Not that business has been bad for Virginia gun store owners lately. We saw a spike in sales in November after Democrats took control of the state legislature, and things had only just begun to calm down in early March when demand skyrocketed again as the nation entered lockdown. Gun sales never did drop down to normal levels, but they’re likely to go through the roof after Gov. Ralph Northam was asked by a reporter on Tuesday if he had a message to rioters and looters in the state.
“I think from my perspective, people are angry. They’re mad, and I guess an analogy if it’s OK that I would use as a physician who has been with families when they’ve lost their children. A lot of times well intended folks will come up and say ‘I understand what you’re going through, I feel your pain.’ Well, no you don’t. Because you’ve never walked in their shoes, you’ve never experienced what they’ve experiencing. And so perhaps I’m not the best one not talk about the pain that people are feeling…
“I think we need to step back from the big picture, from the protesters, and certainly encourage them to be peaceful but I think the bigger challenge, the bigger message for people who look like me is to ask ourselves why? Why are they feeling this pain? And to listen, and when we listen, we learn, and then if our hearts are in the right place, as Del. McQuinn said, we can sit down at the table and in a civil manner move forward and take action to make our society better for our young folks and everybody that’s else in the world with us…
“I think it’s fair to say that there are individuals out there who are exploiting the situation that we’re in. And for that, we regret that and ask them to take their energy and interest elsewhere.”
Check out the governor’s comments here (they’re at 1:00:56 if it doesn’t load automatically for you) to check out just how utterly weak his response is. Remember, he’s being asked specifically what is message to rioters and looters is, not people who are exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble.
It’s absolutely absurd for Northam to pretend that at this point the rioting and looting has any legitimate purpose. In Richmond, there’ve an awful lot of hipster white college kids who’ve been smashing store windows alongside black residents. They’re not allies of the black community. They’re gutting it, and it’s going to be years before the neighborhoods will begin to recover.
Northam’s comments will embolden those who are looting and rioting in cities like Richmond, and in turn send more Virginians flocking to gun stores to purchase one of the few remaining firearms still available for sale. The governor talked a lot on Monday afternoon about the pain of the rioters, but he said nothing at all about the pain of Virginians who’ve watched their businesses go up in smoke, had their homes set on fire with children inside, and who are watching their neighborhoods become devastated by repeated acts of vandalism and violence as the sun goes down every evening.
Their pain may not matter to the Northam, but I can assure you it’s real. Governor Ralph Northam forfeited any moral authority to lead a conversation about racial injustice the moment he put on his blackface (or was the Klan hood?), and his mealy-mouthed attempt to explain away the riots and looting is the latest example of his utter inability to unite Virginians. In fact, I truly believe Ralph Northam wants to divide us. Compare his velvet-glove treatment of those actually committing acts of violence with how he described Virginia gun owners before they peacefully descended on the state capitol for a rally back in January.
Northam said at a news conference that intelligence from law enforcement agencies indicates that out-of-state militias and hate groups fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories have “malicious plans” for the rally.
“They’re not coming to peacefully protest. They are coming to intimidate and cause harm,” Northam said.
Northam said he will declare a state of emergency in Richmond from Friday evening through Tuesday evening. Under the order, city, state and Capitol police will form a unified command, state employees are encouraged to stay home for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and all weapons will be banned in the Capitol Square.
“No one wants another incident like the one we saw at Charlottesville in 2017. We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here,” Northam said, referring to a white nationalist rally where clashes broke out and a counterprotester was killed.
Of course, the event went off peacefully, with more than 20,000 gun owners filling the downtown Richmond area and thousands of unarmed rally attendees on the state capitol grounds. Now that there’s actual violence taking place in Richmond on a nightly basis, the governor wants us to put ourselves in the shoes of the looters and feel their pain. Why should we, when the looters themselves, both black and white, would rather put themselves in the shoes they can steal from a local business?
Northam is offering succor and emotional support to rioters and looters, while offering up a giant middle-finger to the state’s law abiding residents, not to mention the actual protesters who are watching their movement being co-opted by violent agitators and opportunistic looters. Now that we know we can’t rely on “Wreck It” Ralph to help defend and protect the lives and property of the law-abiding, expect a flood of Virginians into the state’s gun stores as they wake up to that sad reality.