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October 24, 2014

Day of Resistance

(This is Part one of our Day of Resistance coverage. You can read Part Two here.)

The date 2/23 was originally chosen for “Day of Resistance” rallies across the US because the .223 is the ammunition used in the popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Alaska organized events in both Fairbanks and Wasilla this year, protesting the federal government’s attempts to regulate firearms and showing support for the 2nd Amendment. The Fairbanks rally at Veterans Memorial Park was organized by The Oath Keepers, a pro-second amendment group made up mostly of veterans and headed up by David Luntz and Donny Meeks. Luntz maintained a Facebook page promoting the Fairbanks event:

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Cover photo for the Day of Resistance 2014 Facebook page

At first light last Sunday, Fairbanks was a brisk -20 degrees, but by 1pm the sun was shining on the northernmost “Day of Resistance.” The park’s Bicentennial gazebo would serve as the day’s soap box, festooned with patriotic and historical flags. Other flags attached to poles had been stuck in snow berms, available for those wanting to walk around the block, or wave them at passing traffic. The traditional yellow Gadsden flag, associated with The Tea Party, was the most heavily represented.

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While the the three hour rally officially focused on the 2nd amendment, scheduled speakers addressed a wide variety of topics such as jury nullification, using public funds for religious and private education, hemp legalization, federal overreach, state tyranny, and disaster preparedness.

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Event organizers David Luntz (holding flag), Donny Meeks (front) and other resistors gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Fairbanks.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT, AND ARMING TEACHERS

David Luntz, a member of the Oath Keepers and Central Alaska Militia spoke with The Mudflats about his vision for expanded gun rights, arming teachers in schools, and how the rest of the nation views Alaska on matters of the Second Amendment and gun laws.

“Personally, I think we need to arm our teachers or have some faculty in the school armed to protect our children.”

EXECUTIVE POWER AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Lonny Meeks spoke briefly about the President, the Affordable Care Act, what he believed were constitutional violations via executive order, and a congress he believes is complicit in allowing unconstitutional behavior.

“He takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and some of the things he has done – executive orders – completely in violation of the Constitution. For example, this health care thing – I refuse to use his name – the health care law. The executive branch cannot change law, and he has done that numerous times. And Article 6 in the Constution talks about our representatives in Congress. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution, but where are they at when the President of the United States has thus far violated the Constitution, and his oath?”

He then went on to describe an incident that happened in the 1930s in which the government had used military force against veterans of World War I who were demonstrating at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. He urged those present to watch the PBS documentary called The March of the Bonus Army. “Don’t think the military won’t be used against veterans – against the Oath Keepers,” he said.

The Oath Keepers, Meeks explained, are currently organizing into “Civilian Preservation Teams” or “Community Preparedness Teams” to aid citizens in times of crisis. He asked those present how many knew how to filter drinking water to make it safe, or make biofuel out of vegetable oil. He pointed out that veterans could teach others skills like CPR, emergency management, and could foster communications using ham and CB radios in areas like rural Alaska which may not have enough state troopers to handle a crisis.

“When the crap hits the fan, who’s going to help us?” he asked. “I remember a long time ago, when I was growing up, we helped each other. We didn’t stand there and look for handouts. We’ve become an entitlement society, which is totally wrong. We don’t need the government to give us handouts and provide for us. We can provide for each other, and that’s what we need to do in our communities.”

THE HISTORY OF TYRANNY AND PERSONAL LIBERTY

Aaron Bennett, a self-described individual rights activist and owner of Alaska Tactical Training, criticized government and all politicians across the board with a brief but expansive history of tyranny beginning with King John and the signing of the Magna Carta. Not even the day’s featured speaker, Joe Miller, escaped Bennett’s criticism.

“We’re all sitting here waiting for Joe Miller to show up at 3:30, so he can tell everybody not what great things he’s going to do, but what great things he’s going to prevent Mark Begich from doing. And all it is, is a game of which way we’re going to point the gun. And we come up here and say, ‘Oh, they’re taking our gun rights! We need to get guys in there that’ll point the gun this way, and take away their rights instead of ours!’ But in the end state, everybody’s losing their rights – any way you look at it- because a majority of people can tell a minority of people what to do with their lives. We’re not serfs. No man deserves to lord over another one.”

INTERMISSION

Between speakers, attendees mixed and mingled. The mood was convivial and full of smiles. Even people who’d figured out I’m a liberal blogger (I told the truth when asked) were unfailingly polite and more curious than hostile. Music streamed from the gazebo—an odd mix ranging from Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, to Darryl Worley’s Have You Forgotten (when those towers fell).

