Had I attended the City Hall rally on Jan. 5 covered in “Unrest and Protest” (RC Jan. 15–21), I’d have been on the side of Community and Labor Against Fascism (CLAF). For years I’ve rallied, protested and marched against the ideas, practices and policies of the political right. Many of these events included teams of “peacekeepers” walking alongside or on the outskirts of the gathering, their role being to facilitate peaceful progress, to dispel tensions before they might erupt into conflict. The peacekeepers were never armed with more than a walkie-talkie and maybe a bull horn.
I think the name John Brown Gun Club (JBGC) is clever. I appreciate that members of this group assume responsibility to “stand for those who can’t.” And, I assume that CLAF put a good deal of consideration into the decision to invite JBGC to attend the rally, armed and presumably ready to shoot — not unlike the group against which CLAF was protesting, if for different rationales. Cleverness, readiness, collaborations aside, I was saddened to read of what I interpret as a devolution into a presumption of violence, evidence of the maxim, “Violence begets violence.”
Not being fond of guns and their intended damage, had I attended the Jan. 5 rally and seen JBGC members armed with AR-15s and extra ammunition, purportedly there to protect me, I likely would have left the demonstration. I fear a future society in which I am silenced by the threat of violence coming from the very people with whom I think I am peaceably allied, almost as much as I fear a future of fascism.
Cecilia Erin Walsh
Read the full Jan. 29 - Feb. 4 issue.
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