(TMU) — A state of emergency has been declared by the Governor of Virginia ahead of an upcoming gun rights rally that is planned to take place in Richmond later this week. Governor Ralph Northam cited “credible intelligence” that there were threats of violence in relation to the rally.
The state of emergency status will temporarily ban individuals from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds. During a press conference on Wednesday, Northam said that the move was in response to concerns that “armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol” during the January 20 rally. The governor also said that authorities had tips about “extremist rhetoric” being used in reference to the march. He drew comparisons to the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
“We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here… No weapons will be allowed on Capitol grounds. Everything from sticks and bats, to chains and projectiles…. The list also includes firearms. It makes no sense to ban every other weapon but allow firearms when intelligence shows that armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol.“
However, it is important to note that these are entirely different situations. The 2017 rally in Charlottesville that ultimately left one woman dead was a demonstration organized by white supremacists, and while many of them did happen to be armed at the protest firearms were not the focus of their marches. Furthermore, this upcoming rally is focusing specifically on firearms and does not appear to have any racist overtones.
Still, things could get ugly at the January 20 rally considering that many of the participants who have already received news of the ban have said that they will still be bringing their weapons.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has threatened that “Violations of the law will not be tolerated.” A heavy police presence is expected on the day of the event.
Journalist and videographer Ford Fischer, who frequently covers protests including those that are armed, is drawing attention to the fact that Northam classified helmets as “weapons” in the recently released emergency order. For Fischer and other independent journalists who put themselves on the line to document events such as this safety is a major concern. Disallowing helmets means they may be at risk or will be unable to cover the event altogether.
Governor Northam has classified helmets as "weapons" in his emergency order banning weapons at Monday's event.
I don't ordinarily comment my own opinion on matters I intend to cover, but this will directly damage my ability as press to cover this event safely. pic.twitter.com/xBEwEwkoTp
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 15, 2020
Governor Northam says that he believes the rally was planned with a peaceful intent but that it has grown into something that can’t be controlled.
“I believe them when they say this is a peaceful event, that’s what democracy is. Unfortunately, they have unleashed something much larger, something they may not be able to control,” Northam said.
The January 20 protest was planned by the gun-rights group Virginia Citizens Defense League and was organized in response to new gun control measures that have been introduced in the state, as previously reported by the Mind Unleashed.
There is no telling how many people will show up for the protest. The event organizers say that as many as 100,000 people could show up but only about 5,000 have clicked to RSVP on Facebook.
Much of the online rhetoric that has authorities concerned involve references to the term “boogaloo”—a term that has been used online to describe a potential coming civil war.
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.