Jon Ritzheimer – When did Freedom of Speech Become Hate Speech?

Jon Ritzheimer
When did Freedom of Speech Become Hate Speech?

Ritzheimer family

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
June 3, 2015

Jon was born in San Diego County, California in 1983. He was raised in Lakeside and graduated from El Capitan High School. He worked briefly after high school in construction, though having no direction, decided to join the Marines in 2002.

Most of his military service was stateside, though he served a tour in Iraq in 2004-2005. He was a Motor Vehicle Operator (MOS 3531), stationed in Ramadi. He did convoy security and was subjected to gunfire and IED attacks. He returned to Iraq in 2008, this time operating an MRAP, which he lived in “outside the wire”, eating, drinking, sleeping, and living in the MRAP for five months. No showers and the toilet was a “wag bag”.

His time in service included adverse reports due to his criticism of Obama, and having tattoos that were outside of the policy limits. This caused him to not reenlist. He continued in the Marine Reserves until 2014. During his service he received the standard combat awards and a certificate of commendation for one of the actions in which he was involved. It might be worth noting that he was never fired upon by any Christians, throughout either tour.

Jon married in 2007, then, after leaving the Marines, began using his GI benefits to get an education. First, he worked for a Harley-Davidson dealer, then left to set up his own motorcycle repair business, which he ran until the threats that were being put out caused him to look to the safety of his family, which now included daughters 2 and 4 years old.

Jon is much like many thousands of Americans who pursued life, served their country, educated themselves, and began working to support a family, eventually having his own business.

Seeing, as many do, that Muslims are attempting to establish Shariah Courts, impose Shariah law requiring women to be covered, ankle to the top of their heads, Ritzheimer became concerned over the potential effect of Islam in this country. It wasn’t quite enough for any more than concern, but he did remember what he had seen in Iraq. How can freedom of speech be denied, not by government, rather, by the threat of the use of force?

The recent “Draw Mohamed” event in Texas, and the attempt by two Muslims from the Phoenix Muslim Center, to assassinate those who had gathered for the event, hit a nerve. Our right to freedom of speech is unquestionably one of the most important rights that we Americans have. To assert that right, and to show that Americans will not allow intimidation to force us to relinquish even the smallest bit of that right, led him to conceive of the Freedom of Speech Rally. The first Rally, on May 17, getting little attention, and had only a few participants. However, being a Marine (there is no such thing as an ex-Marine); he was determined to get the job done by organizing the second Rally, held this past Friday, May 29.

This Rally brought hundreds to the Mosque, both pro Free Speech and those who mistook the purpose of the Rally, on the other side of the road, to defend Islam.

This second Rally managed to get attention, not only in Phoenix, but nationally. Unfortunately, as the press often does, they “rewrote” the purpose of the rally in an effort to demonize Ritzheimer and try to turn a Freedom of Speech Rally into a “Hate Rally”. Ritzheimer began to fear for his safety, and the safety of his family. He began to question whether this event, at a mosque, would lead a situation similar to that which was attempted in Texas, and was successfully carried out in France. So much for Freedom of Speech and the Press. However, the theme was that we would not be intimidated into not speaking what we want, in our own country.

Ritzheimer admits that the shirt he wore at the Rally, amply stating “F**k Islam” was not in good taste, and he regrets it. He told me that he has a hard time believing that, since there are so many Muslims out there, they can all be bad (prone to accept radicalism). However, his reading of the Koran raises questions, though some Muslims may sincerely believe that we can live in harmony. He also apologizes to all Muslims of the latter sort.

As the attention to the Rally went national, and the press chose to redefine its purpose, Ritzheimer began to fear for his safety, the safety of his family and those attending the event. Questioning whether going to the mosque might subject them to the consequences that were attempted in Texas, and successful in France. Subsequently, he began to encourage the lawful carrying of firearms to the event, as a means of self-defense against any attempt by the Muslims to use force to suppress freedom of speech.

As the event drew near, friends, and even people unknown to Ritzheimer, informed him of the reaction from what appears to be the Muslim community, quite possibly from as far away as ISIS in Iraq is.

