Dave Kopel spends some time speaking on iVoices.org, elaborating on his views about armed protest.
This is essentially what I was attempting to hit on with my post about effectively changing minds.Â Mike V. raises a good argument in the comments, “Explain to me what civil rights movement does not proceed by ‘seeking attention’.Â Please.”Â It’s a serious question and it deserves a serious answer, so I will try to clarify what I mean by attention seeking.
Mike is correct that all civil rights movements have to draw attention to the plight, as a first step. I don’t deny that. But we intuitively know there are effective and ineffective ways of doing that. I don’t think anyone would seriously suggest that had Rosa Parks instead pulled a roscoe out of her purse, pointed it at the head of the bus driver, and said “If you make me move to the back of the bus, I’m moving your brains to the front of the bus,” that would have been as effective as what she actually did. Both would have raised awareness of the issue, but by refusing to move and suffering arrest, the people who carefully orchestrated Parks’ civil disobedience put it in context other people could relate to, and begin to understand. It also conveyed how seriously the black community was, by showing they were willing to be subject to arrest. So intuitively there’s a difference between positive attention, which raises awareness, and negative or neutral attention, which could be considered attention for attention’s sake.
I can’t really figure out what purpose the rifle served other than bringing in the cameras. Sure, they talked a bit about the guns, because the press was asking about it, but they were also bringing up the laundry list of paleolibertarian complaints about the government. If the idea was to raise awareness of the issue, I think it got lost in the fact they were carrying a rifle. It might have brought the cameras, but it confused the message.
Had they arranged something like, carrying a pistol openly in DC, and suffered arrest, that would have been a different thing.Â I don’t think anyone would argue the dedication to the cause would have been admirable, and at the very least would have been directly related to the suppression of Second Amendment rights.