Olympian shot down by TikTok

AP Photo

The big tech oligarchs push a narrative and want their users/content creators to tow a certain line. I don’t know if you can identify any situations where say a big tech company just completely cancels a user because their voice is diametrically opposite to “the narrative”, and or they don’t fit the mold. Dare I say sign me up for some mean tweets over expensive gasoline?

Over the last year I’ve covered a pile of stories revolving around social media and big tech censoring the voices of conservatives, but more specifically or accurately, Second Amendment supporters/those involved with firearms/shooting. From YouTube demonetizing Jason from the Texas Gun Vault (TGV) YouTube channel or the shadow banning Olympian and Top Shot contestant Gabby Franco, to META owned properties blocking Yehuda Remer from advertising his pro 2A book; we can see the censorship is rampant. Write this down, remember this, we don’t have the correct “social scores” to function in their society, so they hush us, and I believe this is just the beginning. Just look at what’s going on with TikTok and recent reports of several “violations” of their terms and conditions from users with accompanying bans.

A social media post by a buddy of mine caused me to take pause and reach out to him. He has two YouTube channels as well as an audio version of his content as a podcast. Riding Shotgun With Charlie Charlie Cook posted a screenshot of TikTok’s notice he received banning him from using the service.

The note read:

Your Account Was Banned

If you believe this was a mistake, you can submit an appeal. You can also download your data.

When I wrote to Cook about this and reporting on it he directed me to Olympian Lanny Barnes, aka Lanny Oakley’s, post on the same topic. Not to diminish his own exile from the Chinese Communist Party’s data mining operation, Cook said to me “Lanny Barnes is banned too. She is more story worthy than I am.” While I’m sure Charlie is just being modest, the truth is that it looks like we’re dealing with the mass cancellation of voices in the Second Amendment community via our technocratic overlords.

Barnes is a biathlon competitor who’s been to the Olympics three times representing the United States. Beyond that she’s the DC Project Colorado delegate, #tealteamtwo, and an artist! We can’t possibly be talking about content that’s so salacious that she’s deserving of a permanent ban from the popular service, can we?

The angry notice Barnes received:

Your account was permanently banned due to multiple violations of our Community Guidelines.

You can also download your data

Barnes seemingly was not given a chance to appeal judging by the options available “Log out”… or yup, that was the only option. Barnes’s banning does not go without commentary from the Olympian. In her post she had the following comment to make:

Thanks @tiktok 

.

Just motivation to try harder to be more inspiring to others in real life and not just on social media. To motivate and push people to live their dreams, set goals and be the best they can be. You can make the biggest difference in this world by working on helping those closest to you and those that you encounter in person every day. Social media is great and I love that I have been able to connect with so many great people. I hope I get the opportunity to some day meet everyone in person but if not I will keep trying to motivate and encourage people to work hard and earn a great life. It’s worth it. One door closes, another always opens. Don’t let things like this effect you. In the whole scheme of things, It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. #olympian

Reading the mature and uplifting response to her banishment should make us all realize this is the mentality of a champion that competes professionally. There’s a certain strength, both physically and mentally, that’s necessary to compete at the levels that Barns does. Her open minded “you ain’t gonna drag me down” response lacked catharsis and was inspirational. In a recent interview on Gun Owner’s Radio Barnes discussed some of the challenges of being a biathlete.

Yeah, so our longest race is about nine miles, 9 to 10 miles, and our shortest is about five or six. And usually we’ll do a lap, which is at least a mile before we can come and shoot. We carry the gun on our back like a backpack, and we cut sand to the shooting range, lay down on that and shoot prone. We have five shots for five targets. And if you miss, you have to ski an extra 150 meters. And you’re shooting at 50 meters. That’s the distance and it’s always the same rank that come back.

The challenges of shooting after doing that kind of physical activity Barnes said are not as big as people think. With the heart rate up to around 180 beats per minute, she said the peaks and valleys of one’s heart rate are close enough to make minimal movement versus a rate around 120-140 where movement is very perceptible.

Being able to handle that kind of a drain on the body, mind, and spirit might make someone respond in the enlightened manner Barns did in her post.

I don’t know if there’s any special sauce or magic smoke to the banning of Barnes. I think that she was banned for having firearms in her videos, period. Right? There doesn’t seem to be a real rhyme or reason to it based off what I know about her content. What my speculation is though that maybe a habit Barns has, which she explains in the interview, might be the crux of TikTok’s pushing away this accomplished Olympian as if she’s a leper. Maybe there’s a different bias here?

Yeah, so as a three time Olympian, having competed and trained at the highest level in the sport, it’s easy to get burnt out, at having done that with the regular training and so what I do is I’ll put in the work with the regular training. You know? The build drills and the repetitions and dry fire and stuff like that. But, at the end of every practice I give myself some sort of challenge. And it’s usually a trick shot, you know. My twin sister will come up with something or I’ll come up with something and then I’ll try it out. And, sometimes it’s successful, sometimes not. But it’s always something to look forward to at the end of training.

Should Barnes have tagged her videos with the moniker “This sequence is being performed by a professional, so don’t try this at home (or the range).”? Would that have saved her from the electronic guillotine? Was it the “trick shots” that got her banned? Cook uses a firearm as a percussion instrument in some of his videos, is that why he’s banned? Are “trick shots” and “gun grams” just too risky or dangerous for the eyes’ of TikTok users? Or is it just the guns?

 

I did want to get as close to the bottom of the why Barnes was banned. I’ve seen her content and I find it to be high quality and I understand everything she does, is done in a safe manner. I reached out to Barnes to give her a chance to speak to the whole debacle. This is what she had to tell me about the videos that were banned:

I am a 3x Olympian and professional shooter. I take being a role model very seriously. When I post on social media I always think of what a kid might think if they saw the post. My main goal is to try and inspire as many people to follow their dreams as possible. Second goal is to teach people how to become better in shooting sports by posting how to tips and training. 3rd goal is to try and help people learn how to protect themselves and not become victims of violence or sexual assault. 

I was banned on Tiktok for posting videos that they said didn’t meet community standards and promotes violence. I like to think that I have promoted the positive use of firearms my entire life instead of the opposite. With the violence glorified so much in the media, on movies and in video games I believe I am doing the exact opposite. Promoting safety, responsibility, and using a firearm to either engage in competition or to help provide good, healthy organic meat for your family through hunting. 

The videos that were banned were as follows, a squirrel running up a tree to funny music, showing off a new knife, how to make bear fat pop tarts, how to improve your time on transitioning from target to target with your shotgun for a 3-gun competition, and lastly a group of ladies and myself that were coming out of a tent at a trade show one by one with blue guns (plastic training guns) with Minion glasses on. 

Whatever the internal reason is, actual reason, or if those were in fact the offending videos, it’s not going to change a thing. TikTok is a foreign entity. They really can do whatever they want on the internet and there’s not much recourse users or content creators have.

The speeding train of banishment of anyone and anything that goes against an accepted narrative is just going to keep on heading down the line. The only thing that’s going to stop companies from treating opposing voices like they’re second class citizens is if our would-be corporate overlords are slapped with heavy civil and criminal penalties, or if the people truly do band together to tell them “enough is enough.”

Barnes and all the other professionals, content creators, and yes everyday citizens that wish to express themselves need to keep on doing their thing. Hopefully Barnes will continue to do her thing, I think she will. She’s still on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube if you’d like to check out her too hot to tok content. Thanks for what you do Lanny. You are an inspiration! 

The full Gun Owners Radio interview cited in this article with Lanny Barnes can be watched HERE or in the embed below.