Radio Silence 

We had questions and got no answers.

Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) and the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) left Flyer questions unanswered recently, but you should know that we did ask.

Would Rep. Holt still give away AR-15s in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas? Why did the National Civil Rights Museum give Rev. Bernice King a Freedom Award this year when she's been so outspoken against gays in the past?

We got nothing. Radio silence. Maybe the emails weren't ignored. Maybe they're in a spam folder somewhere. But the fact remains, the questions went unanswered, though some light has been shed on both.

Holt's Hogfest and Turkey Shoot got national attention last year as he promised to give away two AR-15s, semi-automatic rifles, during the event.

The move was roundly criticized. The guns were like one used during the Pulse nightclub shooting that left 50 dead, days before Holt's fund-raiser. He blamed radical Islam for the Orlando shooting, not the guns.

Nobody knows what prompted Stephen Paddock to shoot and kill 58 people and wound 546 from his Las Vegas hotel window last month. Officials are now even sending his brain in for microscopic testing to find a motive. But Paddock was white and wasn't a Muslim. That's why the Flyer put the question to Holt.

click to enlarge Holt on left. King on far right.
  • Holt on left. King on far right.

But the question may be moot. He did give away AR-15s this year — three of them — at the event. But Hogfest happened nearly a week before the Las Vegas shooting.

If there's any insight as to what Holt might have felt about the Las Vegas shooting, he retweeted this on the Monday following the Sunday mass murder: "I don't know if Tom Petty is dead, but I'm absolutely sure journalism is."

A couple of concerned citizens wrote and called the Flyer office recently, angry that the NCRM gave one of its Freedom Awards to Bernice King, who has spoken and moved against gay marriage in the past.

King famously said, "I know deep down in my sanctified soul that [Martin Luther King Jr.] did not take a bullet for same-sex unions."

She helped lead an anti-gay-marriage march from her father's grave. In her 1996 book, Hard Questions, Heart Answers, King said the "present plight of our nation" is that traditional marriage is being undermined by "alternative lifestyles."

Still, Terri Lee Freeman, president of the NCRM, said at the Freedom Award event that King and the other winners "exemplify Dr. King's mission and legacy of fighting for and protecting the rights of every man, woman, and child, regardless of their race or social enconomic status," but especially "the marginalized, subjugated and disenfranchised," according to a story from The Commercial Appeal.

An email to the museum's communications director about King's selection for the award was unanswered.

However, King's anti-gay views may have softened. During Atlanta's 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally, she include LGBTQ people among the various groups who needed to come together to "fulfill her father's legacy."

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