Protesting with guns and conflating the First and Second Amendments: The case of the Bundys
03 Jul 2021-Vol. 55, Iss: 2, pp 102-125
TL;DR: In this article, the legal discourse surrounding two armed anti-government confrontations, at Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014 and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, is analyzed.
Abstract: This article analyzes the legal discourse surrounding two armed anti-government confrontations – at Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014, and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016 – to und...
TL;DR: In this paper , the riot at the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, was placed within the longer history of white-led race riots in United States, as both state and vigilante actors have twisted the memory of that history toward maintaining an antidemocratic and racist status quo.
Abstract: In this article, we situate the riot at the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, within the longer history of white-led race riots in the United States, as both state and vigilante actors have twisted the memory of that history toward maintaining an antidemocratic and racist status quo. Motivating such riotous eruptions is what we call reactive memory in reference to the formation of historical mythologies that valorize a “return” to a whitewashed past in response to perceived threats against socioracial domination in the present. We contribute to rhetoric and communication scholarship on memory and far-right nation-building by examining the mobilization of reactive memory in “1776” discourses and the rhetoric of extremist paramilitary groups. In doing so, we demonstrate how reactive memory is conjured to justify the right’s saturation in white supremacy and antidemocratic intervention, including and especially riotous violence – not because its adherents have no other rhetorical recourse in the political state of affairs, but because they situate political violence to be their historically sanctioned prerogative.
TL;DR: The authors synthesize Aristotle's and Kenneth Burke's interrelated conceptions of tragedy to analyze these opposing activities in St. Louis by property and gun rights advocates versus the Expect Us political protestors as a tragedy.
Abstract: On June 28, 2020, St. Louis “Expect Us” racial justice protesters marching to their mayor’s front door encountered Mark and Patricia McCloskey aiming guns at them as they walked past the couple’s mansion on a private road. A clash of “rights” erupted in this situation when viewed through the opposing participants’ lenses. On one hand, two persons pulled guns on unarmed protesters that they viewed as encroaching dangerously on their private property. On the other hand, peaceful protesters pursuing their collective cause were forced to detour onto a private street and were met by two persons brandishing guns. This essay examines this troubling encounter in St. Louis when two parties convinced of their starkly different rights protected by law collide. I synthesize Aristotle’s and Kenneth Burke’s interrelated conceptions of tragedy to analyze these opposing activities in St. Louis by property and gun rights advocates versus the Expect Us political protestors as a tragedy. First, I discuss six historical events in St. Louis from 1906 to 2021 that contextualize this confrontation. Next, I explore the essence of the rights protected by the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution and how they pertain to this encounter. I then define and apply five overlapping features of Aristotle’s and Kenneth Burke’s accounts of tragedy to consider the implications of this highly publicized event as a microcosm of our presently polarized American society.
TL;DR: In particular, republicans have persistently celebrated the right of citizens to keep and bear arms as discussed by the authors, a belief system that is an old belief system and carries signs of its age, while the academic left aspires to be progressive.
Abstract: Ever since its modern rediscovery as a source of ideas for constitutional analysis, civic republicanism has not rested entirely easily in the bosoms of its principal supporters, the academic left. This discomfort may be unavoidable, because republicanism is an old belief system and carries signs of its age, while the academic left aspires to be progressive. In particular, republicans have persistently celebrated the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. 
TL;DR: This article explored how peaceful protest and armed resistance reflected and shaped certain gender identities in the southern US civil rights movement and the Black Power movement, and revealed much about the significance of violence for marginalised masculinities within the African American freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.
Abstract: This article explores how peaceful protest and armed resistance reflected and shaped certain gender identities in the southern US civil rights movement and the Black Power movement, and reveals much about the significance of violence for ‘marginalised masculinities’ within the African American freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. In the Deep South, civil rights organisers found that their non-violent strategy's connotations of effeminate submissiveness hampered attempts to win over black men to the movement's cause. Conversely, those African Americans who decided to use armed force to protect the movement against racist attacks were proud of their ability to defend themselves and their communities. A comparison of armed resistance efforts in southern civil rights campaigns with those of post-1965 Black Power groups such as the Black Panther Party shows both commonalities and differences with regard to the inter-relationship between self-defence and gender. In the southern movement, the affirmation of manhood remained a by-product of the physical imperative to protect black lives against racism. Among Black Power militants and their black nationalist precursors, self-defence, while initially intended to stop police brutality and other racist oppression, ultimately became mainly a symbol of militant black manhood. The Black Power movement's affirmative message countered stereotypes of black male powerlessness and instilled a positive black identity into many activists, but the gendered discourse it produced also tended to perpetuate black women's subordination.
TL;DR: Zerilli as discussed by the authors argues that when rights become institutionalized, we tend to forget their origin in a radical, ungrounded claim to freedom, to non-domination and to equal participation in public affairs.
Abstract: n American politics, we often equate rights, particularly constitutional rights, with freedom. It is as if we can discern how "free" we are by how well our constitutional rights are preserved. Political theorist Linda Zerilli cautions against such thinking: When rights become institutionalized, we tend to forget their origin in a radical, ungrounded claim to freedom, to non-domination and to equal participation in public affairs. We tend to become invested in securing them as such, rather than in maintaining our investment in the sometimes less stable practices that created them in the first place. 1
TL;DR: The least discussed element of District of Columbia v. Heller might ultimately be the most important: the battle between the majority and dissent over the use of categoricalism and balancing in the construction of constitutional doctrine as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The least discussed element of District of Columbia v. Heller might ultimately be the most important: the battle between the majority and dissent over the use of categoricalism and balancing in the construction of constitutional doctrine. In Heller, Justice Scalia’s categoricalism essentially prevailed over Justice Breyer’s balancing approach. But as the opinion itself demonstrates, Second Amendment categoricalism raises extremely difficult and still-unanswered questions about how to draw and justify the lines between protected and unprotected “Arms,” people, and arms-bearing purposes. At least until balancing tests appear in Second Amendment doctrine—as they almost inevitably will—the future of the Amendment will depend almost entirely on the placement and clarity of these categories. And unless the Court better identifies the core values of the Second Amendment, it will be difficult to give the categories any principled justification.
TL;DR: On June 10, 2014, Hoffman was shot and killed in a gym locker room and a teacher was wounded in a Troutdale, Oregon school, and the shooter killed himself after a shootout with police.
Abstract: On June 10, 2014, Emilio Hoffman was shot and killed in a gym locker room and a teacher was wounded in a Troutdale, Oregon school. The shooter killed himself after a shootout with police. Two days earlier, a couple shot two police officers at point blank range in a restaurant, covered one of them with a Gadsden flag and a swastika, and then later killed an armed civilian who tried to stop them in a Walmart. They died by their own hands. On June 5, 2014, a gunman at Seattle Pacific University shot one student and injured two others before being stopped with pepper spray and disarmed by a student. This came on the heels of another shooting in May in Isla Vista, California, where a man stabbed his three roommates to death, shot and killed three others, and injured 13 others—eight by gunshot and four by hitting them with his car. He died by his own hand. Similar incidents have received widespread attention: Newtown, Connecticut; Virginia Tech; and Fort Hood stand out in recent memory because of their coverage by the mass media. However, these events represent only a small fraction of gun violence in the United States. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports that “on average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.” As was the case in the killings at ThurstonHigh School, ColumbineHigh School, and Virginia Tech, many expected stronger gun control legislation