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There were several (incredibly well-behaved) children present, who had fun running through the deep snowpack with American flags and Gadsden flags streaming behind.

PUBLIC FUNDS FOR RELIGIOUS AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Barbara Haney was the education speaker, and had nothing nice to say about Common Core or Governor Sean Parnell, who she said ushered it into the state. In this, she shared the sentiments of many on the left.

She also asked people to contact their legislators to support a resolution amending the Alaska State Constitution to allow for public monies to be used to fund religious and private schools, which is now explicitly prohibited in the constitution.

“A lot of people think, ‘religion. This is not something I want my money to go to—religions that I don’t believe in.’ Well, let’s talk about religion. Everybody has a religion. Everybody has a religion because everybody believes in something. You cannot go through life without believing in something. You cannot be neutral. There is no such thing as neutrality when it comes to teaching… Even if you say you believe in nothing, if you’re an agnostic, that is a belief.”

JURY NULLIFICATION AND LEGALIZATION OF HEMP

Frank Turney, a well known Fairbanks local, spoke to his pet issue—jury nullification. He handed out pamphlets with the title, “Who Owns Your Body?” which states, in part:

“The Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights make it clear that government has no authority to own or manage our bodies. Individual ownership rights extend to decisions for your body, defense of your body, health care choices, privacy, gun possession on your person, body decoration, alternative medicines and supplements, vaccinations, and more. Laws claiming government ownership of your body demonstrate that the greatest threat to human rights is always from one’s own government. 

You as one individual, cannot do much to effect legislation. But as a juror, YOU can effectively defend each person’s absolute ownership of his or her body. One person can ‘hang’ a jury by refusing to convict.”

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He also spoke about another issue dear to his heart, the legalization of industrial hemp.

 “I buy my hemp products at Fred Meyer – I buy hemp bread, hemp chocolate milk, hemp vanilla milk, hemp granola bars, hemp soap, hemp shampoo – and everything’s imported. Alaskans should be growing hemp fibers and oils right here… One thing about hemp, it’s the fastest growing biomass on earth today. In 3-4 months, 10 tons per acre. Boy, you talk about biofuels – and about 25,000 other products made from hemp.”

FREEMASONS AS THE ENEMY OF CHRISTIANITY; HOMOPHOBIA; AND ANARCHY 

Open mic time produced a spectator who felt passionate about freemasons.

“Freemasons have been viewed for the past thousand years as a threat to all religion, but especially the Christian religion – all denominations. We have a freemasonic building in this town! These people repress our first amendment, they force us to support gay marriage in our schools. I was thrown out of my classroom numerous times for opposing gay marriage. Yet, the impious libertines who try to hijack the libertarian movement demand we support it, and if we don’t support it, we’re homophobes…”

 THE LINE IN THE SAND AND THE THREE PERCENT

Another attendee took the mic and addressed the issue of personal commitment to a cause. “I’m not giving up anything,” he said. “I’ve put that line in the sand, and I’m prepared to die in defense of what I believe in.”

“There’s not a lot of us here today, but we should congratulate each other. We’re the ones who came out. We’re that 3% in America who actually came out and supported this.  So the rest of the 97% that aren’t here should be ashamed, because we’re the ones standing up for their rights. And I will continue. If I’m the only person out here, I’ll be that 3% standing out here. So thank you for everybody that did come.”

U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE JOE MILLER

Joe Miller and his wife Kathleen arrived after their earlier appearance at Wasilla’s Day of Resistance. Miller spoke with The Mudflats and discussed issues on which his candidacy and libertarian ideals overlap with progressive priorities. While this notion may seem counterintuitive and perhaps horrifying to both sides in this radically polarized and partisan climate, the exclusive interview will be posted later today and readers can judge for themselves.

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Joe and Kathleen Miller arrive at the event from a sister rally in Wasilla.

Organizer David Luntz said he invited many state senators as well as U.S. senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, and all Republican candidates for senate running against Mark Begich this year. “Unfortunately, no one else [except Miller] found it important enough to come out,” he said.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Senate candidate Joe Miller talks to supporters.

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Showing support for the second amendment, and Alaska’s non-restrictive gun laws.

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Frank Turney

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Snow boots, Joe Miller style.

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Organizer David Luntz, and speaker Aaron Bennett.

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Younger attendees having fun in the snow.

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The Gadsden “snake” flag, in camo!

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The Ft. Moultrie Liberty Flag – http://www.motherbedford.com/Flags10.htm

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Jury nullification and hemp advocate Frank Turney speaks to those assembled.

