Adam Kokesh, the libertarian activist and outspoken Iraq War veteran, may have called off his July 4 armed march, but that didn't mean he wasn't planning on going it alone. A YouTube video Kokesh posted yesterday appears to show him loading a firearm in the middle of Washington's Freedom Plaza and declaring the "final American Revolution."
"We will not be silent. We will not obey. We will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final" — pauses to pull back the shotgun grip dramatically — "American" — releases the grip (also dramatically) — "revolution. See you next Independence Day."
DUN DUN DUUUUUN.
Now, I don't know what the "final American Revolution" means, but I do know that his uber-dramatic message is not adding any legitimacy to his point — though I suppose if he is a member of the "any publicity is good publicity" party, this might be exactly what he intended.
Police are currently in the process of determining the legitimacy of the video, and once they do, Kokesh stands a solid chance of getting arrested.
"Can you count the felonies committed in this video?" Kokesh asks in the description of the video. "No, you can't possibly count them all."
Well, let's at least give it a shot: The act of carrying a gun outdoors in D.C. is a felony that carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a fine up to $5,000. At this point, that's probably the only felony in the video that matters, so I'm going to say I've done a successful job counting to one.
I'm sure Kokesh being carried away in handcuffs would send libertarian and pro-gun activists everywhere into a frenzy — but will it do anything to legitimize their platform? Probably not. This video is an overly dramatic temper tantrum that lends credence to the pro-gun movement like Paula Dean's apology video made you want to start watching her show.
This stunt appeals only to people who are already on his side and no one else. If the pro-gun lobby is to ever convince the rest of America that they are in the right and actually start affecting change, then they need to start having intelligent conversations instead of declaring "see you next Independence Day" in a fake, growly action-hero voice.
I will agree with the vast majority of pro-gun advocates that it is time for a rational, fact-based discussion on guns in the United States, but pro-gun activists cannot accuse liberals of being hyperbolic and uniformed about guns and then pull stunts like this. It is irrational and does not lead to intelligent conversation.
By attempting to further his point, Kokesh has only given more fodder to the anti-gun crowd to fuel a campaign based on jokes and name-calling. The loudest voice in the "discussion" stemming from this video will not be from Kokesh's supporters — it will be from those calling him a gun-nut and dismissing any legitimate argument he may have made. It's time that Kokesh pass the torch to a more rational activist.