Note that the military advised prior service members to use caution, giving credibility on the part of the government, to the implied threat because of messages similar to these:


(Note: SAW (Sallah Allah Alayhi Wa Aaleh) = Peace be upon him and his household.)

As apprehensive as he was at the start of the Rally, he was relieved to see that the police department had done the unexpected. They “Police Line” taped both curb lines to keep the two sides apart, and then stationed their officers along the centerline of Orangewood Avenue, facing the officers in alternating directions, so that neither side was singled out by the neutral police department, who was there only to assure the safety of all concerned.

Though Jon realizes, now, that the Free Speech Rally could easily be misconstrued, regardless of what he intended, he still believes in, and stands for, the right of Americans to speak freely what they feel. Regardless of whether an inverted crucifix in a jar of urine expresses Freedom of Speech, or a carton drawing of Mohammed, Freedom of Speech is essential to the continuation of our great nation. Jon will continue to support that freedom, just as he supported it when he went, willingly, to Iraq to assure the Iraqis had a chance to establish that right.

Jon Ritzheimer is praised for supporting freedom of speech in the Muslim country of Iraq, and then condemned for supporting free speech in the country that sent him to Iraq. Those who have condemned Jon Ritzheimer, by so doing, have condemned the very fabric of our country.



  1. Kyle says:

    If I hold an armed rally outside a Catholic Church, in order to protest the evils of that religion, would anybody have a problem?

    • Cindy says:

      Go for it! 🙂

      • Kyle says:

        Cindy, I appreciate the support, but I was merely trying to point out that the flack Ritzheimer has been getting is rather evocative of attempts to chill dissent. Notice how almost nobody had a problem with “Anonymous” when the protested the Church of Scientology back in 2008, or when people where using the (now defunct) formal act of defection from the Catholic Church (actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica) during roughly the same period, but now the politically correct social justice warriors are wagging their fingers of indignation when it comes to any criticism of Islam, whether warranted or not.

        I think the more fundamental issue here, with regards to liberty, is whether Americans enjoy the freedom to hold rallies, armed or not, outside churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in order to criticize a particular religion, or any religion, at all? If anything, I’m a bit surprised there weren’t more atheists/”free thinkers” at Ritzheimer’s event, because many of them (the vloggers on YouTube, anyway) don’t like Muslims too much, or theists in general, for that matter.

        • Chopper Guy says:

          Okay, I think it needs to be understood that when there is a demonstration outside of churches, or against Scientology, they aren’t being done with armed people with shirts denouncing their religion while protesters scream “you goat f’ers.” Be real, this was a hate rally with the guise of something meaningful or appropriate; not a very convincing one. The comment about him being in Iraq and “not being shot at by Christians,” is the author purposefully twisting the story the same way, maybe even more deliberate, than he claims the media did on behalf of the “rally”. Duh! He was in a Muslim country…. I wonder why he wasn’t shot at by Christians. Pat Tilman was though. He was shot at in Iraq by friendly fire. If you want to be fair and balanced try and stop fear mongering. The whole article was ridiculous and hate I wasted the time.

          Jon needs to quite using his affiliation with the Marine Corps. No wonder he got kicked out (which by the way, the tattoo policy didn’t kick him out, the rules in place grandfathered people in and you would only be penalized if you willfully disregarded the new order which was created to maintain a military appearance), he was kicked out because he was a turd. His constant comments about being a Marine are embarrassing the Marine Corps and does not represent us as a whole.


          The Gunny/USMC

          • Chopper Guy says:

            Also, if anything the praise should go to the Muslim side on how they handled themselves. The provocateurs, with guns in hand, couldn’t sway the “evil and maniacal” Muslims to kill everybody in Jihad. Epic fail on the side of the organizers…. The aggressors were the people trying to prove the others were the aggressors, bwahahaha

          • Kyle says:

            Gunny, are you claiming that Americans don’t enjoy the freedom to hold rallies, armed or not, outside churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in order to criticize a particular religion, or any religion, at all?

