Disgraced freelancer falsely claims peaceful Virginia 2A rally wasn’t “peaceful”

Talia Lavin made the false claim in GQ magazine. One can see now why Lavin was forced to resign from her position as fact-checker at the New Yorker.


Monday’s march for the 2nd Amendment in Richmond, Virginia went off without a hitch. Contrary to early reports that “swarms” of “white nationalists” would be descending upon the Virginia state capitol to protest gun control laws enacted by the commonwealth’s General Assembly, most—if not all—of the gun rights activists remained orderly and self-composed.

Gun rights marchers expelled speakers who called for violence. In one instance, an antifa member “Goad Gatsby” called out a neo-Nazi named Jovi Val, who allegedly wore a swastika to the event.

Despite the peaceful protest, NBC reporters portrayed the event in negative terms, and even lied about it. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes claimed in a broadcast that the rally sent an “explicit and implicit message” of “don’t you dare enact our policies, if you do, we will use these guns against you.” If anything, the Framers would be proud of seeing Americans generations ahead of them stand up for their God-given rights to defend themselves against the tyranny of an overbearing government.

The media’s message is that standing up for your rights is a violent action in and of itself—it’s a narrative that continues to be propped up. Writing for the men’s publication, disgraced New Yorker fact-checker Talia Lavin says that “the threat of violence in Richmond,” and the few arrests of alleged neo-Nazis planning violence that were made prior to the event “sent other groups into hiding.”

A Canadian neo-Nazi is currently being prosecuted for his alleged intention to commit violence in Richmond. He recorded a video calling for “violent revolution” ahead of his failed attempt to participate in the gun rights rally.

According to Lavin’s spin, the thousands of protesters attending the rally (which includes activists from the Black Panthers movement, pro-gay rights libertarians, 2nd wave feminists, and many others who support the right to bear arms) only “grumblingly abided” Governor Ralph Northam’s state of emergency declaration. The description she uses to describe the marchers is biased, to say the least:

“But just outside the legions of police barricades, twice that number of people roamed the streets of Richmond bearing a bristling mass of rifles, from AR-15s to massive Barrett sniper rifles. Some wore skull masks; others waved Confederate flags. Members of hate groups like the League of the South and the American Guard, as well as the Proud Boys, mingled openly; some of the latter were wearing patches that said “RWDS”—an acronym for “Right-Wing Death Squad.” Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gave a speech from a Terradyne battle tank.”

A Terradyne “battle tank”? Really?

Firstly, the Terradyne is a glorified SUV. And second, even APCs aren’t tanks. Those BearCats the police use? Yeah, those aren’t tanks either. Come on, journalists—you can’t keep confusing Remington 870s for AR-15s.

Digression aside, the mention of “skull masks,” “massive Barrett sniper rifles,” and “Confederate flags” paints a less-than-friendly picture of the march. But as video footage of the march itself exists, it’s a false depiction of a peaceful event that’s very easily dispelled. We can watch the footage too, you know.

One can see now why Lavin was forced to resign from her position as fact-checker at the New Yorker after falsely accusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent of having a Nazi tattoo. The tattoo in question was a Maltese Cross, often seen in paramedic and firefighter insignias. One wonders if she will issue a correction properly describing the event from an unbiased, fact-based perspective.

Lavin then concedes, or more accurately laments, the fact that no one was shot at the event, describing it as “a frankly extraordinary turn of events given the sheer amount of weaponry, the density of the crowd, and the weapons stuffed casually into backpacks or held loosely in the crooks of pale arms.”

“Pale arms.” The subtext is clear: white people who stand up for their right to self-determination are prone to acts of violence.

There’s an old saying made popular by gun rights activists that holds true, especially following the media’s inability to reconcile the abundance of firearms with the lack of violence: an armed society is a polite society.

Diverging, or at least pretending to diverge from the mainstream view that “man with guns = bad,” Lavin opines that both “fringe-right publications” as well as the mainstream media declared the event a “peaceful protest.” Why, it seems that reality may indeed have a conservative bias. None of this matters to Lavin, of course, who argues that violence was only “narrowly averted” because some wingnuts from a neo-Nazi organization called The Base were arrested prior to the event.

This is, of course, a poor read on the event. While neo-Nazis may have in fact been planning to enact violence at the Virginia state capitol, the fact remains that the estimated 22,000 people who walked for their right to bear arms had nothing but peaceful intentions. Also worth noting is the fact that the 22,000 figure, provided by Richmond authorities, is whittled down to a mere 6,000 by Lavin in her piece. Surely giving readers the impression that more than a few thousand people care about their 2nd Amendment rights is a fact that would fly in the face of her narrative that it’s an issue only dangerous neo-Nazi skull masks care about.

The piece is full of “what ifs” and “could haves”—what if The Base members weren’t arrested? They could’ve killed thousands of people, surely. Wouldn’t that feed ratings for an entire news cycle?

“There was, it was true, an absence of immediate bloodshed,” continues Lavin. “But what abounded, in that armed and insurrectionist sea of humanity, was the promise that bloodshed might happen at any time, should the will of the mob be thwarted.”

The promise of bloodshed isn’t a promise being made by those defending the 2nd Amendment. As the events in Waco and Ruby Ridge tell us, the only real bloodshed would be caused by a government overreaching and tyrannical in its nature. The right to bear arms is what prevents such violence from being enacted unto the citizenry. Thus always to Tyrants.  

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