DEMONSTRATING THE PURPOSE
ARMED CITIZENS A DETERRENT TO SUBURBAN VIOLENCE
The immediate aftermath of last year’s rioting in several cities, caused by Antifa thugs who exploited what began ostensibly as peaceful demonstrations, reminded the country what the Second Amendment is really all about — and it isn’t hunting.
In several communities, when reliable intelligence warned of planned property destruction and looting in suburban business districts, armed citizens came to the aid of local businesses. Granted, not everyone was happy to see this, but as things turned out, this show of force was a deterrent to violence. In places such as Kirkland, Snohomish and the Tri-City area of Washington, and in Coeur d’Alene in neighboring Idaho, what didn’t happen made all the difference.
Naturally, those who don’t care for the appearance of armed citizens contended there was never a real threat, but there is another — and more credible — explanation the media and the gun control crowd were loathe to acknowledge. Faced with the possibility of confrontation with people prepared to fight back, the masked cowards decided to behave themselves and simply depart before stupidity got them into trouble.
Liberal municipal officials, some business people and local “community activists,” and the press, simply could not bring themselves to admit the obvious: A show of force prevented trouble.
Among the most likely targets were suburban gun stores, where at least some of these people expected to steal firearms and ammunition. One of those establishments is a gun and pawn in Washington State, owned by a friend of this columnist, Melissa Denny, a retailer and Second Amendment activist.
When several gun stores in her region were tipped off they might be targets for gun thieves, word spread quickly through the local firearms community. Denny told me in an exclusive interview the rioting in Seattle unnerved the region, and the threat of targeted burglary was very credible.
What happened at her store was a textbook example of neighbor-helping-neighbor.
One evening, she recalled, “A little black car showed up in the parking lot, waited for a bit and then peeled out. We thought that was kind of strange, so I called the police department and talked to the sergeant on duty and they put an extra officer on duty that night.”
She got off the phone, called the store manager, and 30 minutes later, another black car “came rolling through the lot really slow.”
“We thought, this isn’t good,” Denny recalled. “I called a friend of mine who said ‘You can’t stay there by yourself.’ He said ‘I think you’re being cased.’ I decided to stay there and as we were talking, a third car rolled through really slow. My friend called several of his friends and in about 30 minutes there were a half-dozen guys there. We were all outside talking when a fourth car rolled through.”
Cut to the chase; Denny and her friends decided to stay through the night, and it was an interesting several hours until daylight. There was an unusually large amount of traffic and a drone even flew over the area. People in some passing cars yelled at the crowd outside of Denny’s shop.
“This was not a normal situation,” she sagely observed. “There was an obvious interest in the store.”
Several gun stores in Denny’s region were apparently targeted. In the aftermath, she has improved the store security system, and at this writing, she had spent many nights at the store — with company, of course. On some nights early in the process, there were as many as dozens of friends and customers gathered in the parking lot.
As with Denny’s experience, the turnout of armed citizens protecting small businesses was not designed to create conflict, but to create a deterrent. It obviously worked.
“We are very clear we’re not law enforcement,” she explained. “We’re simply here to create a barrier. I’m there every night. There’s a (store employee) there 24 hours a day.”
In some instances where this phenomenon unfolded, those citizens who turned out to prevent violence were predictably branded “vigilantes.” It was a deliberate effort by those opposed to gun ownership to demonize good people interested in sparing their communities from property destruction, looting and other criminal acts.
But there could be legal ramifications, which armed citizens must consider. In many instances, some of these efforts were actually joined at times by law enforcement. In every situation, everybody had cell phones to immediately contact authorities if trouble did occur, while others might use the camera features on their phones to record incidents.
Always know the law in your jurisdiction, especially about open carry. Don’t push the envelope and don’t be stupid. Don’t approach suspicious vehicles — it could be construed as instigating an incident — but try to get a license plate number and report it to police or sheriff’s deputies.
Cameras can be a deterrent, too. There is no privacy protection against being photographed in a public place day or night. In today’s environment, being “on camera” in any location is pretty much a given.
Self-defense expert Massad Ayoob’s discussions have appeared in this magazine for many years. Pay attention to the lessons he offers every month in these pages.
When the forces of anarchy and hysteria began demanding the defunding or dissolution of police departments, the nation experienced a predictable rush to gun stores.
The same people hoping to be rid of police are typically those wanting to rid society of firearms (except, perhaps, for themselves and people they control), but they seem incapable of grasping the obvious. Faced with the potential of being left to defend themselves, people are going to take increasing responsibility for their own safety. For many Americans, this has meant buying a gun, even if they previously wanted nothing to do with guns. Self-preservation is the strongest motivation for doing something you might have never previously considered.
Nobody can predict what the future holds but last year taught us a couple of things. Among many, if not most, Americans the spirit of self-reliance is alive and healthy. There also thrives a spirit of community, where friends and neighbors show up to protect each other from irrational violence and destruction.
The Second Amendment isn’t just there as a defense against tyranny, be it foreign or domestic. As last summer proved, the right to keep and bear arms can be a formidable tool of crime prevention.
With state legislatures now at full speed, last year’s lessons can be this year’s ammunition in the fight to protect your rights.