Is this Black Panther enthusiast’s declaration that he will exercise his Second Amendment Rights to protect a multicultural center a threat? Derek Brigham of True North seems to think so, and I agree with him. If his statement a threat, in what way is it different from Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that the Second Amendment exists in case the government fails to follow the First one?
Obviously, I recognize some differences. For example, in the video above, the speaker was directing his statement toward a specific individual during a face to face encounter. In contrast, saying the Second Amendment protects the First leaves the parties involved unspecified–there is no indication who will utilize a Second Amendment remedy against whom. Nevertheless, the assertion that the Second Amendment protects the First is absolutely meaningless but for the underlying threat that armed violence will be used, or, at the very least, is justified to defend the rights the First enumerates. Unless you are claiming to be prepared to subject your target to an enhanced interrogation style repetitive recitation of the text of the Second Amendment until he desists in his attack, aside from the underlying threat of armed force the Second Amendment has absolutely no power to protect anything.
My point is not to condemn the rhetorical citation of the Second Amendment. Nor am I arguing against the premise that force might be justified in defense of certain rights; that truth is in fact the premise upon which the United States of America declared its independence and one of my most deeply held personal beliefs. My singular purpose is to point out that when you invoke the Second Amendment, you are declaring your willingness to shoot someone. There is no meaningful distinction between the two.