Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tea Party Protesters Gunning for Attention in Alamogordo
According to "Otero Tea Party Patriot" Ralph West, guns are the next big thing at right-wing protests. "I think this will be the start of something big," West said in an article in today's Alamogordo Daily News.
"This" is an "open carry" protest being co-hosted by the Otero Tea Party Patriots, the Alamogordo Second Amendment Task Force and the Sons of Liberty Riders on Saturday in Alamogordo. According to West, "We're basically protesting the entire Obama administration." Participants are "encouraged" to bring guns.
According to the article, pistol-packing protesters intend to highlight their weaponry to get more attention from the media -- and Sarah Palin:
“That’s what will be different (with Saturday’s protest). People will be wearing guns, which is legal in this state,” said Ralph West, a member of the Otero Tea Party Patriots. “We figured it would get some attention.”
West said he’s contacted several media outlets in New Mexico, as well as Fox News and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Carrying an unconcealed firearm is legal in New Mexico by anyone over the age of 19. A person can openly carry in most places, except a federal or state building, school or restaurants and bars that serve alcohol.
The groups applied for a permit to conduct an "open carry event" with the City of Alamogordo. Because of the firearms request, the permit application was forwarded to the Alamogordo Department of Public Safety, which is expected to make a decision on it today.
As gun advocates point out, most gun owners can be expected to act responsibly when carrying a weapon at a public rally. Critics, however, argue that it only takes one out-of-control person to get fired up at a protest and fire his or her gun -- which just might set off an exchange of gunfire with other protesters or even law enforcement officers, putting the entire crowd at risk. In addition, some who want to attend a rally in opposition to the protest can easily be intimidated by armed participants in the crowd.
Toting guns in public is a hot topic in Alamogordo of late. Earlier this month, Otero County Commissioner Ronny Rardin proposed changing the county's personnel policy to allow county employees openly carry their guns to work.
There's also been a push in other states to allow the open carry of guns in government buildings and elsewhere, and to bring guns to public events. This month in New Hampshire, for instance, activists are protesting the reinstatement of a rule banning the carrying of weapons in the New Hampshire Statehouse. Such a law was in effect when Republicans dominated the New Hampshire legislature from 1996 to 2006, but then lapsed. Legislative leaders there say the rule is needed to avoid trouble:
Both Senate President Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, and Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, said a group of onlookers in the House gallery this spring got out of hand, openly carrying firearms and shouting at lawmakers during debate while a group of fourth graders sat nearby.
This summer, right-wing activists made headlines by carrying guns -- including a semi-automatic rifle -- outside the convention center in Phoenix where President Obama was giving a speech. The week before, when Obama appeared in New Hampshire to talk about healthcare, a man carrying a sign that read, "It is time to water the tree of liberty" – alluding to Thomas Jefferson's speech, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" – stood outside the meeting with a pistol strapped to his leg.
There are also ongoing controversies about whether college and university students should be allowed to carry guns on campus.
All of this is taking place against a backdrop of this summer's often rowdy and sometimes violent tea bagger protests at health care town halls and elsewhere. How long will it take for some kook to fire a weapon into a crowd or at a public official and set off a tragic chain of events? Your guess is as good as mine.
This is extremely disturbing to me especially when the guy West says the protest will be different as we will have our guns. I understand the 2nd amendment and the gun laws that say they can carry a lethal weapon, But I do think that the statement it will be different this time we will have our guns, to me implies a threat.We might also look at it as a form of terrorism.
This all started when Alamogordo Police were called to our local movie theater and detained an Air Force guy that had brought his gun into the theater. There were children at the theater. The Teabaggers felt the guy with the gun rights were violated as he can carry a gun anywhere he want under the law. Commissioner Rardin, last year "accidentally" brought his gun to the courthouse. It was scanned and undetected. So he proceeded to take it upstairs where the courtrooms were until a County deputy sheriff arrested him and conficated his gun. At the time he faced jail time and a fine. Rardin never appeared in an Alamogordo courtroom instead he went to Socorro and had the charges dropped.
