, sometimes intentionally, specifically to bring attention to the injustice inherent in the system. So now, I don’t really have a problem with Adam Kokesh being searched and arrested. Do I have a problem with how the arrest was carried out? Yes, but a discussion of the militarization of the police is beyond the scope of Gun Nuts.
More importantly, I want to talk about my criticism of Adam Kokesh, and it’s something I alluded to in the first line of this post. Nothing about his past activism history or any of his publicly released material indicates that he’s involved in any cause for any reason other than “Get more attention for Adam Kokesh.” Which hey, I’m not going to judge people for making a buck, everyone has to eat. But when you set yourself up as a defender of the
faith liberty, and start acting like you’re suddenly a leader in this movement, that’s where I’m going to call BS. Adam Kokesh isn’t how we win the battle for gun rights in this nation.
Look at Illinois. They have shall-issue concealed carry now. If you told me five years ago that I’d be writing about Illinois new shall-issue law, I’d have laughed in your face. That law wasn’t brought into existence by someone like Adam Kokesh. It was brought to life by thousands of citizens of the state of Illinois that you’ll never know, who called, faxed, mailed, and talked to their legislators. It was brought to life by hard working lobbyists from the Illinois State Rifle Association and the NRA who made sure that legislators heard the voices of their constituents. It’s not a perfect bill, but that’s okay. I asked yesterday in the comments “what’s the best way to eat an elephant?” The answer of course is “one bite at a time.” That’s what Illinois represents – a bite out of the elephant. We take more bites, fix the parts of the bill that aren’t good, because now we can do that. Instead of fighting in Illinois just to have the right to carry, now we can fight to make sure the right is extended as far as possible.
We remember Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks as heroes of the civil rights movement, and it’s well that we should. We don’t remember the thousands of people who worked to support King. We forget that Rosa Parks didn’t just one day refuse to give up her seat, but that she was an activist, chosen because the NAACP believed she was the best candidate to get through the court system. We forget the shoulders of thousands of American activists on which our legends are perched…and that’s okay. Those people didn’t want to be remembered, they didn’t want to be heroes. All they wanted to do was change their world, and they succeeded.
Today, as we’re overwhelmed with information on Facebbook, Twitter, and the internet at large, it’s much easier for people to find a platform on which to grandstand. People like Adam Kokesh don’t want to change their world. All they want is for the world to pay attention to them, like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. It is a far better fate to be forgotten by history and have changed your world than to be remembered as a fool.