What started out as a freedom-loving celebration of the Second Amendment ahead of Memorial Day turned into Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear being hanged in effigy and protesters chanting outside the governor’s mansion.
The Second Amendment rally, meant to inspire people “about what it really means to be FREE,” according to Take Back Kentucky, attracted at least 100 people to the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort on Sunday.
It began as a celebration of constitutional rights but turned into a protest of coronavirus restrictions and Beshear’s administration. Folks toted guns and waved American and “Don’t tread on me” flags. Taps honored the fallen, and free flags were given to veterans from all military branches.
Tony Wheatley of Constitutional Kentucky, invoking Benjamin Franklin, said, “We have a republic, if we can keep it.” Calling on the crowd to recognize their ownership of the Constitution, he called legal hurdles making it harder to protest corruption.
Pastor Cliff Christman said that law isn’t relative, and to understand the country’s laws, one should understand Biblical law.
“This has been one of the biggest shams in world history,” Christman said. “Grown men have been hiding in (their) homes nearly wetting their pants over this invisible enemy that nobody sees. Where is it at? Let it come out and face us. I serve the one true and living God who conquers all enemies. Why should we give our freedom and our liberties up for such fear (and) propaganda and all the garbage that is coming out of Frankfort today?”
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As the rally wound down, organizers led the remaining crowd to the governor’s mansion to attempt to hand-deliver a request for Beshear to resign. Groups carried signs reading “Abort Beshear from office” and “My rights don’t end where your fear begins” to Beshear’s home and chanted, “Come out Andy” and “Resign Andy.”
No one came to the door. A few Kentucky State Troopers got out of their cars to observe but did not attempt to stop the crowd. It’s not clear if Beshear was at home at the time.
The crowd returned to the capitol, at which time an effigy of Beshear was hung from a tree outside the Capitol while “God Bless the U.S.A.” played over the loud speaker.
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A man with a 3Percenter band around his arm helped hang the effigy, though Kentucky 3Percenters Inc. State Secretary Patsy Kays Bush said she was against it and didn’t want it to hurt the group’s image. Wheatley, too, said he did not support the effigy.
“However,” Bush said, “we’re at the point where rallies and shouting and hollering is just not working anymore.”
The effigy bore a sign that read, “sic semper tyrannis,” which means “thus always to tyrants.” After hanging for a short time while people snapped photos, it was cut to the ground.
The effigy was swiftly condemned by leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully protest,” McConnell said on Twitter. “However, today’s action toward Governor Beshear is unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky.”
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, also a Republican, called the effigy “disgusting” on social media.
“I condemn it wholeheartedly,” he tweeted. “The words of John Wilkes Booth have no place in the Party of Lincoln.”
Kentucky House Democratic Leader Joni Jenkins, House Democratic Caucus Chair Derrick Graham and House Democratic Whip Angie Hatton issued a joint statement, calling the effigy “beyond reprehensible” and an “act that reeks of hate and intimidation.”
Reach breaking news reporter Sarah Ladd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ladd_sarah.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Coronavirus: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear hanged in effigy during rally