            If so, then thank you for proving my worst fears that there is an attempt to chill Ritzheimer’s dissent. Although I may not agree with Ritzheimer’s what he had to say, I will defend his right to say it.

          • james hobbs says:

            I kinda had a feeling he was booted from the corps. And for that reason he is or seems to be pissed for it because he couldn’t stay in the corps. Sounds like a person who has a problem with authority when he doesn’t get his way so just another basic bitch. Who is all butt hurt !

  2. Chopper Guy says:

    I doubt the moderator will allow my views on my page which kind of proves me right; the author would be manipulating the story to fit his/her narrative. Not unlike the media they so vehemently condemn

  3. Josh says:

    Just another mouth breathing blockhead who alleges to be educated! The constitutional freedom of speech simply mean that the government will not infringe upon your right to say whatever you want. It does not mean that you can say whatever you want without any repercussions from other citizens who disagree with what you are saying! They say this dude went to college after he got out of the military, where did he get his degree from, some cheap diploma mill like the University of Arizona…oh wait, he’s from Arizona, so that probably is where he got his degree from!

  4. The Gunny says:

    Thanks for validating me and not allowing a debate. Your fear and suppression of the truth or at least a debate is comical. Keep believing what these trolls tell you and keep silencing me as I attempt to exercise my second amendment right. To anybody out of the loop, my comments were not posted because they didn’t fit with the narrative of the author.

    • The Gunny says:

      1st amendment right*

    • ghunt says:

      I suppose that you expect me to stand here, waiting anxiously, for you to post and for me to approve.
      I moderate the comments as I intend only for reasoned response, even if erroneous reasoning, such as yours. You have ignored some of what was said in the article. You have assumed things that are incorrect. You have, however, quite well stated your objections, and your inability to put all of your thoughts together, at one time — hence the multitude of posts and assumptions.
      By the way, the First Amendment allows you to speak freely, so long as in a decent manner. It is not an imposition on me to post what you write. I do so for I believe that reasoned discussion is necessary, so I encourage it. The Amendment, however, is a prohibition on government, not on me. So, let that be your history lesson for today.

  5. Brandy Baron says:

    Well written, Gary. I was at the rally. There were good and bad on both sides of the street. I was there to stand up for my First Amendment rights against those who would kill people to stifle it, not to be anti-Muslim. I was very disappointed to see several ‘F… Islam’ t-shirts on our side but I heard several on the other side yelling ‘F… you!’ and saying horrible things so they weren’t all angels over there either. Both sides had some haters. Jon, has acknowledged his mistake in wearing that t-shirt and I applaud him for that. With the threat on his life I’d say that he succeeded in showing the problem that we were rallying about… people who will kill you for sharing your opinion. I’m hoping that we will have more rallies in the future… minus the ugly t-shirts and ugly attitudes.

    • Kyle says:

      Brandy, I hope there are no more rallies of any kind. Protesting does not work, as I have written about at length. There are other ways to peaceably assemble, freely speak, and even petition the government for redress of grievances that don’t entail the risk of baton charges or kettling by the police.

      I remember all sorts of people claiming that the 2009 G20 Pittsburgh protests “worked” in that they gained mainstream media attention (rather than stop the incremental globalization of the Big Banks, which was the original reason for the protests), but by that standard, the Black Lives Matter crowd could easily claim the same exact thing with regards to Ferguson & Baltimore. I have seen no evidence, over the years, that protesters have stopped any damn thing that they were expressing their grievances over.

      • ghunt says:

        I think there there needs to be a distinction as to the purpose of a demonstration.
        It took nearly ten years of a single focused effort to bring the government to their knees on Vietnam. However, it did work.
        That example shows that the government doesn’t change, unless there are sufficient numbers, and there is sufficient duration, to have the desired affect.
        The Mosque demonstration was not intended to have an effect on the government. It was to bring attention to a matter of concern to all true Americans, which it did.
        And, it was intended to let the Muslim community know that we will not tolerate their use of guns to attempt to intimidate our right to speak freely.
        Whether it has had that affect, or not, is yet to be seen,. However, if it appears that it has not, then more such demonstrations are, definitely, in order — as they need to get the idea that we will not tolerate the subversion of our right to speak under the guise of they hiding behind freedom of religion. They can practice such religion, so long as they stay away from our nose. Our nose was attacked in Texas, but remains unbloodied.

