They Can't Take Your Rights, but They Can Make You Afraid to Use Them

Dexter Taylor, a Brooklyn native who is currently under indictment for building and possessing rifles and pistols. (Credit: Dexter Taylor)

Dexter Taylor did nothing wrong. 

As my colleague Jeff Charles has been reporting, one of the most egregious intrusions into our rights is happening to Taylor. The 52-year-old New York native and software engineer had been machining guns for years as a hobby. Taylor has no prior criminal record and lived in peace until the ATF and NYPD burst down his door and took him into custody in the middle of the night. 

As Charles reported, Taylor was sentenced to ten years in prison for the crime of building firearms without a license that he never could have realistically gotten and violating a law that appears highly unconstitutional in the first place. Moreover, his sentence was handed down by a judge who seemed hell-bent on putting Taylor away, so much so that she boldly declared that the Second Amendment didn't exist in her courtroom. 

READ: NYC Man Convicted Over Gunsmithing Hobby After Judge Says 2nd Amendment 'Doesn't Exist in This Courtroom'

Taylor and his lawyer plan on taking his case to an even higher court. I'm no lawyer, but I'm having trouble seeing how Taylor doesn't ultimately win at the higher level and, moreover, how this doesn't open the door for New York's unjust gun laws to be struck down. But I digress. 

The thing I want to point out is that all of this was for show. New York leftists, who have more power than they clearly should, wanted to make an example out of Taylor. They wanted their allies to see what they were capable of doing, and more importantly, for you to see what they could do to you for doing what they don't like. 

I want to direct you to a paragraph in one of Charles' pieces citing Taylor's lawyer, Vinoo Varghese, describing the prosecutor's opening statement and what they claimed to have found in Taylor's apartment: 

He opens up, and he says that Mr. Taylor had a parade of horror. He was building this horrible place. When they saw this horror that he was making under the noses of his neighbors because all of those guns intended to hit their targets, basically implying that he was going to do some harm with these things.

Taylor just liked building guns. Given his history, he was clearly a non-violent person, but that doesn't matter. The point they're trying to get across is that anyone who has the hobbies that Taylor does, or owns these firearms as Taylor did, is to be viewed that way by the state. The sentence handed down to Taylor reinforces this. 

Suppose you're an onlooker watching this happen, and you're not too familiar with the cultural/political fights happening around you. You might find yourself thinking that you really don't want this to happen to you, and as such, you'd just stay away from the business of firearms altogether. You might even warn your friends away from it, citing what happened to Taylor as an example of what they can do to you. 

Even if Taylor wins his case in a higher court, it won't matter. The damage is done. The message is sent. 

And the message is "Practice your Second Amendment rights and face the consequences." 

They don't have to take your rights from you. All they have to do is make you too afraid to practice them. 

You can see the same mentality when they arrested Blaze reporter Steve Baker, a man who dutifully covered the January 6 event and exposed quite a few facts that were inconvenient and embarrassing to the government. As I wrote back then, the FBI was going to charge Baker and ordered him to report to their Dallas office in shorts and sandals where they would then arrest him, march him around in leg chains to a courtroom in a deliberate attempt to humiliate and intimidate him. He wasn't even made aware of his charges until he arrived, which all ended up being misdemeanors. 

But again, this was all for show. As Baker later pointed out, there were people who had committed felonies in the room who weren't in leg chains like he was. This was all a production to send a message. 

The message? Practice your free speech rights in ways that embarrasses us and face the consequences. 

READ: They Can't Get Rid of Your Free Speech Rights, So the Plan Is to Make You Afraid to Practice Them

The bottom line here is that your rights are both a roadblock and a threat to government power. They don't have to take them away, however. All they have to do is get you to stop practicing them. If they can do that, then it's not too much of a leap to get you to stop defending them, either. 

They want to use fear to keep you in line. 

Don't be afraid. 


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