A look at the Virginia Citizens Defense League. This was cut from the gun story I wrote for C-VILLE.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League’s April 23 membership meeting starts with a potluck dinner at 6:30, mac and cheese, macaroni salad, potato salad, pie, cake, cookies and donuts all spread out and slowly congealing on a picnic table in the windowless, low-ceilinged main room at the Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club, off of Old Lynchburg road just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.
After dinner, VCDL president Philip Van Cleave stands in front of 29 people sitting in mismatched chairs at white plastic picnic tables, five of them women and at least five openly wearing pistols, and talks politics and media bias. Behind him, on either side of a big brick fireplace, is an American flag and a Gadsden flag, the yellow banner with a coiled snake and the motto “Don’t tread on me” that’s become the ubiquitous symbol of the Tea Party and their sympathizers. On the wall a poster reads, “Never Disarm. Register to Vote, Your Gun Rights Depend on it.” There is a lot of paranoia in the room, and even more anger; at the press, at New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, at Senator Chuck Shumer, at the general state of things, freedom-wise, in America today.
“Word to the wise,” Van Cleave says, “it’s gonna be a rough four years.” Read the rest of this entry »