  6. Marine24 says:

    I’ll give him guts for standing up for what he believes (the moron is feeling it now), even though they go against the teachings of this country, his religion, and mankind. Fine, he used the first amendment. So to highlight the inequality of muslims in this country, please be prepared outside your nearby church to get the same type of hostility…how would that feel? You are at Church with you kids on a Sunday and walk out and see (what the red-neck son-of-a-*&#$% Chopper guy said) a bunch of “towel-heads/goat-fukers” with loaded automatic machine guns…what do you feel during a day of worship? Put yourself in those people position…
    [Omitted as an ad hominum attack.]
    As a Muslim who was raised in American and has served his country, i am fully against what he was doing (just about EVERY single thing). I fought to avoid scenarios like this from happening in MY country (YES, MY COUNTRY). Everyone on this chain came from somewhere else (immigrated), but since you’ve been here long enough, its now YOUR country. NO. This beautiful country is for everyone…if you think otherwise, YOU should get out.
    the real problem is fear of Islam spreading across the world like it is (even with the wrap the media and governments have given). With that said, its STILL THE FASTEST GROWING RELIGION IN THE WORLD. This guys rally is not going to change that…so as you curse at a religion, remember we have the same God and it would be such poetic justice when one of your children coverts to Islam (stats prove it).
    Lastly, everyone feels so empowered and like the shyt sitting behind a computer talking smack about people…you are cowards if you cant have the same conversation face-to-face (male or female). So when you reply, remember that i would love to speak with you in person (regardless of your views) and if i can change the mentality of just 1 person, i will serve my country once again.

    • Kyle says:

      Marine 24, do you think Americans enjoy the freedom to hold rallies, armed or not, outside churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in order to criticize a particular religion, or any religion, at all?

    • ghunt says:

      Phoenix? Is it like Westboro Baptist disrupting a funeral, a religious practice, but, wait, no charges.
      Maybe it was more like the Black Panthers standing, armed, intimidating voters. But, wait, there was no crime there.
      Or, is it that we don’t have the right to use the Second Amendment to provide for our own safety (isn’t that what the Second is all about?), while exercising the First Amendment right to Speech and Assembly? It was peaceable, as protected by that Amendment.
      And, it had nothing, at all, to do with Congress making any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, which is a prohibition on Congress, and says nothing about what we might think of any particular religion.
      But, heck, they got elected to Congress so they must know all about the Constitution, just like the MSM idiots.
      I would like you to be specific when you separate what happened in Phoenix with the other examples I gave.

  7. Jon Ritzheimer says:

    My name is Jon Ritzheimer and this is my story. I was born and raised in east county San Diego in a town called Lakeside. I was fortunate enough to have some of the same friends from kindergarten through high school. My mother was a single, hard working mom, who got little to no appreciation at times from me and my sister growing up; yet she always did the best she could out of pure love for us. Nearly every day, my mother would drop me off at school and while driving away she would roll down the window and shout ‘Make an impression on someone’s life today’, embarrassing me in front of my friends. I think it’s safe to say that those words are coming around to bite her in the butt now.
    I graduated high school and had little to no direction in life. So I decided to join the Marine Corps. It was the first door I walked into at the recruiter station and I was sold. I joined in 2003 and the invasion of Iraq kicked off while I was in boot camp. I knew I was going to be sent but I didn’t know when. Finally in 2004 my unit was called to serve. We were sent to a nasty little town called Ar Ramadi and it had such a poor vantage point, because our base sat at a lower elevation than the city, allowing snipers and mortar spotters to observe our every move. We were tasked with convoy security and drove over 30,000 miles in a seven-month period. We were hit with multiple IEDs and attacked almost every day. I came home and tried to get on with life like others from my unit but found it hard. I had a newfound sense of pride for my country and a dying thirst to better fulfill my destiny. I went to Iraq again in 2008 and lived out of an MRAP for 5 months without a shower. We were not shot at even once during the time we lived outside the wire. After returning from this deployment I decided to use my 9-11 GI bill and attended Grossmont College.
    I studied Communication and Religion. After I graduated I asked “Now What?” Since I still had some benefits left I went to Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and graduated there with a 4.0 and 100% attendance rate. My wife is still pissed at me for that because I missed the birth of my second daughter by one hour due to school not letting me off in time. While in Phoenix I saw that the cost of living was affordable and we could raise our daughters in a nice neighborhood rather than in the ghetto of San Diego because that’s all we could afford. We bought our first house in Phoenix and life went on like normal. But as many vets know, life is really never normal for us again after returning from war.

