by Garret Ean
Dec 9 2011
It was showtime, and no one much desired to be the first to stand in the courtyard. In front of the Hartman Union Building (HUB) at Plymouth State University, first came the journalists, then the (technically) counter protesters. They were organized with signs. Their protest began as they stood in a line, more signs than students. A familiar cast from independent media streamed in. Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and, to a much lesser extent, university police formed compacted columns at all major walkway points of entry.
The chalk sat locked in my trunk, but I bore two arms as I awaited Brad Jardis and Tommy Mozingo’s responsible gun carry outreach event. My customary sidearm, the Nikon Coolpix S570 sat mounted atop my telescopic tripod. On my hip was a spare battery and a fully unloaded 8 gigabyte SD card. Slung on my back, in a portable DVD player case that functions superior to any camera case I’ve seen for the purpose, was a a JVC mini DV camcorder with a single battery pack. The young dinosaur of the pre-digital age was at the ready in the case that I expended all of my digital video, or if any action required the 32x optical zoom capability.
The temperature peaked above freezing, and reporters constituted the majority of the crowd. Cameras abound; over the next hour people spoke, debated, and waited. Some spoke with each other, while some spoke at each other. Tiring of the tough questions from independent media, the counter protesters became silent. As the crowd spread out, several activists, and one deputy trying hard to discretely follow them, began walking around to the rear of one of the buildings bordering the campus. There, Brad Jardis stood a free man, with a rapidly growing audience on a hillside serving as a makeshift amphitheatre. Among the first rows of people was the most deadpan face of a sheriff’s deputy. Several other uniformed, armed men waited in the wings of the group. Complimenting the opposition, there were now signs present advocating for right to carry on campus. For the next half hour, Brad and Tommy spoke, taking questions and engaging in dialogue. No weapons were visible. Neither confirmed nor denied whether they were carrying firearms. Despite all of the preceding fear and hype, a respectful decorum was maintained, and no arrests were made. Now it was time for chalking.
As I returned with the chalk, Brad and Tommy were heading inside the HUB with a small crowd in tow, while many opted to stay outside. Chalkers of varying opinions shared their views in multiple colors. One woman in a Plymouth State shirt emerged and told myself and other chalkers that there was a rule against chalking in the common area. I politely informed her that I was going to continue chalking anyway, and she left. More people chalked. Then, an impromptu student choir suddenly came with a burst of singing. All enjoyed a rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth. There could have been no more apropos a segue way into a dual performance by the Shire Choir of Weeda Claus’ Chronic Christmas Carols. After performances both inside and outside of the HUB, what could have been the most cordial and non-confrontational right to carry demonstration — that featured no visible firearm carrying — came to a close.
22 Dec 2011: Video coverage from WMUR, including a written report. The Shire Choir’s performance of A Lay of Anslinger is featured briefly at 1:42 in the video.
Plymouth State’s newspaper publication, The Clock, covered the event, which includes a writeup and video interviews with students.
You can download the current song sheet used by the Shire Choir here: http://freekeene.com/2011/12/01/download-your-chronic-carols-songsheet-2/
Free Concord video coverage is featured in the following post.