This past weekend, October 9-11, Pike County was home to The Rod of Iron Freedom Festival, held at the Tommy Gun Warehouse in Greeley and sponsored by Kahr Arms.
Many people attended, including speakers from around the country and around the world. The event was well-planned and orderly. The atmosphere was calm and peaceful.
There were many food vendors and concession stands, some run by local volunteer fire departments or emergency squads raising money to cover their expenses. The Trump/Pence and other Republican campaigns had tables.
Attendees participated in warrior games, like ax throwing and Airsoft competition. There was an art show. The Traveling Viet Nam Veterans Wall, with the names of everyone who gave their last full measure for their nation during that war, was also on display.
The pro-gun theme was evident in many of the workshops offered, including “Black Guns Matter and Why” and “How to Be a Better Second Amendment Activist.” An anti-communist theme was also reflected, with workshops like “Critique of Communism and Its Bloody Legacy” and “Marxism Exposed.”
Saturday was very busy and concluded with an impressive fireworks display. All in all, everyone who attended seemed to really enjoy themselves.
President Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, attended the grand opening of Tommy Gun Warehouse during the 2016 campaign. Rumor had it he would appear at this year’s festival to campaign in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania, but he did not attend.
The Courier received much feedback from readers before the festival upset that we had accepted advertising of the event.
To be clear, the paper does not make endorsements and respects all points of view. We have in recent weeks published letters for and against the festival. For this article we reached out to some local residents to represent the other side of the story.
One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote: “I considered attending the Rod of Iron Freedom Festival, but decided against it because Trump followers value their freedom to gather mask less more than they care about their Pike County neighbors. They do not care if they spread COVID-19 .
“I feel that their love of weapons that are only designed for killing humans reflects their callousness to others.
“The Sanctuary Church, in my opinion is simply an excuse to glorify guns and spread hate. They should be paying taxes, as their mission really appears to be selling more Kahn Arms.”
Another reader, who also wants to remain anonymous, wrote: “When Pike County Republicans announced Eric Trump was coming to Milford, DVA organized a protest. Word went out that the rally would be moved to Tommy Gun Warehouse. It seemed strange that the son of the President would come to a county with so small a population as Pike County. I didn’t know about the relationship among Tommy Gun Warehouse, The Sanctuary Church and the Trump Family.
“At the rally at Superior Laminating Eric Trump encouraged bikers to take care of the three sleepy protesters. He said that the toughest people were Trump supporters. This would have seemed silly were it not for Kahr Arms and the Sanctuary Church being run by the Moon brothers.
“After reading the schedule of The Rod of Iron Freedom Festival and having some awareness of the current political climate, I fear that the Festival is preparation for something ominous.”