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Speaker Aaron Bennett.

Comments

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Comments
18 Responses to “Day of Resistance”
  1. JHypers says:

    There’s a lot to go on with the notion of a spill-over from libertarian ideals to progressive notions. One really has to look at politics as a circle rather than a linear continuum. For example, those on the extreme right of Austrian economics or anarcho-capitalists are about one perspective away from being extreme left libertarians or anarcho-communists….and vice versa.

    Where the trouble comes in – and this is where I think Aaron Bennett deserves some credit for articulating it – is when one of the sides wants “the gun.” Functionally, it does not matter who is elected to congress, who is president, or who sits on the supreme court, when the end result is always “the gun” being pointed at someone else. “The gun” is of course the nature of authority, regardless if it is democratically elected, summarily declared as a divine right, or simply taken by brute force and understood as a given, with routine demonstrations to make sure it sinks in with the populace (i.e. the medieval method). With that in mind, when people such as myself advocate the ultimate sense of self/bodily defense (un-infringed ownership of firearms), it is not without a tremendous sense of irony that we simultaneously advocate for authority (the government/state/whatever) to put down its guns. To successfully defend such notions requires an extremely heightened sense of ethics, and the ability to justify perspectives by reverting to first principles. In other words, the philosophy must be sound, and it doesn’t attain this status by theorizing from the cave of solitary interaction with one’s own mind – it must face critical reception from many other minds, acid tests, and Deming-esque models of continuous improvement. Ideologies that fail to undergo this process….will do just that.

    Pi – I disagree with your view on jury nullification, based on my perspective that, while it is the right of a jury to nullify written law, it is NOT the right of a jury to nullify the facts of a case. Assuming equal justice under the law (which was hazy at best in the southern states at times in history), I do not see how one person could be, for example, convicted of murder based on one set of hard evidence that justifies conviction under the law, while another person is found not guilty of murder based on a set of similar (yet just as truthful) hard evidence that justifies conviction, without chucking the whole notion of murder as a crime. In other words, jury nullification cannot be valid unless all the facts of a case are accepted, and it is focused directly at the law as written. Functionally, I see jury nullification as having the same effect or force as an appeal by a higher court…wherein neither plaintiff nor defendant can raise any question of fact – only questions of law.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      JHypers-
      Actually, jury nullification involves ignoring the facts of a case.

      “Jury nullification occurs in a trial when a jury acquits a defendant they believe to be guilty of the charges against them. This may occur when members of the jury disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case. A jury can similarly convict a defendant on the ground of disagreement with an existing law, even if no law is broken (although in jurisdictions with double jeopardy rules, a conviction can be overturned on appeal, but an acquittal cannot).

      A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

      and see a good overview at :
      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/jury+nullification

      Also, juries don’t have an explicit right to nullify as they are charged with finding the facts of a case, not the law which pertains to it- the court finds the law and juries are supposed to see whether the facts fit guilt/innocence in relation to the law.
      They do have the power ( power doesn’t always flow from a right ) to ignore the facts and it has been used by plenty of juries.
      I personally agree with you about the facts-must-be-accounted-for in a verdict but what we think doesn’t mean doodly-squat in this instance.
      The jury I sat on thought it was a-ok for an adult to strike and seriously hurt a pre-teen who swore at him when the adult came to the house to do violence to another adult who lived there. Those folks thought
      1- no child should ever sass an adult
      2- that no matter that they all understood the facts of the case, assault and battery was not the issue, a child sassing an adult was and they were prepared to send the asshat defendant on his merry way.
      Damn trial took a day and a half. Time in the jury room was two and a half days and other than 2 folks who finally actually agreed with me, the rest of em just finally gave in to be done with it. I said I would go for a hung jury but these dips didn’t want to appear indecisive to the judge. Crimenently!!!!!!
      They were not trying to nullify assault and battery law but they were trying to say it didn’t matter because their “Christian” principles superceded the law-of-man. They were trying to decide the law- NOT the facts. It was a load of horsepunky.
      And all of it makes me very, very leery about jury nullification no matter what the outcome is.
      we need to change laws- we change em. We don’t do this gobbeldeygook playing around in a jury room.

      • JHypers says:

        This particular case you were a juror for reveals the disturbing nature of adults who find it perfectly acceptable to hit their children, and the depths they are willing to go to justify it.

        I guess what I see as the missing component here regarding jury nullification is there has to be a superior law which the jury can refer to when nullifying an inferior law. Something along the lines of “[Superior Law Here] trumps the law/statute/regulation being applied in this case, therefore we aquit this person being charged under it.”

