MINOT, N.D. — This last week a couple of hundred left-wing activists took to the streets of Fargo to protest because some anonymous person on the internet suggested they might organize a "White Lives Matter" rally.
The left-wingers were out to preempt anything like that, though it's not clear that any of the "WLM" folks even showed up.
However dubious their motivations, there were some interesting things reported about the rally.
According to reporter C.S. Hagen, one of the organizers, Jamaal Abegaz, "carried two handguns at his sides."
Another organizing activist, Sarah Miller with the group Chaplains on Call and Emergency Response, "came to the Sunday's rally dressed in a uniform and carrying a handgun," according to Hagen.
Let's consider the implications of these reports.
First, let's be honest that if a group of armed right-wing reactionaries showed in downtown Fargo, in force, motivated to action by a lot of heavy breathing about some obscure internet postings, it's unlikely they'd be getting credulous, soft-focus coverage from the news media.
So much of the implicit bias present from those who bring us the news is expressed, not overtly, but rather in where the reporters, producers, and editors place their skepticism.
TONY BENDER: Can we talk about guns?
Second, it's very interesting that these left-wing activists are embracing their Second Amendment rights. North Dakota has long allowed open carry, and more recently the law has been expanded to allow constitutional carry as well, which allows any lawful gun owner to carry without a permit (though there are some provisos you should be aware of before doing it).
Though I largely disagree with the politics that were on display at this rally — I'm against bigotry, but definitely not for socialism — it pleases me to see the tacit recognition that the individual right to keep and bear arms is an important part of American citizenship.
Our national debate over gun rights traditionally breaks down on partisan lines. Republicans are generally for expansive gun rights. Democrats, meanwhile, routinely seek to capitalize on high-profile incidents of violence perpetrated by people using guns to justify restrictions on those rights.
Both sides are dug in. The debate seems intractable.
Maybe guns — and more specifically respect for, and exercise of, our individual right to buy them and possess them — are an area we can find some agreement?
I'd like to think so, though I suspect, as is often the case with our constitutional rights, those who emphasize them tend to be selective. This is to say they support things like free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms, for themselves and people like themselves.
They grow less supportive when the people exercising their rights don't look like them or think like them.
Let's remember, the Second Amendment is for everyone.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.