Comment: I Can Only Hope that Adam Kokesh isn't an Agent Provocateur.

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I Can Only Hope that Adam Kokesh isn't an Agent Provocateur.

I like Adam, but I must say Bob Powell echoes my fears as to what can go horribly wrong. I cannot see Ron Paul endorsing something like this either. Joel Skousen said it best in his World Affairs Brief (, May 10, 2013):

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There are smart ways to organize a demonstration at the nation’s capitol to gain public support against government tyranny and then there are moves that are really unwise. In my personal opinion, Adam Kokesh’s proposed armed march of several thousand volunteer protestors into Washington DC is not smart and potentially will get all future right wing demonstrations in favor of the Second Amendment banned as “prone to violence.” Over 3,000 have so far pledged on Kokesh’s Facebook page to attend the July 4th event.

I’ve never liked Adam Kokesh’s style—sitting before the mike in black tank top, shaved but bearded head, and always talking tough. It’s a militaristic style that attracts ex-military hot heads to the movement, and this latest gambit has that same uncareful style.

Kokesh is claiming to be taking several precautions to ensure safety and appear non-confrontational:

1. Only long guns and shotguns are going to be permitted in the march and demonstration.

2. They will be loaded weapons with safety settings “on.”

3. They will be slung across the back—no one will be holding a weapon.

On the other hand, there is much that is openly confrontational and militaristic in style:

1. They are going to “muster” in formation and march in formation to give it a quasi military appearance.

2. Kokesh says he will coordinate with DC police, and request an escort in order to ensure everyone’s safety. But, but if they refuse (guaranteed), he will do it anyway as “civil disobedience.”

3. It’s an open invitation to have government insert a provocateur among them who may fire a weapon and bring the demonstration under police fire.

Kokesh, a Marine veteran, says his purpose is to “To put government on notice that we won’t be intimidated.” He openly states on his Facebook event post that “this is an act of civil disobedience,” but stresses, “This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”

It’s not that simple. When you openly violate a law about weapons, the police have little choice but to intervene—and they will. To make it worse, in his interview with Alex Jones, Kokesh spoke dangerous language when he said, “This is an armed revolt against the American government.”

You just can’t go around saying things like that even if the right to revolution is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. It is a serious step not to be taken for “light or transient” reasons and must have wide public support backed by a long list of grievances. It’s easy enough for constitutional conservatives and libertarians to produce such a list of technical violations, but they are not easily visible or provable to the common person.

The government’s current and future plans for taking away liberty are carefully masked by a myriad of executive orders, and hidden memos—sealed under the cover of National Security—hardly the stuff needed to rally the world around us. Kokesh and his brash statements show he hasn’t thought this out very well and appears to be heading for trouble.

His brash approach will guarantee that no police in Washington DC are going to cooperate with his demonstration. In fact, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she will arrest Adam Kokesh and any other protesters who violate the district’s gun laws.

“Passing into the District of Columbia with loaded firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such.”

I have no doubt he intends this to be a non-violent event, but the presence of loaded weapons, marching down the street where “open carry” is currently illegal is inviting a police confrontation. It appears to be Adam’s intent to merely get arrested, to make a statement, but it could turn violent if some agent provocateur decides to fire any kind of shot at all.

I too am an advocate of “open carry,” which refers to the public’s right to carry a loaded weapon openly in public as long as there is no intent to engage in a criminal act. It has always been viewed a less onerous than carrying a concealed weapon, though I’m not sure that’s really true. What is true is that when people can see a weapon openly, they have some opportunity to judge the holder and react.

Open carry is also an essential part of the Second Amendment because you can’t bear arms if you can never be seen in public with one. If every person has to have a permit to show up in public with a weapon, then a revolution against government tyranny could never get off the ground.

To ordinary people, open carry restrictions by cities or states are not viewed as a violation of the Second Amendment to “keep and bear arms” either for self-defense (which they think only takes place in the home) or for hunting (which doesn’t normally take place in cities).

Of course, more technical regulations like the registration of all weapons is not a technical violation of the right to keep and bear arms, but it violates the spirit of it. Historically, registration has always been a precursor to confiscation, and should be resisted strongly.

While I would agree that no jurisdiction should be able to ban open carry under the Second Amendment, hinting at an armed confrontation is not the way to go about getting those laws changed. My objection to this act of “civil disobedience” proposed by Kokesh is that it’s not going to help gain support for second amendment rights or motivate any official in DC to feel more comfortable about changing the law.

It may be empowering to the macho types who want to make a dramatic public statement, but most people will merely see it as a stupid violation of DC law and approve of police action to arrest them. Few will see this as standing up against something unjust, and it may assist government in further demonizing pro-gun people as extremists. It may even prompt more states to ban open carry.

We just had a great victory in stopping the latest assault rifle ban, but it’s only a first step. They’ll be back for more gun control and every misstep the movement makes which makes us look even more radical will only help the gun grabbers, so let’s be wise about carrying weapons in public. ...