        “Also, juries don’t have an explicit right to nullify as they are charged with finding the facts of a case, not the law which pertains to it.”

        Not true in all states. Alaska does not have the wording, but Indiana does:

        “Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.” (http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/const/art1.html)

        So does Art. I, Section 16 of Oregon’s constitution, though court direction is cited:

        “In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases.” (https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/Pages/OrConst.aspx)

        I view all this in a similar manner to gun rights. It’s there, and it’s useful for many, but can be taken advantage of by questionable sorts, to say the least.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    You can get an AR platform that will load a .50 caliber Beowulf,described as a mini Polaris missile. Maybe these goons should have held their resistance day on the 50th day of any month that doesn’t end in a vowel or consonant.

  3. Alaska Pi says:

    Well, this was interesting, even if I pretty much disagree with what the speakers said in the videos/transcripts.
    Glad you were there AKM.
    The jury nullification dealie really bugs me. For various reasons, not the least of which goes back to a nasty experience I had as a juror. Somebody want to tell me why I had to argue for two and a half days that Christian “rights” to beat children who sass an adult do not trump assault law? Pfft! on juries deciding the law as well as the facts!
    More objectively, it bugs me because it has a VERY checkered history. While it is currently presumed a jury has the power to nullify, it is not yet presumed it has the right to do so and . I think, for very good reasons.
    One can point to the “good” outcomes for specific people as relate to the Fugitive Slave Act and others but one must also point to endless trials in the south where overwhelming evidence against defendants was ignored by juries and white murderers of black people were set free by juries.
    Also too- jury nullification doesn’t set precedent the way other decisions do- it operates as a single instance unless it becomes a very common response to a specific law/set of laws.
    I’m pretty tired of the idea that legislators can’t legislate or shouldn’t legislate. I do agree they often legislate a pile o crap we have to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort getting rid of/changing/stopping but that is not the same as saying we should do an end run around the system and pretend we can change the law through a back door.
    Also, too, even, and as well- what’s up with the so-called strict constitutionalist notions that the courts exceed their authority and “make law” all too often and yet jury nullification is a-ok? Not that any of the speakers here proposed that set of contradictions…
    And , as always, I wish folks would define clearly what they mean by freedom, liberty, and the like instead of just slinging the words around.
    Mr Luntz partially did and while I disagree with him, at least he articulated more clearly what he thinks than happens most of the time… including a couple of the speakers here.
    Is always interesting to get a window on what others think and some of the whys.
    Thanks AKM.

    • David Luntz says:

      Thank you Pi. Its understandable that some do not agree with my stance on the right to bear arms or my desire that teachers or faculty be armed to protect our students. I think that most people that fear guns do so because of the ease in which they can be used. I also think it has to do with ones comfort around firearms. I’ve been around firearms all my life, I am no expert, nor claim to be, but I do feel comfortable around them and I trust that the major majority of folks who own or use them will do so appropriately. Our governments records show that murder from gun use have been declining, yet I believe they are numbering around 11,000 a year (+ or -). in a population that contain 314 million which equates to about .001% (-). Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone murder or suicide, but when you compare this to lets say the leading causes ( http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm ) of death in the united states, this is minuscule.

      Here are a few facts to think about: In 2011 841 people died from accidental discharges. Basically mishandling their firearms. Now in comparison 3555 people died from drowning or submersion.

      38,000 people committed suicide. 1/2 of them used a firearm. Do you really think that if we outlawed guns and confiscated them leaving no guns in the public that these 19,000 people would be unsuccessful in finding a way to do themselves in? I don’t think.. As someone who was locked in a bathroom as a child and watched his step dad cut his wrists with a straight razor, ide say they would find a way.

      I find it pretty amazing that we live in a society that condones murdering approximately 3000 children a day through abortion (that’s over a million children a year) yet find 40 thousand people murdered by guns to be atrocious – hanger / bullet ??? personally, shoot me instead of ripping me apart limb by limb.
      So how is this acceptable?

      Not to change the subject…

      Yes we have firearms, yes they have the potential to be used to kill, but our rights are affirmed in the constitution for a reason. Weather you, or your friends like firearms they are a necessity.. they are affirmed for one reason and one reason alone and that is for the security of the people to remain free from a tyrannical government. they are there for us to use as a last option tool if needed to counter force by the state if they were ever try and pull some craziness like oh I don’t know, like shooting down demonstrators like we see happening in Kiev or maybe marching folks off to gas chambers because of their religion, I think we’ve seen that happen before… Now will it? probably not, but hell a couple million Jews never thought that either.

