Gun Rally in Shadows of Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King

By Paul Helmke 

A disturbing magazine cover crossed my desk last week announcing, in big bold print, that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the NRA are hosting a “Restoring Honor” rally next month.

It’s being held at the Lincoln Memorial — a place that honors America’s most revered president – the one who saved our union, freed African slaves, and breathed the healing balm “of malice toward none,” at the conclusion of our bitter Civil War – and who was killed by a gun.

It’s also being held on the 47th anniversary of the “March on Washington.” The march where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently of his dream that one day his children would live in a nation where “they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character;”

…Where this same civil rights giant, and pacifist who won the Nobel Prize for Peace, was joined on the podium — and in the 200,000-plus audience — by Americans of all races, backgrounds, and religions; and

Where the transformative power of non-violent protest and forgiveness traveled deeply into the racially scarred American consciousness, and prodded political leaders to pass laws that struck down decades of discriminatory practices that had relegated a group of people to the desert of second-class citizenship.

Now picture the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on the anniversary of I Have a Dream, with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre at the podium, and our National Mall teeming with their followers to, in Beck’s words, “pick up Martin Luther King’s dream…”


Calling the date of his rally “Divine providence,” (as noted ironically by the Colbert Report) this is the same Glenn Beck, a life-member of the NRA, who has insulted the Anti-Defamation League; challenged Keith Ellison, a Muslim who had just been elected to Congress to “prove to me you are not working with our enemies;” repeatedly called President Obama “a racist” and accused him of having “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” This same Beck recently urged Christians to leave their churches if their ministers ever spoke about “social justice” – the very foundation of King’s leadership during the 1950’s and 1960’s – because he considers the term code for “communism and Nazism.”

This is the same Sarah Palin, who has purposely stoked fears and resentment among gun-owners by wrongly accusing President Obama of wanting to ban guns; who disregards the 70 percent of Americans who want restrictions on semi-automatic assault weapons; and rejects the medical community’s assertion that gun violence in America is a national health problem.

This is the same Wayne LaPierre, who insists that “…it’s the guys with the guns make the rules.” Not Jefferson’s ‘We, the people,’ the American voters, or their representatives. No, “the guys with the guns” – a statement that bears eerie similarity to the one John Wilkes Booth authored in a letter on April 14, 1865, the morning before he assassinated Lincoln, that “Might makes right.”

The same LaPierre who just weeks ago debated me on PBS’s News Hour and argued that laws, such as requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales at gun shows are the equivalent of a “poll tax.”

Yes, you read that correctly. LaPierre equates laws restricting access to guns by dangerous people with a tax designed to keep African-Americans from exercising their 15th Amendment right to vote, which had been blocked for a century after the Civil War. A tax that ultimately was consigned to the dustbin of history by the groundswell of support for the 24th Amendment, which became law on the heels of the 1963 March on Washington. Somehow a proposal designed to slow the mind-numbing gun violence touching so many in this country equals – in LaPierre’s mind — the century-long disenfranchisement of former slaves and their descendants.

On that podium also will be Ted Nugent, a guitarist and NRA board member, who has insulted women and gays, and who told the Detroit Free Press Magazine that, “Apartheid isn’t that cut and dry. All men are not created equal. The preponderance of South Africa is a different breed….”

A large part of the audience likely will be those who identify themselves as members of the Tea Party, some of whom at past public events have openly carried guns and used tactics of intimidation; brandished racially offensive posters depicting President Obama; and shouted racial and anti-gay slurs at congressional leaders outside of a rally to allegedly protest health care legislation. One of the spokespersons for the Tea Partiers even wrote a facetious letter “from the Colored people” to Abraham Lincoln praising slavery, to challenge the NAACP’s claims that the party harbors racist elements.

Most jarring is the sad irony of all of these people at the podium, with their supporters spread across our National Mall, celebrating, in part, their worship of guns, while invoking, quite blatantly, the legacies of two great Americans whose magnificent lives were cruelly cut short by bullets.

And as you hold that image in your mind, consider the words of Dr. King, who, while mourning with all Americans the loss of President John F. Kennedy to gun violence, suggested: “While the question ‘Who killed President Kennedy?’ is important, the question ‘What killed him?’ is more important. Our late President was assassinated by a morally inclement climate. It is a climate filled with heavy torrents of false accusation, jostling winds of hatred and raging storms of violence. It is climate where men cannot disagree without being disagreeable, and where they express dissent through violence and murder.”

Are Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, and Ted Nugent, at this place and time, the new keepers of King’s dream and of Lincoln’s legacy? Or do they, with this event at this place and time, in one of the boldest and most public ways imaginable, mock, and indeed, slander, everything for which these men so nobly stood, and for which they died?

The Armenian Genocide in Turkey, 1915-1918. It would have been "insurrectionist" AND ILLEGAL to defend these Christian Turkish citizens against the Muslim government killing them with wild citizen approval . and participation.

