Be civil but fearless

By Story of America Team

Cross-posted on Coffee Party USA.

At one point in the conversation, anarchist ex-Marine Adam Kokesh implied to Annabel Park that he was carrying a gun. Her response: a laugh.

Part 1 (9 min)

Yesterday Annabel Park tweeted out her new motto, “Be Civil But Fearless.” Today I thought I’d share some video that exemplifies that motto. On Dec. 21, Annabel interviewed Adam Kokesh, a fierce debater and right-wing web celebrity at the first National Rifle Association press conference after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, CT.

Adam was new to Annabel, but I had seen him chew people to pieces, and use the resulting video to make political statements, on more than one occasion. It says something about my respect and regard for Annabel that I wasn’t concerned in the least when she asked Adam for an interview, and asked me to film it.

Adam, who is known for his YouTube channel “Adam vs. The Man,”  and Annabel, who was there to film a segment for her new project Story of America, have very different perspectives on issues such as gun regulation and the role of government in society. Adam says at one point in part two that he doesn’t want government to provide public safety or national security — that he’d like to do away with law enforcement and a standing army. Perhaps I’m biased, but I felt like Annabel got the best of the exchange even though Adam did most of the talking. But you can judge for yourself.

Part 2 (8 min)

You might be interested to compare Adam’s filming and editing of the protest outside the NRA press conference to the filming and editing that Annabel and I did at the very same event.  Below is Adam’s video followed by one of several that we did.

In this video, Annabel talks to another man who feels very strongly that assault weapons and high capacity bullet magazines should not be regulated, and, that teachers and principals should be allowed to carry guns in schools.

Finally, Annabel’s first viral video (which I filmed in Aug. 2007) also included a conversation with a man who might have intimidated a less courageous person. It’s not clearly evident in the video, but he does calm down quite a bit after she begins engaging him:

This video launched an interactive documentary series and later an award-winning feature-length documentary, both titled 9500 Liberty.

Annabel asked me to add this to clarify her perspective: 

I do have very strong opinions, but I believe in the strength that comes from staying calm — the one thing I learned from just a couple of years of taking martial arts classes. I do lose my cool on a regular basis though and it’s not pretty. I know ends up being a waste of energy and just weakens me. Pretty much everything I say is aspirational. It’s a struggle to live according to one’s ideals, values and lessons in life, but I’m committing to trying. 

Finally, check out her recent blog post about grappling with her fears.