We’ve had dozens of anonymous submissions through our website and questions through our blog clearly indicating the level of fear people in our country have today for one another, for our government, and for “stepping out of line”. Many of these have been a plea for help, with no one to turn to. Many of whom are sensing violence against protesters on May 30, and others who are so wrapped up in conspiracy that they believe the FBI is watching their every move.
While we appreciate being a source for these individuals to turn to, there’s nothing anyone can do about the threats blasted among peers online. It’s saddened us to see such violent, disgusting, anger-driven hatred spew from some seemingly normal everyday American’s. How is it any better to threaten someone's life with violent descriptive actions than it is for a terrorist/criminal/psychopath to kill an innocent person? There’s a troll for every seat, we know that, and in fact we’ve listened to what many of them have to say. However, when there is another human being on the other end of that tweet screaming some of the most vile things many of us have ever seen, toward what seems to be a majority of younger people, just for speaking out and asking questions...how is that any better than the actions of another who have harmed innocent people in an act of terror? We’ll add a disclaimer here though, we’ve seen some of the very same hate spewed in the other direction too... this goes both ways.
In America, we have the right to be wrong, and we have the right to be right. These are our opinions, based on fact or not, and everyone is entitled to them. The only time this isn’t applicable is in a court of law, where tangible evidence must be considered, and we are not a court of law. We have got to stop being the judge, jury, and executioner of one another.
A little over a week ago we started WEARETHELION, and in all honesty we felt what we were setting out to accomplish would have been more widely accepted by both sides. Our hope was to help educate the seemingly misguided, misrepresented, and disorganized #freejahar supporters on important issues. We’ve presented a substantial amount of content on our reasoning behind these items, a lot of which unfortunately doesn’t ever seem to be read by either side. Since our inception, we’ve explained on our What We Don’t Endorse page that Jahar is charged with a crime, and that whether he is guilty or not, our justice system has the right to detain him with probable cause. We’ve taken it a step further to explain that calling on Jahar’s freedom prior to trial makes about as much sense as those calling for him to be hung prior to trial. That’s when we started using #justice4jahar, and explained that calling for justice was far more applicable than calling for freedom. Freedom, and imprisonment, are results of justice by the people and for the people.
Our first exercise, #blackout, was an attempt to discourage another event that was scheduled to happen on the same day - #trollforjustice. We showed our supporters that our nations greatest influential leaders of social change, such as Martin Luther King, didn’t accomplish anything by spamming the White House, State Representatives, and mainstream media’s Facebook and Twitter accounts (Yes we know these didn’t exist then, replace the two with cold calls and polaroid photos) with evidence that many of these very people are calling conspiracy. #blackout showed people of all ages, races, and sex, despite what many believe, that writing their elected officials a professional inquiry to request an investigation into our concerns on their behalf is the right way to demand accountability, transparency, and change.
Many individuals, some for the first time in their lives, took the time to think through their requests to their elected officials and put a few letters in the mailbox. They took the time to reconsider what it was they were fighting for, was it Jahar, or was it for the rights they feel Jahar may have been stripped of? Regardless of if they were or were not, we should never condemn those who are speaking up in the right way and for the right reasons. That is why we foolishly believed many from the “other side” of this movement would appreciate our efforts. Yes, we’ve made mistakes, many of which you’ve called us out on and we listened to - some of which we’ve taken into consideration and some of which we’ve already taken action on. And yes, we’re still learning. We believed that by providing education, responsible reasoning, and level-headed neutral discussion... there would finally be a real, tangible reason everyone could align with in regards to speaking up for something we all believed in.
This is also partially why we have remained anonymous. The “faces” of the “movements” out there today are corruptible and incapable of speaking on behalf of a majority (or minority). Our volunteers behind the scenes remain anonymous not necessarily out of fear, but because we feel that an anonymous volunteer has a far more vested interest and enthusiasm for contributing than one who is given credit for all that they do. These volunteers are just like the rest of us. The majority of them are well into their adulthood, have children, are of different faiths, have different interests (a few pro-firearms and a few anti-firearms), but all of them wish to accomplish the same thing. We set out to help curb the unflattering representation of one’s sometimes misguided enthusiasm for a cause and help them reconsider their stance and on what issues. Thankfully, we’ve been successful in doing so for many of our supporters. However, we do realize there are others that still haven’t received and/or accepted the message. But that’s the beauty of being an American and living in a free country, that we shouldn’t have to fear having an opinion. We shouldn’t have to fear each other. You should be able to say the sky is blue and we should be able to say it’s navy and even after disagreeing we should both be able to treat each other with respect, high five and go get a beer. That’s the America we are fighting to help restore.
We know that there are those that will still press on with degrading their fellow human being, that there are those that will still make threats as violent as the Boston bombings, and we realise not everyone will see things the same way we do. That’s OK, and we appreciate the constructive discussions when there’s time to take part. Honestly. Now, there are also discussions that we seem to have to have daily, many actually very humorous, regarding our logo/branding. Yes, it’s a lion. No, it has nothing to do with terrorists or anti-government sentiment. We were inspired to speak out on the issues we align ourselves with by the events leading up to and immediately following the arrest/capture of Jahar, and yes Jahar did have a lion as his avatar. Regardless of his use of a lion, or anyone else’s use of a lion (think: Detroit Tigers, MGM, ING Bank, Saab), our’s is not in representation of any violent and/or terrorist activity. To us, a lion represents courage, authority, and grace. It’s as simple as that.
In conclusion, we sincerely intend to inspire (that one’s for you Brandy) our nations people to think investigatively, constructively, and encourage them to speak out without fear of their lives.