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Thread: Gun-rights advocates stage protest at Norfolk council meeting

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    Regular Member Kevin108's Avatar
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    From http://content.hamptonroads.com/stor...amp;ran=238394
    Video at http://hamptonroads.tv/index.cfm?locvid=131262



    Chet Szymecki, who was arrested in June at Harborfest, was joined Tuesday by his daughter Kiersten, 13, and his wife, Deborah.

    By HARRY MINIUM, The Virginian-Pilot
    © August 29, 2007

    NORFOLK

    More than 100 gun-rights advocates, most carrying handguns on their hips and wearing buttons saying "Guns Save Lives," came to the City Council on Tuesday night to protest what they called harassment of law-abiding gun owners by city officials.

    The protest was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, after Chet Szymecki of Yorktown was arrested in June at Harborfest for carrying a gun.

    Szymecki was arrested for violating a city ordinance banning guns at Harborfest - an ordinance that officials now acknowledge violates state law. City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko said city officials were unaware of a state law prohibiting localities from banning guns.

    Carrying a weapon openly is legal in Virginia, even at a large gathering such as Harborfest. Once city officials realized their error, the charges against Szymecki were dropped.

    "We made a mistake," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "It was unintentional."

    Most who came to protest didn't appear to believe it was an innocent mistake.

    "You know it was illegal," said Dave Vann, who drove from Falls Church to speak. "You arrested someone, and now it's going to cost you dearly."

    Szymecki, a Navy veteran, said he was manhandled and hurt and that his wife, Deborah, his three children and two other children who accompanied them were traumatized. He said he has hired Norfolk attorney Stephen Merrill.

    An emotional Deborah Szymecki told the council that after several police officers were done handcuffing her husband, she was left without money or the keys to the family car.

    Others rose to describe incidents in which they said they were questioned and often handcuffed by police for simply carrying a firearm openly.

    "Apparently you have some officers who don't understand the law," said the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave of Midlothian.

    The meeting drew more rowdy as it continued, with speakers receiving thunderous applause and some expressing disgust for the council. Some used unsavory terms to describe the police.

    Councilman Paul R. Riddick left the meeting as gun-rights advocates began speaking, he said, in protest of their protest.

    Kim Barton, who would not say where she lives, tried to speak but was told by Mayor Paul Fraim that she couldn't because she had not signed up to speak.

    "I want to hear what she has to say," Vann said.

    Fraim replied, "I'm running this meeting " and informed Vann his time to speak had expired.

    Harry Minium, (757) 446-2371, harry.minium@pilotonline.com

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    I noticed Councilman Riddick leave but I had no idea that he was doing it as a protest to a protest. Thats absolute crap and says alotabout Norfolk's City Council. Somebody local to Norfolk needs to follow up on that...."City Councilman Leaves Meeting Because He Doesn't Like What is Being Said"

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    I have made just that suggestion to Harry Minium, that his follow-up be headlined "City Councilman Leaves Meeting Because He Doesn't Like What is Being Said"

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA KAM$$

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    That is deriliction of duty... that gets you fired in most normal companies... unfortunately our elected (mostly elected unopposed or opposed by unprepared candidates) officials are apparently above the law or above their responsibilities...

    If my 3 year old walks out of the room becuase he doesn't like what he is being told, then he gets a timeout... maybe Riddick needs one too...

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    I just submitted the following comment to the Pilot. It is pending review:

    Part of a Much Bigger Picture (hide comment)
    Unfortunately I havn't seen an additional article in the Pilot that lets folks now that there were several other Norfolk residents at the meeting who spoke of similar incidents with Norfolk Police when a lawfully carried gun was not part of the picture. Norfolk Police seem to be harassing just about everyone regardless of age, sex, or race. It was very disheartening to hear some of the stories from the local residents about how the police are treating their citizens. The City Council must take action immediately. I'm sure some are shocked that Councilman Riddick walked out of the meeting but I'm not. There is a good reason why he is no longer Norfolk's Vice Mayor.
    - Troy A. - Newport News

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    I like to see this kind of showing. Keep your elected officials inline as best you can. If they feed you the load ofBS about not knowing what your rights are, let them know what they are. LOUD AND CLEAR!

