Peace, conciliation prevail at pro-police rally amid unique deterrent
At a “Back the Blue” rally in Denver one week ago, violent Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists rushed the stage, attacking well-known conservative commentator Michelle Malkin and injuring the event organizer.
In June, Antifa and BLM activists showed up at a similar rally in Springfield, Missouri, called Veterans Back the Blue, but peace prevailed, with one demonstrator even being given the microphone.
One apparent difference was that the host, Veterans in Defense of Liberty, deploys what it describes as “a cavalry division” called Liberty Riders of America. About 50 grisled veterans on motorbikes circled the square where the rally was held.
With buildings in the background, the gunning of their engines created a considerable echo, noted the event organizer, Dr. William Magill, the founder and executive director of Veterans in Defense of Liberty.
“I think that serves as a visual and emotional deterrent,” he told WND.
As many as 100 Black Lives Matter demonstrators showed up at the June 28 event in Springfield.
Magill recalled remarking to a colleague: “If something were to happen here today, it would not last very long.”
When the demonstrators got a little loud, Magill, from the podium, directed his words to them.
“This is an old statement, but I want you to know we mean it,” he told them. “I disagree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying, but every man here will defend to the death your right to say it.”
That quieted them down, Magill said.
Toward the end of the event – which was to culminate with the release of 18 blue balloons signifying slain local officers – a young black woman with the BLM demonstrators approached the stage with tears streaming down her cheeks.
She asked Magill if she could say a few words.
“I knew it would go in one of two different directions,” he said, but after having made the defense-of-free-speech statement, he decided to give her the microphone.
As he turned around, he noticed some of the honored guests giving him the look of “have you just lost your everloving mind”?
But it turned out to be one of the best moments of the event, he said.
The woman said she’s been in her black skin all her life, blue is not a color but a uniform, but she supports police and just wants accountability for the bad ones.
“Let’s give it up for our police,” she said. “Let’s give it up for our veterans.”
Magill said she ended up getting applause from both the veterans and the demonstrators.
“I thought, we maybe just tossed a pebble in the pond,” Magill told WND.
He said he may try to do a podcast with her over Zoom and “try to start the dialogue.”
Magill said that after he took back the microphone, he remarked to the crowd that 99.9% of police officers are good and there’s nobody that hates a bad cop more than a good cop.
“I said I have never been black a second in my life, but I’m the same color as all of us, that’s the color of humanity.”
He said he wants to try to “carry that kind of a conversation forward with her and see if can have some impact, at least in our little community.”
But he has no illusions about the official organization Black Lives Matter, noting it was founded by self-described “trained Marxists” with a political agenda that aims far beyond black lives.
Magill served with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965-1971, with the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1981-1988 and with the Denver Police Department from 1970-1976. He was a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Springfield, Missouri for 21 years.
He founded Veterans for the Defense of Liberty in 2010 with the aim, he said, to “restore and maintain the integrity of the republic based on correct moral and constitutional values.”
Among the group’s board members are former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and country music star Larry Gatlin.
‘Somebody had to stand up’
Magill said the idea for the rallies – more are planned for other cities, including San Diego and Dallas – was hatched when Black Lives Matter began calling for the defunding, or dissolution, of police departments.
“It became apparent that somebody had to stand up and support the police,” he said.
Many police officers are prior military servicemen, noted Magill, and they take the same oath to support the Constitution and defend America from foreign and domestic enemies.
“Every American has a right to sit on a porch with a firearm and a fire extinguisher on their lap to defend their life, liberty and property,” he said. “But because we don’t want to do that – and we haven’t done if for a couple of centuries – we have collectively assigned to a few fellow citizens the authority to act in our interests.”
The police department, said Magill, “becomes that thin blue line between us and tyranny, or us and anarchy.”
Veterans can identify with police officers, he said, but have a special respect for them.
“Veterans pack their sea bag and go off to war for one or two years and try to put behind them what has gone on,” he noted.
“The police officer, the guy in blue, does that every day,” he said. “He puts on the badge and the vest, and straps on the gun and goes out to manage that thin blue line, hoping he’ll come home.”
That fact amid the nationwide attack on police “snowballed” on him, he said, leading to the decision to launch the rallies.
“It means a lot for police officers to know that veterans are supporting them,” Magill said. “I thought it was important for them to know that while they are under fire, they are also under prayer, and they have a friend in the American veteran.
“The American veteran has to be able to say, we’ve got your back.”
Battlefield of ideas
Magill believes the far left is shifting what he describes as a civil war fought on the “invisible battlefield of ideas” to a war of “revolution and insurrection.”
“Heaven forbid, we don’t want to see this, but I think their intent is to spread Seattle and Portland across the country,” he said.
He urges citizens to hold their elected officials accountable.
“We’ve given them immense responsibility to administer our civic affairs, and when they refuse to do that – as they have in a lot of these cities – I would say that is tantamount to treason, because they have all taken an oath themselves,” he said.
“They have violated the rights of every citizen who has elected them.”
His group trains veterans in D.C. to “wield the sword of truth,” to be equipped to advocate for the principles of God-given, ordered liberty on that invisible battlefield.
“We freed the slaves, we freed Europe from the Nazis, we defeated Imperial Japan and there’s no reason in the world we can’t defeat this,” he said.
“I do believe with all of my heart that if we can manage this correctly, we come out on the other side stronger and restore the Constitution.”
The far left, he said, is “trying to control us by fear and anxiety, and they’re doing a really good job of it.”
“We need to turn it back on them,” he said, urging swift indictments and convictions of people responsible for the violence, classifying Antifa and BLM as terrorist organizations and cutting off their funding, and deploying federal law enforcement when necessary, with troops as a last resort.
“We can’t let another Portland happen. We can’t let another Seattle happen. We can’t let another statue be torn down,” he said.
“We’ve got to stand up or we lose America.”