A recent segment of “The Daily Show” featured field reporter Roy Wood Jr. journeying to Montana to interact with right-wing activists at a pro-gun rally on March 24, the same day as many “March for Our Lives” gun-control rallies were taking place across the country. At the end of the segment, the show portrayed those involved in the rally as bizarre conspiracy theorists who all believe the victims of the Parkland shooting are crisis actors. However, this characterization of Montanans as ill-informed rednecks is only partly true. Some may be rednecks, but it is Wood who is ill-informed.
The debate over gun control almost always revolves around the Second Amendment. The real problem is deeper than that. As Mark Wicks, Hi-Line native and speaker at the event, put it, “The right to defend yourself transcends the Constitution.”
Over and over again on television and in rallies, pro-gun groups like the NRA are demonized as extremists or conspiracy theorists. ”The Daily Show” did not show any substantive content from any of the speakers, instead only showing things that supported their caricature. The claim that victims of the Parkland shooting are paid crisis-actors is ridiculous. But the assertion that the NRA is somehow responsible for the destruction that claimed so many innocent lives is also absurd. Gun free zones mandate that we rely solely on the government for protection.
Though the weapons and motivations differ, mass-murderers have complete disregard for another’s right to exist. No law or regulation will solve this. When individuals choose to reject this axiom, many things can follow, including numbness, destruction or complete horror. You won’t hear this watching CNN, Fox News or The Daily Show. You will hear it when you listen to rednecks from Montana.
The tragedy in Parkland was a tale of this kind of government failure. Law enforcement had an abundance of warning signs over an extended period of time, including tips that the perpetrator was planning on committing this specific act. According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office dispatch log obtained by the Miami Herald, during the shooting, deputies did not immediately engage the shooter. The murderer arrived at the school at approximately 2:19 p.m. and was not apprehended until 3:40 p.m.
The right to defend yourself is derived directly from your right to exist. That’s what “The Daily Show” didn’t air in their coverage of the March for Our Guns, and hopefully the Pro-Gun Rally in Billings on Saturday, April 7 will give these activists a chance to voice these sentiments.