A support rally for 14-year-old Jared Marcum was renamed a victory rally Friday following disclosure that criminal charges had been dropped against him on Thursday.
Marcum was charged with obstructing following an incident in April over a National Rifle Association (NRA) t-shirt with the wording “Protect your right” and a picture of a gun that he had worn to attend classes at Logan Middle School. Charges against Marcum were dropped by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Thursday.
A small crowd gathered in front of the Logan Courthouse where a truck displaying a banner “Sons of the Second Logan County” was parked. Emceeing the rally was Shaun Adkins.
There were several speakers during the rally, which lasted almost an hour. Two speakers came from out of state to attend, Wayne Dupree of Maryland and Shannon Wright of New Jersey. Dupree is described as a conservative blogger, radio host and founder of the News Ninja website. Wright is described as a pastor, community activist, blogger and webcast program host and someone who takes interest in constitutional matters.
First to speak was Marcum’s stepfather, Allen Lardieri.
“People, we are under invasion,” Lardieri began. “I’ve spoken with several parents who contacted me with stories like you wouldn’t believe.”
Lardieri said events like Marcum’s happening on the average 12 times a month. Reports of children being suspended for bringing a squirt gun to school, bring cupcakes to school with images of army soldiers and for drawing a picture of his father, who is in the military service, holding a rifle.
“The worse one I have heard so far is the hearing impaired kid, a kid by the name of Hunter, is asked to have his name changed because the universal sign for his name is this motion,” Lardieri said, as he formed his hand into the shape of a pistol.
Lardieri said that there is a systematic invasion going on in our educational system.
“Controlling the school system is called social engineering,” Lardieri said. “It is instilling and forcing the mindset on a youth so that as they grow up it becomes their ideology.
Lardieri urged parents to talk with their children and to keep abreast of what was going on with them at school and what they were being taught.
“Watch, be observant and listen to your kids,” Lardieri said. “We are under invasion. Be ever vigilant, be vocal and let the school board know ‘no’ we don’t want you social engineering our kids. We don’t want you to take away our (parents) values and put in your own. Just stick with the curriculum.”
Adkins then told the crowd that he had been told that it wasn’t very appropriate for Marcum to have worn that shirt to school.
“Let me ask you this… are you going to ban the West Virginia University mascot on shirts in schools? What are we going to do about the West Virginia state flag? Are we going to ban the flag from schools because it has cross rifles on it?” Adkins said. “The Marine emblem, the Army emblem… they all depict rifles.”
Dupree said that Marcum should not have gone through what he went through.
“The liberals have decided they can do what they want to because our voice is small,” Dupree said. “…we need to take back our schools. We need to take back jobs. We need to take back our churches. We need to take back our lives. Because right now, the Democrats, the liberals — even some Republicans — think they can infringe on our rights. Our rights shall not be infringed.”
Dupree said Marcum stood for freedom of speech and an attempt was made to shut him up.
“We cannot accept that, and just because the charges have been dropped doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to happen to somebody else,” Dupree said. “That’s why this is important today.”
Dupree said that our children are being destroyed.
“They are doing it through pop culture, they are doing it with these reality shows and they’re doing it through their music,” Dupree said.
Dupree said what had happened in Logan was a template.
“America needs to see this template. You all stood behind Jared and the more cities and towns see you standing up then they will stand up,” Dupree said. “Show America that we stand together… and that we are going to stand together to protect this country.”
Delegate Joshua Nelson was the next to speak. Nelson said he became involved in the Marcum incident because of his son.
“How is it going to be in 10 years when my boy is 14? If some teacher tries to tell my boy to turn his ‘protect your rights’ t-shirt inside out, that isn’t going to fly with me,” Nelson said.
Nelson told the crowd to stand up, get involved, and stay involved.
“And the next time they try to tell a 14-year-old kid he can’t stand for his Constitutional right, they will think twice,” Nelson said.
Also attending the rally was Sean Dill with the West Virginia Civilian Defense League (WVCDL). The WVCDL describes itself as “West Virginia’s largest pro-gun lobbying group, is a non-partisan, non-profit, all-volunteer, grassroots organization of concerned West Virginians who support our individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, as guaranteed by Article III, §22 of the West Virginia Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”
“This past year has been huge for gun rights. We’ve had ups and we’ve had downs,” Dill said. “We got a record number of pro gun bills signed into law… five pro gun bills are now law.”
Dills said that every time a tragedy happens that involves a firearm, like the Connecticut shootings, anti-gun “vultures” that start stand on top of the dead people’s bodies and use them to push their agenda.
“Vultures like our own Joe Manchin. Hours after this tragedy, he gets his ugly mug on TV, he says now nobody needs more than three shells in their rifle for deer hunting,” Dill said. “You know what Joe? It’s not about deer hunting, brother. Not one line in the Second Amendment mentions deer.”
Dills, recalling the numerous accounts of children being suspended from school, said he was glad that he lived in West Virginia.
“I used to be glad I like in West, by God, Virginia, because that won’t happen in my state,” Dill said. “Folks, I am here today because it did happen here. This time the anti-gun folks I mentioned is the Logan County school board. Now we have a teacher and city officials harassing a 14-year-old boy all because he wore a shirt they didn’t agree with. They are threatening his future, his prospects for a job, for college.”
Following Dill was Pastor Wright who urged the crowd to what was correct.
“My Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. My Bible says parents raise their children. We teach children from a young age which way to go and when they get older they will not depart. It does not say sent them to school to be indoctrinated with a whole bunch of stuff that you know is not right,” Wright said. “As Americans, as parents, as people… we have too… it is imperative, that we stand up and do what we know to be correct. Not politically correct, but biblically and constitutionally correct.”
Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, was the final speaker.
“Yesterday was a great day for Jared. Yesterday was a great day for all of you,” White said. “Frankly, we couldn’t have done it without all of the support from people like you and all the different groups. We really, really appreciate your support and your continued fight.”
White said Thursday’s decision by prosecutors brought closure to what, in his opinion, was ridiculous charges over a 14-year-old who was just trying to explain his side of the story.
“The big fight begins today. We want, mostly, for your continued fight for Jared and his family and our office and our fight to take this to the school board to deal with policy issues…,” White said.
White said he had watched the video of the incident several times with Jared’s family and with the news media.
“Jared didn’t act out. We have witnesses that may collaborate that,” White said.
Marcum did not make a public appearance.