      I hope this gives you a view into how some of us in the militia think. We are not all what you have seen or read about in the media. Like any other slice of society there are good apples and bad apples, and then from time to time there are some apples that the state makes an example out of to scare the shxt out of the population and steer their thoughts.. some call that social engineering.

      Have a great weekend and thanks for the compliment.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Mr Luntz-

        “Weather you, or your friends like firearms…”
        My views have nothing to do with whether I like firearms ,( I grew up around them too. No gun , no bow , no food, you know.) With some exceptions, like my father’s student who in 1960 shot and killed both of his parents, I trusted most folks around their guns. That started changing 25-30 years ago though and now I’m pretty danged unimpressed with a whole lot of folks who have firearms and don’t trust em at all. Too many folks have very odd notions of what is at stake now to trust them.
        And that is where I disagree with you. I don’t see the tyrannical government you seem to. That is not to say that I think our federal or state governments are operating sensibly but I’m not going off on that now.
        i don’t see the need to protect liberty via the 2nd amendment as the be all and end all.
        The tension between the individual and the community, and in a democracy the state is a reflection of the community, whether you and I like it or not, is real and has occupied far greater minds than yours and mine without any kind of THE answer being arrived at.
        A discussion about liberty , within the classical notion of liberalism ( which has NO thing to do with political liberalism as talked about in the US and everything to with Western thought of the last 400-500 years including gun ownership for citizens) turns up a series of issues folks really ought to spend more time hashing out , especially since our Constitution grew out of these ideas:

        “5. Conclusion

        Given that liberalism fractures on so many issues — the nature of liberty, the place of property and democracy in a just society, the comprehensiveness and the reach of the liberal ideal — one might wonder whether there is any point in talking of ‘liberalism’ at all. It is not, though, an unimportant or trivial thing that all these theories take liberty to be the grounding political value. Radical democrats assert the overriding value of equality, communitarians maintain that the demands of belongingness trump freedom, and conservatives complain that the liberal devotion to freedom undermines traditional values and virtues and so social order itself. ”
        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberalism/

        A couple things about firearms statistics :
        There is credible evidence that better trauma oriented medical treatment has reduced the number of deaths by gunshot more than anyhting else. That number of people shot jumps up 60 to 70 thousand a year if you add gunshot injuries.
        Also, too, there is starting to be enough work done to begin to quantify the social costs of gun violence and we really need to start talking about that.
        I’m not sure what I think about militias.I totally disagree with the doomsday, black helicopter, false flag conspiracy stuff which motivates some militia members.
        ( I think Schaeffer Cox is a nutcake and that that group of folks was deluded , but I also think they weren’t a militia.)
        I spent some time a year ago reading the manifesto of one of the Alaskan militias and thought it pretty odd that it seemed to have more to do with worrying about communism or socialism than anything else. neither is a threat or promise in this country currently we’ve slid so far to the right.

  4. RipleyInCT says:

    The photo of the “youth” with one kid holding the American flag and the other one walking in the snow? Put this picture next to that grainy one showing Sasquatch walking through the underbrush. Twins :-)

    You have some scary looking libertarian types up there, just sayin’.

    • David Luntz says:

      Wow Ripley.. From a state where men seem to have no intestinal fortitude and stand in line with smiles to surrender their arms and freedom… I guess that comment is to be expected.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Watch out for the “men” thing there Mr Luntz.
        Point 1- Ladies have guns too
        Point 2- It is too easy to take “intestinal fortitude” as being code for a real-men-don’t-eat-quiche type argument. We don’t need to start the manly-man stuff , do we?

  5. Aaron bennett says:

    I am a “local militia leader” now? Lmao,
    A Militia of one? Maybe you should do a little research prior to publication,
    I have been very outspoken against militias, and mainly there mission statement for some time.

    But good article nonetheless

  6. wallflower says:

    The photo of Aaron Bennett, with his red cap, between the two flags is a wonderful photograph.

    Does the speaker think that using executive orders, period, a president is violating the constitution? Or is he addressing content? I wasn’t clear on that.

    Interesting, great journalism, Jeanne. Look forward to reading the interview.

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      Wallflower,
      That was the impression I got, but I agree that it’s really not very clear. I don’t know if Mr. Meeks will read this post, but perhaps if he does, he can clarify his position.

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  1. […] covered the Day of Resistance Tea Party rally in Fairbanks this past winter, and the organizer David Luntz, who is the commander of the […]

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