    As for Mr Coucilmember that does not like to hear what the "Folks"have to say, I suggest massive preassure to remove him from his position.

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    bayboy42 wrote:
    I noticed Councilman Riddick leave but I had no idea that he was doing it as a protest to a protest. Thats absolute crap and says alotabout Norfolk's City Council. Somebody local to Norfolk needs to follow up on that...."City Councilman Leaves Meeting Because He Doesn't Like What is Being Said"
    Riddick, who is a disgusting excuse for a civilservant, had no alternative but to leave.

    Since he could not control and censor thevoices who were saying things he did not like, he lacked the character to even listen to voices. He had to flee.

    Censorious persons, when they do not have the power to censor based opon their whim, always leave. They lack the character and fairness to let the other side have their say.

    Riddick should be removced from office immediately.

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    Nice Troy.... I was getting ready to post the same thing... THe only story about the meeting so far is a boring recount of our part of the meeting...

    The fact that we were preceded by several Norfolk residents complaining about Police Harrassment and the need to focus on gang activity in the city couldn't have been planned better... Too bad Riddick doesn't know what is going on in the city that employs him...

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    Just came across this video... I'm not sure if this is what was on 13 this morning, but it's a little snapshot of Dave Vann and Chet speaking... too bad they underestimated our numbers at 30... I don't think we had 100 like one report said, but I think it was over 50...

    http://www.hamptonroads.tv/index.cfm...=r700&fv=1

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    The latest...from the Pilot.


    No place for guns at council sessions
    [/b]The Virginian-Pilot
    © September 1, 2007
    Last updated: 5:19 PM


    The fevered words directed toward the Norfolk City Council Tuesday night by the Virginia Citizens Defense League offered another reminder of the dangerous double standard Virginia observes on firearms in public spaces.

    For reasons of safety, citizens are not allowed to openly carry weapons into courthouses in Virginia, or the state Capitol. How can anyone think it is a good idea to allow someone with a serious grievance to argue with a sidearm strapped at his hip?

    Such logic, however, has been lost on members of the legislature. A few years ago, they buckled under pressure from Second Amendment absolutists and carved out an exception permitting guns in school board and council chambers, making pointless any protection provided by metal detectors or bag searches.

    The General Assembly's concern for the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to its own chambers. Tuesday evening's meeting shows why. That's when the VCDL exploited the privilege granted by delegates and senators, showing up en masse in the 11th floor chambers of Norfolk City Hall, defiant and well-armed.

    They had a legitimate complaint: the mistaken arrest of a VCDL member for carrying his sidearm at Harborfest. Several years ago, the General Assembly revoked the authority Norfolk relied on to enact an ordinance preventing folks from carrying guns to a municipal party, but city officials never went back and tidied up the code.

    Some officers unwittingly tried to enforce it, and, according to the VCDL, did so far too roughly. The complaint deserves proper investigation and, where warranted, remedy and consequence. But any official inquiry would be done in spite of the VCDL's rude behavior, not in response to it.

    The organization's members faced no threat to their lives in City Council chambers, so carrying guns to the proceedings was only meant to intimidate the people they were addressing.

    The show of force, combined with contempt and name-calling (Norfolk police were variously depicted as bullies, thugs and goons, while the council members were dismissed simply as bigots) was intended to provoke an overreaction from Mayor Paul Fraim, rather than to seek genuine relief or correction. Although his composure was strained, the mayor didn't take the bait.

    This kind of thing would never happen at the General Assembly. Had the members of the VCDL showed up to address state lawmakers, they would have been denied entry by the Capitol Police until they disarmed, checked their weapon at the door, or locked them in a car.

    In adopting its own safeguards in April 2004, the joint rules committee of the House of Delegates and the Senate recognized the danger of guns all over their work place. The committee banned anyone from carrying weapons into the Capitol and the General Assembly office building but their own members, law enforcement agents, or concealed weapons permit-holders.

