The response to this is going to be very, very, very interesting!
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 6, 2020
WEDNESDAY, May 6 — After a hoard of armed and angry protesters swarmed Lansing last week, State Rep. Sarah Anthony brought some extra protection on her way to the State Capitol today.
At least three African Americans carrying large rifles escorted Anthony across Capitol Avenue earlier this morning so she could safely attend committee meetings without fear of intimidation. She said she didn’t necessarily request the help, but welcomed the extra security nonetheless.
“We were all just appalled by the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had, and the fact that a lot of the demonstrators last week were adorning many racist, anti-Semitic signage. I think it just triggered a lot of folks, especially African Americans.”
Anthony and other lawmakers met this morning for an appropriations committee meeting. The scene was quiet. Anthony’s cadre of Second Amendment advocates had no trouble entering the building. They left to quietly stand on the front steps after Anthony made it inside an elevator.
“We want to change the narrative, first of all. We want people to understand that people of color can come out here with guns just the same as anybody else can,” said Michael Lynn Jr., a black Lansing firefighter and community activist who helped organize Anthony’s security detail.
Lynn watched a video that Anthony posted to Facebook as the protest formed last week. In it, she looked on from her office across the street as protestors slowly crowded the Capitol Lawn carrying Confederate flags, Nazi symbolism, nooses and other blatantly racist forms of imagery.
After some demonstrators eventually made it inside the building last week, one maskless and gun-toting protester got so close to Anthony’s face that she could smell his breath. And lawmakers shouldn’t be scared to come into work because of armed intimidation, she said.
“The majority of the protesters were white,” Anthony said. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”
Anthony’s concerns are largely based on a “complete failure” of the Michigan State Police to maintain adequate security, she explained. She didn’t find out until this week that police could have escorted her to her car after she left the Capitol. No other security measures were mentioned.
“It was just unnerving to me as a woman and as a person,” Anthony said, noting that Capitol sergeants otherwise do an adequate job keeping lawmakers inside safe. “These community volunteers today won’t be needed all the time, but they wanted to have a presence today.”
Because Lynn is black, he suspects that cops would’ve been a bit more cautious — and perhaps violent — had his group been as boisterous as some of the crowds last week. He wanted to prove a point that Second Amendment rights aren’t limited on the basis of race.
“I could hear the fear in her voice during that protest,” Lynn explained. “It was the visual of her being that scared to go to work. It meant we had to do something. We came out here today to make sure we could provide some protection, even if it’s only just to make her feel better.”
Much more at the link.
The last time something like this was attempted was when the Black Panthers in California exploited a loophole in California state law and carried unloaded long guns with them everywhere. Including the state capitol to peaceably assemble to petition the state governance for redress of their grievances. While a bunch of nice, white, suburban school kids were visiting on a field trip to have lunch with the recently elected Governor Ronald Reagan. The California legislature pushed significant gun control legislation through and Governor Reagan signed it into law so fast that then 18 year old Wayne LaPierre’s head nearly spun off its axis!
As I wrote up top, it will be very, very, very interesting to see the response to Mr. Lynn’s actions in protecting Representative Anthony.
* Just a quick technical note regarding the tweet. The rifle carried by the guy next to state Representative Anthony is an AR style pistol with a stabilizing brace
carbine. So it is not only not a large rifle, but is, at best, an equivalent in size to a short barreled rifle.