When Actions Discredit Activism

When Actions Discredit Activism

We see it often.Sometimes it’s well meaning.At other times it’s just mean spirited or evil intended.What is it?Activism.At times it’s an organized group and the group sanctions the actions.Other times it’s individuals who share a cause, but not the sanction of the group and they act on their own.

Examples include pink-fuzzy-hatted women’s marchers, the kids from Parkland orchestrating marches and Publix “die-ins,” and sadly, the Melbourne Beach “open carriers” who may or may not have the blessing of the Florida Carry group.It’s this latter group that concerns me.

I share the goals of those that would bring constitutional carry (no license required for concealed or open carry) to Florida.It should be the law of the land.The United States Constitution is clear on the matter.There is no disagreement between me and the group on the final goal.There is, however, a disagreement over methodology in getting there.

This became evident on our Wednesday, July 3rd show as I discussed an incident in Melbourne Beach where three open carry advocates decided to walk through town on the way to fish.They were carrying AR-15’s as they did so.That is in compliance with the law.Open carry is permitted when going fishing, hunting or camping in the state.Did these folks comply with the law?Technically, but it was certainly not within the spirit of the law.Their fishing trip was reported to be short in duration (described by Florida Today as minutes).Any fisherman knows you don’t go fishing for minutes, you go for hours.

Then there is the video that previews the event where one participant says they were going to Melbourne Beach to, “open carry.”Certainly this was now a stunt and not a fishing trip.

Yes, they technically complied with the law.Should they have been arrested?No.Were they arrested?No.But criticize this chosen method of publicizing the issue and suddenly I am the enemy of the people. Some contacted me via Facebook Messenger and some directly on Facebook video and posts about the topic.Most were well intended and civil.A few were flat out vile and an example of the worst of us in public discourse.I left them all posted.You see, I also advocate for the 1st Amendment.It shows the nature of some who should not be involved in advocacy when it comes to the political realm.

Yes, these folks have us talking about the issue and in some small way that might help.Did they move any legislators to act with this stunt?It’s very doubtful.The Florida Carry folks have resources like money and lobbyists to help advance the cause.There are ways to make political headway on the issue and I am sure they are working toward that.

Question: since this stunt effectively showed that some on-the-ground law enforcement officers are undereducated on Florida Law as it relates to this issue, are they now approaching law enforcement administrators, legislators and educators about the law and training for line personnel?It would seem the next reasonable step.

I don’t want these guys to stop “exercising their right.”I want them to consider the political ramifications of their actions and whether or not they are helping or hurting the cause for which they claim to advocate.

Answer the question for yourself, and there will be differing positions on this: Did these folks advance the cause, harm it or simply generate a stunt that has no impact on the issue?

Many have promised to call on WIDE OPEN WEDNESDAY and I am holding the completion of this column until after Wednesday’s show just to see how that conversation goes.If the Facebook posts and messages are any indication, it will be across the board with supporters of both sides.There will likely be some civil and logical discussion with people who disagree.There will be some who agree and just maybe one or two who won’t know how to hold that conversation in any case.Fortunately I have a Radio Taser for that circumstance…we’ll see if it has to be deployed.

How interesting!We took exactly ONE call on the issue.It was from one of the guys who actually carried last week in Melbourne Beach.Mike from Port St. John was a good call.He explained what went on and still believes the actions that day are beneficial to the overall cause.We still disagree there.He did clarify that their day did last much longer than Florida Today had reported.But, it did not last on the beach location as they moved back to the river side of the town.

What struck me was that all of those self-described “patriots” who promised to overwhelm Jorge with calls to the show never materialized.I was willing to hear them out and said so.Could it be that an actual conversation on the phone as opposed to one from behind the safety of their keyboards was beyond their capability?

As I said to those commenting via Facebook, we don’t disagree on the goal, just the method of getting there.We’ll see if the methods chosen and tone of the dialogue are successful.

NOTE: Royce Bartlett will have a guest from Florida Carry on SHOOTING STRAIGHT this Saturday at 2pm on WMMB. Royce has a great show…tune in and enjoy!


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