"SXSW the international festival showcasing advances in technology and new talent is dragging us backwards in the ways of our civil liberties by promoting the likes of Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns and also Shannon Watts the former Monsanto executive and her Moms Demand Action. Both groups were on hand the opening weekend of the festival to push their anti gun agenda."
The video goes on to describe these groups as using social media to "attack our rights from the shadows," while they exercise theirs in broad daylight. That's a bold statement from a group that depends heavily on online activism to promote skepticism and paranoia of the government. The InfoWars correspondent in the ad also says Wednesday's protest will, "set the stage for an even larger open carry event March 15th, that's a Saturday, where liberty loving people with gather together to peacefully show their 2nd Amendment Rights to an international community."
The initial gathering at noon appeared to be about half open carry advocates and half members of the media with as many cameras present as guns. The CATI group leader told the crowd to be on their best behavior because they were being watch closely. Another man standing next to him on the stomp reiterated, "Don't give them ammo to use against us," to which the spokesperson said remember "we are here to engage folks," -- there was no short of gun puns. He then went through more safety rules and basic expectations calling for gun owners to buddy up and "check chambers," to ensure safety, a process he said was "really critical."
Even with the safety reminders, some overzealous participants seem to take the brandishing of a gun as an opportunity to intimidate. That violates the 2nd objective of their mission statement to, "Conduct open carry events in a manner that will communicate to the modern citizenry that the presence of guns does not cause violence, and that citizens who choose to carry guns are not a threat to the public." One supporter from Houston tweeted, "Caption: Scaring Ignorant Moms Demand out of town! #AntiGunBullies," and another that said, "@ActUpSpeakOut @MomsDemand @sxsw We don't want ignorant moms here so keep it moving! #ProtectTheConstitution."
The group also picked up a traveling heckler who followed topless chanting "more boobs, less guns." That prompted the open carry marchers to chant "more guns, less crime." You can see the heckler here, but fair warning it is not safe for work.
The group descended upon SXSW with a live stream that at one point had nearly 300 active viewers while an InfoWars camera crew followed close behind. Members tried to explain to onlookers why what they were doing was safe and that crime is down because gun ownership is up. One side conversation included the fact that gun sales have gone way up under Obama but that the decrease in crime was a result of the guns purchased not any initiative by the President. "I work at a gun shop" one marcher kept repeating, "we have orders backed up for a year." The man was still reeling from a conversation he had with a SXSW attendee who said he lived in New York City as crime fell even under strict gun laws. He was sure even in Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun NYC that increased gun ownership was the reason for the fall in crime. Statistics show that both violent and property crime have steadily declined in the nation's largest city.
You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.