The Sacha Baron Cohen prank video that’s been embarrassing gun rights supporters for the last 24 hours (4.5 million views so far) didn’t snag everyone they tried to lure in. Here’s our post from February relaying trainer Rob Pincus’s experience with these frauds. It’s worth a read. He realized what was happening and raised the alarm to other potential marks in the firearms community.
Virginia Citizens Defense League president Philip Van Cleave, who is prominently featured in the video, apparently realized what he’d done after the fact and put out this message on the VCDL Facebook page in February:
URGENT! share this far and wide!
Last weekend, while doing what seemed to be a regular interview, I discovered that a movie is being made with the intent to discredit gun-rights leaders across the country.
No, this is not a joke, it is real and we need to get the word out to other gun-rights organizations, gun-rights leaders, and prominent firearms trainers across the country and we need to do this FAST.
Back in 2014, alleged Hollywood sexual predator Harvey Weinstein said he was going to make a movie “that would make the NRA wish they weren’t alive.” (All gun organizations are the NRA in his mind.) And he was dead serious. Michael Moore has been attempting to discredit gun owners and leaders for years by tricking people and using creative editing techniques to make them look foolish or idiotic.
Who’s behind this effort isn’t clear, but they are EXTREMELY WELL FUNDED PROFESSIONALS. For example, to reel me in and to try to make me feel beholden to them, they laid out the red carpet, by providing luxury accommodations, limousine service, and providing a generous monetary allowance to cover meals and other expenses for two days.
They use psychological manipulation, as well as lies and tricks to put their victim into comedic situations that subject them to public shame, embarrassment, and ridicule. I believe the intent is to destroy reputations and even lives.
I did some detective work in the days immediately following the “interview,” and I managed to find out they had targeted at least one nationally known firearms trainer and I know there are more. They appear to be setting up near gun shows. I also found out they covered their tracks carefully to avoid revealing their true identity.
It started when VCDL received an email last week from a company called “First Freedom Television” to do an interview with an “Israeli security expert” on the “shared security interests of like-minded countries, such as the U.S. and Israel.” It went on, “Unlike the misguided position of American liberals, who aim to eradicate guns altogether, Israel has proven that universal gun training and widespread gun ownership actually leads to a safer society.”
I do interviews all the time, and this one didn’t seem to be all that much out of the ordinary.
On Sunday, February 11, 2018, I did the interview in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. About 5 minutes into the interview, my radar turned on big time when the interviewer was making claims about Israeli schools training selected children to use firearms from age 17 down to age 4 (!) as a last ditch effort in stopping a terrorist attack on a school if the teachers and security staff had been killed. The children would have codes to unlock secured firearms in such a case.
When I balked at 4-year-olds being able to do that, he showed me an alleged newscast video on his iPad. The text was in Hebrew, but with an English-speaking narration, talking about how a 4-year-old boy had indeed stopped a terrorist attack at his school. The newscast said that he killed two terrorists using his dad’s gun, which he had brought to school in his backpack to show a friend, in violation of school rules. Israeli Premier Netanyahu was touting him as a hero in the video.
While I’ve never been to Israel, I do know they have some serious terrorism concerns, especially at schools and other public gatherings. The way they handle some of their security can be very different from what we have in the U.S. But that news story just didn’t look right, and 4-year-olds can hold a gun and fire it with supervision, but not take on terrorists, and especially manage to shoot and kill two of them.
Because of this and various other odd things I noticed during the interview, I was now convinced that something wasn’t right. This wasn’t real and probably some sort of a set up.
We’ve reached out to the Gun Owners of America regarding Larry Pratt’s involvement, but haven’t received a response yet.