    While I was in Phoenix I was also still in the Marine Corps Reserve and transferred to a unit called ANGLICO. I did this because I was still in good shape and wanted to find a more high-speed job that would feel more fulfilling. Before I transferred to the unit though, I was given an adverse report for talking bad about the current administration on social media. I agreed to pull the posts and they agreed to follow through with my promotion to Staff Sergeant. When I arrived at 6th ANGLICO I was met by a SGTMAJ who was an avid supporter of the current administration and let me know he would find something to drive me out, which he did. I had a few new tattoos on my arms that did not fall within the new Marine Corps tattoo policy and I was not allowed to reenlist, but I was still given an honorable discharge that I earned with ten years of faithful service.
    Now I’ll get into who I am in life now. I will forever be a Patriot and an Oath Keeper given my background. Now that I have brought children into this world I fear for their future. I can honestly say that if not for my children, I would probably be among the 22 Vets a day that decides to take his or her life to escape this hell. But now I need to do whatever I can to ensure a better future for them.
    On May 4th, 2015 I saw that two gunmen tried to kill innocent Americans because of a cartoon contest. The news reported that the gunmen were from Phoenix, so I decided to go down to where they lived and peacefully protest outside their apartment complex alone. While I was there, two Muslims who said that they were friends with the shooters came to intimidate me because of my shirt that read ‘F*CK ISLAM’. One of them threatened me while walking away and told me I could expect a drive by to put me down. So I called some fellow Marines to watch my 6. After that we decided that it couldn’t stop here and we had to take it to the doorsteps of the mosque that harbored these terrorist. We held our first Freedom of Speech Rally on May 17th 2015 and it went well. But the people were not satisfied and felt their message wasn’t heard. That led us to create the Freedom of Speech Rally Round II. This time the mainstream media caught wind of it and portrayed it as an Anti Islam Rally and said that ‘Armed Bikers’ were going there to harass innocent Muslims. That simply was not the truth though. People who attended brought a side arm purely for protection from the much-anticipated attack.
    However, not one shot was fired. Not one fight broke out. And not one arrest was made. It was a perfect, peaceful protest and everyone went home that night feeling like they got something off of their chest. I was still under fire from the anti-protesters. My Facebook was hacked numerous times. A fake Gofundme account was set up to make it look like I was asking for $10,000,000.00 and further gave the media more ammunition to slander my name. My social security number and all of my credit cards were exposed and posted on multiple websites and my family was forced into hiding considering all the threats that were made. My life has been shattered and I am being dropped to my knees asking for guidance and support. My message was peaceful from the start and if I truly wanted more bloodshed I could have easily had it that night. But as A Marine who has been to war, I assure you that I only want peace. Islam claims to have the same intentions but only peace through submission. The Spartan in me won’t let that happen!” -Jon Ritzheimer, United States Marine Corps.

  8. […] patriot faction could learn a thing or two from Luttwak here, instead of trying to counter-productively antagonize the Muslims every damn chance they get. Luttwak goes on to say […]

  9. […] even prior to the Global Rally event, Ritzheimer had held a Freedom of Speech Rally (When did Freedom of Speech Become Hate Speech?), where false accusations of his intentions were prolific, even in the mainstream media. Ritzheimer […]

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