The headlines were inaccurate, poorly written, and entirely impossible to miss. They contained a rough reference to the events that took place May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas, trumpeting in bold print how the off-duty LEO was “outgunned” and had “just” a pistol. This brings to mind the catch phrase currently making the rounds as belonging to Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer: Never Outgunned. Was the Garland LEO horribly outnumbered and outgunned, as the headlines continue to claim, or was he proving something the gun control crowd hates to see proof of: it isn’t about the size, sear, or suppressor. It’s about the shooter.
On the day in question, a somewhat controversial gathering was taking place at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. The gathering was being hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI); president Pamela Geller had organized an event for what she would later say was all about free speech. The event in question? The Muhammed Art Exhibit and Contest. Participants were encouraged to submit their best depictions of, yes, Muhammed. First prize was $10,000, and attendance was expected to be impressive. Supporters lauded the group’s refusal to back down in the face of potential danger – danger which would soon prove to be quite real – while naysayers gave a frowning “tsk tsk” of the group’s methods. So what’s the story behind AFDI?
AFDI lists a few basic tenets: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equal rights. They say the violent bullying of extremists not only should not be but cannot be bowed to, because when you give an inch to radical Muslims, they not only take a mile, they may take your head. Their methods may not be strictly orthodox, especially considering the repercussions against others who dare sketch cartoons of The Prophet – Charlie Hebdo, anyone? – but there’s no arguing its efficacy, especially now. Of course, there’s a sizable group criticizing AFDI, just as there are those labeling them as a hate group.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group which touts themselves as “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry” as well as to “seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society” AFDI is an extremist hate group. SPLC believes the Muhammed-drawing contest was needlessly hateful and purposeful troublemaking; one spokesperson labeled AFDI president Geller as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.” Furthermore, SPLC purports groups such as AFDI “broadly defame Islam” and treat it as though it is “inferior to the West.” SPLC goes on to say such “anti-Muslim hate groups” see Islam as “a violent political ideology rather than a religion” and therein lies the crux of the matter. Apparently the leftist group fails to see the irony in their being concerned for the well-being of group of radicals using their religion as an excuse for horrific bloodshed.
Prior to the May 3rd shooting – and after – AFDI made the point they felt their gathering was the right thing to do, not because they’re looking to poke the proverbial Islamic bear but because of acts of terrorism like January’s bloody attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, France. The Charlie Hebdo attacks, which started with 2 gunmen murdering 11 satirical cartoonists and wounding another 11, then strolling out the door and gunning down a police officer in the street, were not a one-time event. They weren’t even a warning, or at least not only a warning; they were a statement. Look, the act of terrorism said, boldly, see what we can do, what we will do, and bend to our threats. Bending to threats is precisely what we, as Americans, cannot do.
Some saw the attack in Garland as the expected outcome, considering AFDI was actively promoting and encouraging cartoons of Muhammed to be drawn and displayed. Some believe AFDI was and is wrong to stir up potential trouble by perpetuating the very behaviors that led to the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. And those same “some” have made it abundantly clear that they not only feel AFDI asked for it but quite possibly deserved it. If this train of thought seems bizarre and nonsensical to you, well, perhaps that’s because you’re one of those who falls on the other side of the equation. Perhaps you’re an American who believes freedom of speech should not and cannot be taken for granted. Perhaps you believe allowing terrorists to bully and threaten us into submission, to train us like dogs with shock collars, is wrong. You may or may not agree with the exact approach taken by AFDI, but you agree with its spirit, because its spirit is the one this nation was built on: the spirit of freedom, liberty, and the right to draw a cartoon of Muhammed if we darn well please, because our forefathers paid for that right with their own blood.
One of the other rights our forefathers fought for is our right to bear arms. Many people do not realize it, but freedom of speech and the right to bear arms go hand-in-hand, not just because the amendments rest beside one another, but because they uphold and support one another. And on May 3rd, the Second Amendment served to protect the First Amendment in a literal fashion.
The two terrorists approaching the center in Garland with the intent to murder as many attendees as possible were armed with semi-auto ARs and wearing what has been described in the media as body armor. They did not hesitate but simply opened fire as they approached, and anyone doubting their intent need only refer to their Twitter accounts. Immediately prior to the attack one of the men posted a series of tweets with the following content (spelling, punctuation, and grammar is theirs):
“If there is no check on the freedom of your speech, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.”
“The 2 Brothers attained shahdah in texas! O Kuffar know that death is better than living humiliated! Allahu Akbar!!!”
“And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, ‘They are dead.’ Rather, they are alive, but you perceive it not.”
“The brothers in texas may have had no experience in shooting but they was quick to defend the honor of the Prophet Muhammed s.a.w.!”