    For reasons dramatized Tuesday night in Norfolk City Hall, members of city councils and school boards deserve at least the same safeguards.

    http://content.hamptonroads.com/stor...amp;ran=120390


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    Phillip Van Cleave just sent this out earlier today... Everyone... and I mean EVERYONE here needs to bombard the Va Pravda with LTE's for this negligent dribble...

    Too many people believe everything that they read, and this moron just penciled us in as threatening extremist loonies...

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    Predictable response from the Pilot, as well as the council. Just as some here have said (and been thoroughly castigated for it), showing up with legally carried guns may not be the best way to get the message across.

    Apparently some of these city council members, as well as the media, are only smart enough to use one of their five senses at a time. You overwhelm their sense of sight with a gun on your person, and they don't have enough faculties left to use their sense of hearing.

    They didn't hear a damn thing, but they saw a man with a gun. Wrong message received....



    I'm sure some of you guys have taken communications classes. What's one of the BIGGEST premises taught in those classes? Tailor your message for the receiver. You go in there and throw up every mental defense mechanism your receiver has, and he is not going to hear a thing you say. Unfortunate, but true.

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    You make a good point, but I think the point that most of us try to make with something like this is that, "There is nothing wrong with legally carried firearms."

    To me, having been brought up around guns and taught about safe handling and correct use of firearms from an early age, I see nothing wrong with a corretly carried firearm. Unfortuantely too many people derive their opinions of guns from the bad guys that John McLean, Dirty Harry, and Danny Murtaugh dispatch in their movies...

    Open carrying ina responsible manner helps to educate the public.



    *For the cinematically challenged, John McLean is Bruce Willis in the Die Hard Series of movies and Murtaugh is Mel Gibson's character in the Lethal Weapon series...

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    oops... post deleted... I think my computer double tapped... If only I was as careful and diligent with my comptur as I am with my firearms...

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    tapper95 wrote:
    *For the cinematically challenged, John McLean is Bruce Willis in the Die Hard Series of movies and Murtaugh is Mel Gibson's character in the Lethal Weapon series...
    Are you sure? Danny Glovers' characters name was.... And as I recall DG is at least a leftwing activist and perhaps vocally anti-gun too, but that's Hollyweird culture.

    Edit: Checked. Gibson was Riggs and Glover was indeed Murtaugh.

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    tapper95 wrote:
    You make a good point, but I think the point that most of us try to make with something like this is that, "There is nothing wrong with legally carried firearms."
    tapper95, I think you're right, and I agree with your point, but just being right is not always enough to make sure your listener receives the message you are sending.

    I think that is proved by the hysteria exhibited in the Pilot editorial, as well as many of the people who commented on it.

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    Yeah, we're nutty....compared to this guy?

    Bringing my 12 guage shotgun! (hide comment)
    The only time I feel unsafe and fearful for my families life, is when I see a man take a seat next to my family with a gun strapped to his side. Jesus Christ. When someone like this 'Szymecki' sits next to me, I will go get my shotgun and pray that he will not do anything crazy. Is that what these gun people want? Everybody just sitting around a room loaded to the hilt with firearms, ready for a shootout? Even in Dodge City, they made you check in your guns when you came to town. Mr.Szymecki, please stay the hell away from me and my family.
    - John W. B. - virginia beach

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    I guess it's too much to expect the anti's to make the connection that there was a large group of people in a heated discussion, and their firearms were not used. Isn't that a primary tenet of their anti-gun misinformation campaign, that with guns, every argument will turn into people pulling out their guns and shooting each other? But once again, that's probably too much of a leap of logic for these "people"...

