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:
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.”
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.
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.