Roy Exum: The Famed Freitas Speech

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Several weeks ago a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (that’s what Virginia calls the state legislature) stood up and before that body responded to a claim by a Democratic lawmaker that Republicans were pro-Second Amendment and segregationists. Nick Freitas, who did two tours in Iraq with our Army’s Special Forces and has talked candidly about losing friends to terrorist gunfire, then proceeded to tear the liberal’s gun-control lobby apart. 

Freitas, age 39, spared no punches. “It was not our party that supported slavery, that fought women’s suffrage, that rounded up tens of thousands of Asian-Americans and put ’em in concentration camps, that supported Jim Crow, that supported segregation, or supported Massive Resistance,” Freitas said. “That wasn’t our party. That was the Democrat party.”

Not surprisingly, his speech went viral and has been seen – get this! --by over 20 million people across the country. Freitas, in his second term in the Virginia House, is suddenly the odds-on favorite to face Hillary Clinton’s pick as her Vice President – Tim Kaine –in this year’s Senate race in Virginia. 

Here is a transcript of what he said and, yes, he’s a well-versed Army veteran: 

* * * 

"So, over the last several days, Mr. Speaker, there's been a lot of discussion about an ‘open and honest debate’ with respect to school shootings, gun violence, gun control, etc. An open and honest debate, as I understand it, is one that would rely on data, facts, evidence, analysis, reason, logic, etc., etc. And I'm certainly willing to have that debate. 

I think if we were going to look seriously at school shootings and gun control, we would analyze things like "why do all mass shootings seem to take place in gun-free zones?" Wouldn't it be reasonable to test whether or not the efficacy of gun-free zones have actually achieved what their intended intent is? 

We would start to look at most of these shooters coming from broken homes. What sort of government policies have actually encouraged broken homes? You can look at left-leaning think tanks like the Brookings Institute, that will actually say that some of it can be attributed to various cultural changes that happened in the sixties, to include the abortion industry. 

You can look at a more conservative-leaning organization that will say that the welfare state contributes significantly to dismantling the family, as families became more and more dependent upon the government than they were mothers and fathers in the home raising children. 

We can look at various data with those areas in the United States and around the world that have strict gun control measures, and what their crime rates look like, whether its Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, and others that have incredibly strict gun laws, and yet for some reason haven't seemed to stop the gun violence in those particular areas. 

We can look at the analysis out of FiveThirtyEight - which is considered more of a left-of-center data analysis think tank - where you have several analysts now who have confirmed through the data that they were looking at -- not just the United States, but Canada, Great Britain, and Australia -- they were shocked that the data did not support what they thought gun control measures would actually achieve. 

We can look at the number of cases within the United States where a gun has been used for self-defense. Estimates range everywhere from 100,000 uses to close to 1,000,000 uses within the United States. Now some organizations and some reporters only want to report on the ones where a gun was used and it actually resulted in the death or maiming of the perpetrator. 

But if you look at the ones where the gun was used, and the mere presence of a firearm actually dissuaded a criminal from committing an act of violence, an act of rape, an act of murder, the number shoots up. It skyrockets. 

So when people on this side talk about the importance of the Second Amendment, please understand it's not just some base philosophical conviction that we all have. It is rooted in the idea that, while we may be a post-enlightenment society, the vast majority of horrible atrocities that we've seen have happened in those post-enlightenment societies. 

They've happened as a result of governments systematically disarming citizens and claiming themselves to be the sole responsible party for their security, and then turning on those same citizens and punishing them. That's the most egregious cases, but in the individual cases of self-defense, that's why the people on this side of the aisle hold the Second Amendment in such high esteem. 

Because we honestly believe that you have an inherent right to defend yourself, and your ability to defend yourself should not be exclusive to your size. Firearms provide someone that is weaker and not as fast the ability to actually to defend themselves from a stronger attacker. 

Some of the other things that they would look at, and certainly I would hope we would have bipartisan support for, all of us agree that we need to make sure that our students are better protected when they go to school. One of the things that we would look at is arming certain teachers. Not every teacher. But a teacher that is comfortable with it, is former law-enforcement, is former military, that is now in the classroom. 

Delegate Plum said yesterday that, that was ridiculous to consider. Why? Is it because the other side of this debate will only accept one "solution" to this problem, and that is tearing apart or gutting the Second Amendment? 

And I understand. We're gonna mention just a couple of the bills that were done this year, right? Background checks, getting rid of bump-stocks? If you're wanting the other reason why we can't have an honest debate over this one, it's because quite frankly, I don't think any of us on this side of the aisle believe you when you say that's all you want to do. 

It'll be bump-stocks and it'll be background checks. Then it'll be different kinds of background checks that register the guns. Then after that it'll be "we need to ban assault-weapons." What's an assault weapon? Something that looks scary. Then after that, it'll be semi-automatic rifles. After that, it'll be semi-automatic handguns. Then it'll be revolvers, shotguns. 

Because when the policies fail to produce the results you are promising to your constituents, you'll be back with more reasons why we've got to infringe on Second Amendment rights.

The other reason why it's really difficult to have an honest and open debate about this is because of members of this body comparing members on this side of the aisle to Nazis. Members on the other side of the aisle saying that when a 24-year-old teacher gets up that the whole debate is between the Second Amendment or her life. That's a false dilemma.

And quite frankly, one of the ones that I found the most offensive (along with being compared to Nazis) was being compared to segregationists. I just want to remind everyone of something very quickly. It was not our party that supported slavery, that fought women's suffrage, that rounded up tens of thousands of Asian-Americans and put them in concentration camps, that supported Jim Crow, that supported segregation, or supported mass resistance. That wasn't our party. That was the Democrat party.

Now I'm thrilled that Democrats no longer believe that. And I don't believe that a single current member of this body who is a Democrat ever believed those things. But I would really appreciate it if, every time you want to make a powerful point, you don't project the sins, the atrocities, and the injustices that the Democratic party perpetrated on others, onto us.

So if we want to have an open and honest debate, I am all for that. Let's do that. But it does start with a certain degree of mutual respect. It starts with a certain degree of not assuming that "the only reason why we believe in the Second Amendment is because the NRA paid us off." 

Well, if that's the sort of logic you want to use, why don't you go take a look at how much money the NRA spends and how much money Planned Parenthood spends. Because when I get up here and I talk about abortion, I don't assume that you're all bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood. I don't assume you're horrible people because I disagree with you on a policy position.
I assume that you have deep convictions and that we can have an argument and a debate about it. But if you're not willing to reciprocate that level of respect, well … don't be surprised when it becomes more difficult to talk about these things. 

Because there is a lot that we can do, and there is a lot that we need to do to ensure the security of our children and our citizens. But yes, we are going to have a problem with so-called "solutions" which infringe on people's liberty under the promise the government will provide for their security. Because ultimately, in this last school shooting, we had a perfect example of government being engaged over thirty times and still failing to provide security for those students. 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker." 

* * *

 As you can imagine, chaos erupted. Several black legislators walked out. All the Dems were furious. The Governor, Ralph Northam, a Democrat, begged everybody to calm down. House Speaker Kirk Cox, (R-Colonial Heights) said, “Everyone needs to take a deep breath.” 

But House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, (R-Shenandoah) wasn’t about to take a break and said for those who “routinely suggest Republicans have blood on their hands for defending gun rights were getting a taste of their own medicine. It’s too much for many of us to stomach,” he said.

But all over the country there were those among us who saw the tape who wondered, “Why can’t we get a candidate like that.”

I’d vote for Nick Freitas faster than you can hiccup. 

royexum@aol.com



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