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    Just submitted the following comment to the Pilot:

    Another Slanted Pilot Article (hide comment)
    Why does the Virginia Pilot insist on misleading readers? This statement "This kind of thing would never happen at the General Assembly. Had the members of the VCDL showed up to address state lawmakers, they would have been denied entry by the Capitol Police until they disarmed, checked their weapon at the door, or locked them in a car" is NOT true!! At least the Pilot includes the real truth later in the article "The committee banned anyone from carrying weapons into the Capitol and the General Assembly office building but their own members, law enforcement agents, or CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT HOLDERS." I ask the Pilot or any reader "Where is the "right" place for a gun"? Where you KNOW you will be the victim of a crime?
    - Troy A. - Newport News

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    mzbk2l wrote:
    Predictable response from the Pilot, as well as the council. Just as some here have said (and been thoroughly castigated for it), showing up with legally carried guns may not be the best way to get the message across.
    Yes, I vaguely remember that..... :P



    mzbk2l wrote:
    Apparently some of these city council members, as well as the media, are only smart enough to use one of their five senses at a time. You overwhelm their sense of sight with a gun on your person, and they don't have enough faculties left to use their sense of hearing.

    They didn't hear a damn thing, but they saw a man with a gun. Wrong message received....

    Well, theyheard something. But it was garbled. A basic element in a lotof communication models is noise.You do have the effect right, IMO. People (receivers) can onlytend to acertain amount of stimuli effectively. Too much noise makes it too hard to receive the intended message.


    External noises along the channel of communication are sights, sounds and other stimuli in the environment that draw a recipient’s attention away from what is being communicated.





    The consequence of external noise is that the message may not reach the recipient in the same form in which it left you (i.e., the message received is NOT the message transmitted).*




    mzbk2l wrote:
    I'm sure some of you guys have taken communications classes. What's one of the BIGGEST premises taught in those classes? Tailor your message for the receiver. You go in there and throw up every mental defense mechanism your receiver has, and he is not going to hear a thing you say. Unfortunate, but true.

    Hardly unfortunate. It's the way we work. What is unfortunate is the ideological blindness that leads us to believe that the message will somehow get through, contrary to a huge block of communications research--and common sense.





    *http://www.vtaide.com/lifeskills/verbalC.htm


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    Since when does a gov't official get to "protest" against a constituency/public? Another reason why this a-hole needs to get another job. Just because he didn't WANT to hear what was going to be said, doesn't release him from the RESPONSIBILITY from doing his job.



    I wonder when someone in the local press down there is going to highlight that fact. Public officials CANNOT protest against the people they are responsible to. To me, that smacks of dereliction of duty...and should be corrected/punished/forced accordingly.

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    That's exactly what I said in an earlier post: This is equivalent to my 3 year old son running out of the room because he doesn't want to hear what I have to say... and that ends up with him getting a timeout...

    Riddick needs a timeout

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    Actually, I think this moron needs a good ole fashioned whoopin'--because he isn't a child who is misbehaving (granted, my boys get spanked--but only when warranted--which is once in a blue moon), but this moron neglected his duty.



    He needs a reminder as to who he works for...and be taken down a notch.

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    SIGguy229 wrote:
    Actually, I think this moron needs a good ole fashioned whoopin'--because he isn't a child who is misbehaving (granted, my boys get spanked--but only when warranted--which is once in a blue moon), but this moron neglected his duty.
    Wow. Whata great idea. Proposing physicality against an elected official on a public forum because you disagee with his actions. Soooooo impressive.


    To add to what the Virginian-Pilot said a few days ago:

    "How can anyone think it is a good idea to allow someone with a serious grievance to argue with a sidearm strapped at his hip" when thatsomeone has publicly stated that the public official needs a good ole fashioned whoopin'?



    SIGguy229 wrote:
    He needs a reminder as to who he works for...and be taken down a notch.
    That's for sure. But maybe there is a way to do that other than with a whoopin'.

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    Hank...

    Against my better judgement, I'm going to respond to your post...



    1 - I disagree with his actions because he is a public official who abdicated his responsibilities because he didn't like what he was going to hear from the public. I object to his "protest"--as if he, as a public official,has the "right" to protest. In his position, he does not have that right, but the responsibility to listen to grievances from the public and act accordingly.



    2 - My "needs a whuppin'" comment signifies my frustration with public officials like him who believe they can lord over people, and act without accountability. He acts like a spoiled child (who probably was never punished or forgot what it is like to be punished)--and has to be re-taught conseqences for his actions. Removal from office or civil litigation would suffice.



    Thank for your interest in self-defense.


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