Nearly three dozen people — county commissioner Kent Becker among them — turned out Sunday to hear about a “one world” threat posed by “woke” ideology and about how to persuade others to oppose restrictions on firearms.
In a meeting advertised on the City of Marion’s electronic sign, Marion County Patriots for Liberty, originally a pro-Donald Trump group led by county Republican chairman Rose Davidson, also discussed voting for the proposed “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment to “save babies’ lives.”
Other topics included pitches for candidates who might take control of the State Board of Education to enact what group members regard as a proper curriculum for schoolchildren and for “our” state representative candidate, Scott Hill, who is challenging incumbent John Barker.
The group began and ended its meetings with prayer. In the invocation, Daryl Enos, who serves as the county’s sole non-attorney on a committee that nominates district judges, noted that the group seeks only to “promote the principles our country was founded on.”
In a half-hour presentation, he went on to offer a summary of a book by conservative commentator, conspiracy theorist, radio host, and television producer Glenn Beck about something referred to as environmental, social, and governance scoring.
“It’s a different tactic for things we’re been seeing since creation,” Enos said. “It’s all about power. The answer to that is Jesus Christ.”
As Enos explained, “globalist” financial interests are conspiring to impose standards on banks that would limit lending to companies and individuals who do not respect gender, race, and ethnic diversity in leadership, fail to agree to “wipe out the use of most fossil fuels,” and fail to create business relationships that make unions, suppliers, and consumers as important as corporate shareholders.
Claiming that three firms control more than a fifth of the stocks in the Standard and Poor 500 index, Enos said governments responded to this pressure by simply printing money, aggravating inflation.
“Inflation is an invisible tax,” he said. “You need to remember that it’s a tax.”
He added that a key determiner of U.S. interest rates and inflation, the Federal Reserve System, “is not a government institution but a private consortium.”
Globalists’ scoring of environmental, social, and governance factors creates incentives for following a “woke,” “one world” agenda, he said.
“But ‘incentives’ is big word for them,” he said. “Basically, it means coercion.”
Audience member Fred Puttroff interjected that schemes of this nature weren’t the only challenges faced.
Puttroff said philanthropist and billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates “is around a big push in the military to replace meat with synthetic, derived protein.”
“Their goal is to take us over,” Puttroff went on to say. “I hope Jesus comes before all of this.”
After Enos’ presentation, Davidson and fellow presenter Jackie Palic took the stage — “locked and loaded,” as Davidson put it — wearing holstered handguns with extra magazines to demonstrate how they were attired during a five-day, $500 training session they recently attended at a National Rifle Association facility in New Mexico.
“It’s kind of a radical thing to do,” Davidson said, “so I didn’t tell people what I was doing.”
Afterward, however, women in particular came up to her to ask about the session because they fear for their safety, she said.
“Police can’t be everywhere,” Davidson said. “My husband can’t be standing in front of me all the time.”
For four years before attending the class, Davidson carried a revolver. She switched to a 9mm semiautomatic because it was easier to conceal and because openly carrying weapons is likely to make someone a first target for “bad guys.”
“I grew up on a farm and went hunting but didn’t really feel confident,” she said, despite carrying her weapon in Wichita, Kansas City, and Hays.
So she chose to attend the class, which included 12 hours of classroom work and 28 hours on a shooting range, much of that time focused on safety.
The class, sponsored by a group called Patriot Academy, is open to anyone age 11 and older.
“A lady cop said it was a lot more training that she ever received as a cop,” Davidson said.
Both she and Palic warned crowd members: “Police are not obligated to help you at any time.”
Although not taught how to clean a weapon, students learned to shoot “soft tissue” areas such as the chest and face and to use jacketed hollow point bullets, designed to expand on contact, to reduce the possibility of injuring a bystander with a shot the goes all the way through a “bad guy.”
They also were told to shoot twice in the chest and once in the face to make sure a “bad guy” is stopped.
“I’m not ready to do it,” Davidson admitted. “Could I ever do it? Shooting another person is not what I want to do. I just want to be ready. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m some blood-thirsty person.”
Palic then offered tips from a presentation made during their training session about how to sway attitudes of those who seek to limit firearm availability.
The No. 1 threat to Second Amendment freedoms is ignorance, she said.
“The media then takes it and runs,” she added, “and it makes the rest of us who follow the law look bad.”
Public opinion nationwide favors at least some limits on firearm ownership and use.
“We must change opinions first, then culture, then the law,” she said. “Facts are not enough. Emotions are needed, too. All of us seek facts that support our emotions. We need emotions that are supported by morality and facts.”
Rabid gun opponents are “motivated by selfishness, power, or evil” and have hardened ideologies that make them impossible to persuade, she said.
She urged ignoring rabid opponents and focusing instead on “reachable” people who, through “ignorance, fear, misinformation, or differences of philosophy” may oppose gun uses that members of her group favor.
“Research why they believe as they do,” she said. “Don’t make an enemy of them. Find common ground where we can change their thinking a bit.”
The audience rippled with laughter when she suggested that gun opponents did not understand “the main purpose of the Second Amendment is to prevent disparity of power between the people and the government.”
“I don’t have a lot of faith in my government anymore,” she added.
Audience members suggested that totalitarianism or a Ukraine-like invasion would be likely without the Second Amendment.
Palic added that gun-free zones for schools “make our children sitting targets.”
She said she had concluded that many of those she termed “reachable” believe “human nature is basically good.”
Laughter again rippled through the audience.
Becker soon after closed the meeting with another prayer.