From "Armenian Golgotha":

"It's wartime, and bullets are expensive. So [Muslim] people grabbed whatever they could from their villages -- axes, hatchets, scythes, sickles, clubs, hoes, pickaxes, shovels, -- and they did the killing accordingly."
After having been "invited to participate in this sacred religious obligation."
6,400 women and children massacred by their neighbors.
"The police soldiers in Yozgat and Boghazliyan .. would even boast to some of us how they had committed tortures and decapitations, cut off and chopped up body parts with axes, and how they had dismembered suckling infants and children by pulling apart their legs or dashing them on rocks."
Testimony of a Muslim Turk to an Armenian Christian man being taken to his own murder by government, so he saw no harm in giving details.

The greatness of Dr. King is made clear in his letter from Birmingham Jail. He could be writing about the constitutionalist movement today instead of blacks in the 1960s. Please find it online and read it all.

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

Helmke is offended. Offended that people who disagree with him have the opportunity to book time at the Lincoln Memorial. And he wants you to be offended. He yanks out every criticism possible but one is very ironic. Helmke writes about Beck's questioning of Ellison as if this disqualifies Beck somehow. Here is the twist: Helmke is the president of a gun control group who changes names every ten years or so. The first big time driving force president of this group was Pete Shields. His son was murdered in 1974 while in San Francisco by radical Muslims on a killing spree. They used machetes, meat cleavers, and a pistol to kill 14 and wound another seven. These killings are known as the Zebra Murders. Shields spent the rest of his life blaming that pistol and not the criminals. Too bad. If he and others had woke up perhaps we would not have had 3000 people killed by 19 guys and a few box cutters.

Sheild's group would never question the radical Muslim source funding of Ellison or any of his radical connections. Instead they are dedicated to gun control, machete control, and meat cleaver control. They want to control guns and they want to control your emotions. They will lie to get it done. When Helmke writes about racial slurs directed at congressmen he it telling a lie. Even the New York Times now admits this never happened and has corrected earlier articles. The truth is that the biggest racists are the gun controllers. They want to eliminate guns in the hands of blacks and then others. They support the strongest controls in places with heavy black populations (Washington DC, Chicago, New York City). However they believe they personally deserve the protection guns provide. Rosie O'Donald, Mayor Daley, Wade Rathe, and Paul Helmke travel with armed guards. They feel the rest of us should make do without guards and without guns. But on the other hand you will never see Helmke supporting a three strikes law to punish criminals. Never. And you can call me.. E. Zach Lee-Wright

E Zach Lee-Wright

The ralley is for the families of fallen Spec Ops soldiers, not the NRA. All procedes go to that foundation.

Nevermind that it's their right to hold this rally. It's also their right to carry firearms if they so choose. The thing these people don't like is the fact we are citizens fighting for our right to govern ourselves and make our own decisions and mistakes. They can't stand that. They want to be the elite ruling class. Beck is right and they don't like that.

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled the police are not responsible for the safety of the individual citizen. As long as I am responsible for the safety of me and mine, I will decide what is necessary to secure that safety. Mr. Helmke and his supporters can just pound sand.
It is with this in mind that I offer the following as a counter to Mr. Helmke's histronics, the following quote by John Adams - U.S. President, American Patriot, and British Traitor:
"Resistance to sudden violence , for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable rght of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society and which I could not surrender if I would."

"An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity." - Clint Smith

My favorite part is the dismissing of history . The ones with the guns DO make the rules. The reason you can even come to the conclusion that the voters and legislators make the rules is because of armed citizens backing them, and our system.

I don't follow anyone, because those that appear to be on the same path usually end up just getting in my way.

attention! The fact the Beck & Palin & Nugent are 'performing' this act in this arena shows their lack of understanding of history .
Everyone has an opinion and a voice, all are welcome to participate in the democratic experiment. However, respect is due those giants of history but only those versed in history are able to respect the gentle giants for their true greatness!

It seems you may have fallen victim to the poorly written headline of this overly wordy blog. This rally has NRA support but it is not a "gun rally". It is a fundraiser for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, whose website may be accessed here: /

Oaul Helmke wrote,"the century-long disenfranchisement of former slaves and their descendants."

And what of New York century long denial of the practice of the right to arms to average citizens whose only crime was that they couldn't show "good cause" to carry a hand gun, for get the "and bear" part??? Do you also support the states denial of freedom of speech because the person is not saying something the stae approves of? And what of licensing fees that are intended to be prohibitive of the practice of the right to arms, in just what way are those different from poll taxes ?

And Lincoln wasn't killed by a gun, guns are inanimate objects incapable of acts of self will. Lincoln was murdered by John Wilkes Booth, a human who used a gun, and given the historical facts could as easily used the knife he was carrying that night, which he waved at the crowd as he shouted "Death To Tyrannts" before fleeing Ford Theater.