A few weeks ago, a Pennsylvania activist named Michael Heise set up an event where he carried an AK47 slung across his back through the streets of West Chester, Pennsylvania, holding a sign that reads ‘Gun Control is Gun Violence With a Badge’.
Cassius Methyl @ The Anti Media
Another sign he held read ‘Let’s Talk About Gun Rights’.
He did not ask permission but rather informed the West Chester police department of his plan to carry the AK-47 beforehand with no clip, and surprisingly they were ‘respectful and cooperative’, and it went incredibly smoothly.
Michael Heise had this to say about it in an interview with The Anti Media:
“I came up with the idea of an open carry demonstration a few months ago. I like to push the envelope and my own personal boundaries with activism. I like to do what I call “breaking the 4th wall” which to me essentially means to do things that are so unusual, so out of place, and so out of the ordinary, that at least some people from the public have to take notice or even engage with me. This seemed to me like another one of those kinds of ideas.
On my show, The Big Plantation, we announced our public outreach called “Operation: Peace With Police” which is our attempt to create a dialogue, 1 to 1 with members of the police and to have a conversation about the rising tension in the relationship between the people, especially young people, and the police due to increased media coverage on rampant police brutality throughout the country. I wanted to make this outreach about facilitating both purposes. I wanted this to be more of a public outreach then an “open carry march”, so I contacted the West Chester Police Department, and informed, never asked, but informed Sergeant O’Donnell of what I was planning to do which was to open carry an AK-47 through the shopping district of this college town, while holding a sign that reads “Let’s Talk About Gun Rights” an effort to engage people in conversation about the universal right to property ownership in respect to guns. He was very respectful and cooperative, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I’ve protested the police directly in West Chester directly, I’ve defended myself against them in court twice, I’ve had multiple encounters with them in the past due to my activist activities, to the point that they now know me by name. He told me to call back the day before it happened. So, I did just that, and was informed that a Sergeant Ditz would be talking to me since I was doing it on a weekend. Sergeant Ditz was also very respectful, courteous, and even supportive. I volunteered to meet with him in person, to show the weapon and to maintain as much transparency as possible on both ends. I recorded the phone calls and the encounters and they were OK with that. They had a patrol officer in the area trying to stay about 20 meters from me to deal with anybody who may get upset with me. This officer never said a word to me after our meeting, let alone infringed on me.
I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. I’ve done some unorthodox activist activities before, but never before open carrying a rifle (I have done several street interviews open carrying a handgun on my hip though) and actively engaging people. The first woman in the video was the first attempt at an interview, and it set the pace for how the whole day would go. She was very open to talk, nice, and respectful AND she wanted stricter gun laws (well, at least she did BEFORE we spoke). I think the combination of a very friendly demeanor, and the sign really helped keep people at ease. I tried to smile as much as possible, greet people as I walked by, and just be very open. The response I got was overwhelmingly positive, much more so then I expected. Even people who didn’t want to do interviews were mostly saying they support gun rights, and telling me to “keep making a difference”. I got a lot of honks and a lot of support. Only 2 interviews out of about 10 were in opposition to our stance, but it never boiled over.
The kicker to the end of the day was when I called Sgt. Ditz, off camera, and told him we were packing it in for the day. He was very interested in how it went, what kind of responses I had gotten and, in so many words, told me he supported my action and that he was happy that there were so many informed people in the area about this particular issue. Hopefully, this will lead to more open convo in the future for our Peace With Police outreach. “
Is this a sign that support for the 2nd Amendment is growing among the police?
Either way it displays how an increasing majority of people believe in the right to bear arms for self defense. This is refreshingly good news in contrast to the overwhelmingly negative actions of some police lately.
The act of waking up a police officer to the consequences of ‘just following orders’ or arresting people for victimless crimes, truly making police understand the consequences of what they enforce is something that is extremely difficult to do, and it is rarely the focus of activism.
Please share this with anyone who needs some good news or might be inspired by this to pursue their own hands on activism.
This article originally appeared at The Anti Media