Tweets were followed up by #GarlandShooting and #TexasAttack, leaving no doubt as to their plans. To those who question why the content of the tweets couldn’t have been used to apprehend them, the answer is quite simple: there are countless social media posts along similar veins and it’s impossible to track them all in real time, let alone to know which are legitimate threats. Some members of the public have vocalized a desire to give the government greater control over accessing social media content with the supposed goal of hoping to prevent such attacks, but is granting Big Brother even more privacy infringement really the answer?
The would-be terrorists were taken down by an off-duty Garland LEO carrying a Glock chambered in .45 ACP. During the initial volley of shots, which were made by the terrorists, a security guard was injured. The LEO who took the shooters down did not hesitate but simply took care to exercise proper shot placement, striking vital areas despite the presence of body armor. If he had not acted so quickly – and accurately – it’s quite likely some attendees would have been killed before their attackers were stopped. Just like that, the Second Amendment protected the First.
Those who claimed the off-duty officer was “outgunned” are among those who do not necessarily understand firearms. Shot placement trumps size, gun-hands down. Just because the terrorists had semi-auto rifles doesn’t mean the pistol-wielding LEO was outgunned, per se. Yes, he was facing bigger guns and multiple shooters; yes, he was, for all intents and purposes, facing a potentially losing situation. But his training and quick, cool thinking quite literally saved the day, and this is something would-be terrorists and the general public would do well to remember: it doesn’t matter if a gun is big, black, and military-looking. What matters is the person behind the trigger, which is why a semi-auto polymer-framed pistol outdid a pair of ARs. Now let’s take it a step further by considering the rather circular thinking and appeal of the day’s events.
There were approximately 200 people in attendance on the day of the attack, all of whom claimed to be staunch supporters of our nation’s First Amendment. The event was heavily policed, because it was clear there could be trouble. Not only was there trouble but ISIS has taken credit – albeit without specific evidence backing their limelight-hogging claims – and a jihad has been declared against AFDI president Pam Geller as well as anyone who dares stand with her. Following the attacks, more information was released by the terrorists among us. According to the radicals, there are at least 71 other would-be terrorists located in 15 states. Frankly, that seems a rather small number; shouldn’t there be more?
In the earlier part of the 20th century, during World War II, a Japanese Marshal Admiral by the name of Isoroku Yamamoto did his best to help plan attacks on American soil. This was the time of the horror of Pearl Harbor, a time when we were a nation at war – as we are now. Don’t be fooled; the War on Terror is alive and well thanks to the constant flow of the very radicals responsible for events such as those in Garland. Back during World War II, Yamamoto was credited with participation in the planning of Pearl Harbor and Midway; he was no fool. As planning progressed and the Japanese expressed their desire to invade further inland, Yamamoto made the following statement: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” Or, as it turns out, a Glock on the hip of every 2A-supporting American – and there are quite a few of us.
It’s all about shot placement, both for taking down a self-professed killer and when fighting for our rights. Geller and the AFDI knew their cartoon contest would strike a nerve, and they went ahead anyway. Some would say they proceeded because they’re a hate group bent on spreading their vitriol, but far more would say they went ahead because this is America, and we are not cowed by the actions of radical terrorists. The deaths at Charlie Hebdo proved the terrorists will slaughter a group of people armed with nothing but ink pens and pencils, but those deaths showed the world something else, too. When there is no way to protect those First Amendment rights, the results can be devastating. France has some of the strictest gun control in the world and has since around 1939, meaning the bad guys can get guns but it’s almost impossible for the good guys. And even when a good guy gets a gun it tends to fall into the .22 caliber hunting rifle category (guns are broken into 8 categories in France). A pistol? Perish the thought.
Our rights are intricately intertwined. We are a fortunate nation, one with forefathers who felt so strongly about the need for free speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and other issues, they shed their blood and gave their lives to win us the rights we now take for granted. When terrorists stamp their feet and holler that we are not allowed to draw cartoons of Muhammed, we smile, shake our heads, and pick up a pen. And while they gun down such cartoonists in France, attempts to gun down such cartoonists in Garland, Texas, failed miserably. Terrorists: 0, Freedom: 2.
It really is all about the shooter. When the shooter is an American, the enemy is facing a proud nation with rights unlike any other country. Americans not only have a deeply-ingrained desire to fight for their rights – a desire bred into us generations ago – we have the means. We have the shot placement. If you’re going to come on our soil and challenge our rights, prepare to face the fruits of other rights. Come to us to rail violently against our First Amendment rights, be carried away having faced off against our Second Amendment rights. Because this is America, and we are Americans. Come and get it.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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