We are a very conservative county and I know that. But conservatism with a gun strapped to your hip, to me is a prescription for a dangerous situation not only for us but for them as well
Posted by: Stephanie DuBois | Dec 30, 2009 1:20:56 PM
Seems to me that Teabaggers attending a protest rally armed makes them look more like a bunch of radical fringe nutters rather than people concerned about political policy issues. Hardly does anything to advance their cause,IMO.
Posted by: VP | Dec 31, 2009 7:04:50 AM
I honestly think protesting and waving a gun doesn't seem like a bad option right now and I don't even own a gun.
Posted by: William Nie | Dec 31, 2009 7:41:31 AM
You fail to mention the group that originally initiated this rally, the A2ATF, or Alamogordo Second Amendment Task Force. I heard yesterday that there may be two rallies on opposite sides of the 10th and White Sands intersection as (some of?) the teabaggers do not want to be affiliated with the A2ATF.
I am a member of the A2ATF, and here are excerpts from an email concerning behavior at the rally:
"...We must be sure that people participating with us exercise caution and behave as responsible citizens.
Many of you don’t have to be told this, but in the interest of clarity, we should observe the following rules:
Guns should remain holstered, or slung, throughout the demonstration.
Please refrain from handling your firearms.
Absolutely no horseplay!
An empty chamber is strongly encouraged! If you carry daily with a chambered round, please consider going without during the demonstration to ensure ultimate safety. ... There is a good possibility that opponents of the 2nd amendment will be there, and there may be people who will approach us and attempt to bait us into an altercation. We must be prepared to endure any and all abuses cast in our direction. Do not fall victim to someone trying to stir violence. The 1st amendment is for PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY. ..."
Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Dec 31, 2009 8:30:05 AM
One of the organizers of these groups a guy named Omey has actually threatened Harry Teague and was investigated by the Feds the next day. It was right after that these group anti-Obama groups were formed. I have lived in Otero county for 20 years.Now we must live under a militia rule. Congressman Teague is scheduled to be at the VFW this Sunday. These "teabuggers" will be wound up from the day before. I hope there are no incidences. Maybe instead of disagreeing with their right to carry a gun, maybe we should all carry a gun in a holster on our hip. I have a gun but it is too big to put in a holster. I guess I'll have to give that one some more thought.
Posted by: Stephanie DuBois | Dec 31, 2009 8:31:21 AM
Ellen I don't know what you are talking about. Did you read the post? The second amendment group is listed in the second paragraph of my post, with a link as well.
I can't believe you are supporting a protest with guns but that is your right. Because something is a right doesn't mean it's sensible to do it. What are you trying to prove? There are more sensible and safe ways to demonstrate on behalf of 2nd amendment rights.
Posted by: Old Dem | Dec 31, 2009 9:21:31 AM
My apologies. So much space was given to the teabaggers that I missed the short reference to the A2ATF.
Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Jan 1, 2010 8:27:37 AM
This is wonderful. With all the partisan comments on here looks like there is only one solution to the madness. Now is the time for the Confederalism. Decentralize power and put it back in the hands of the laity. Everyone else can cross the border to the encroaching socialist states of america if they don't like it!
Posted by: Jim | Jan 1, 2010 6:18:47 PM
Come join the counter protest, (same place, same time) in support of healthcare reform, Gay rights, etc...
BRING LARGE SIGNS in support of whatever the right-wingers don't support!
Posted by: Leo Cuevas | Jan 1, 2010 7:30:22 PM
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Those who would sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither. The Department of Homeland security is a bunch of jack booted NAZI thugs that will be all over Alamogordo to illegally take pictures of tea baggers so we can be added to their detention list when the final arm of the communist government they represent takes its final move to ultimate control of the population.
Posted by: warren weldon | Jan 2, 2010 10:00:08 AM
I think Warren Weldon's comment shows how crazy these teabagger types are. Keep adding comments teabag people. You describe your own weird paranoia and ignorance perfectly so that others can see how extremist and hateful you are.
Anyone who talks about a "communist government" taking "ultimate control" of the population has read too many fruitcake books. We used to think the John Birch Society was crazy but the new right wing extremists take the cake.
Posted by: Arnold | Jan 2, 2010 10:30:13 AM
You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. I am a 100% disabled veteran . I have never been to jail , I have never asked for a hand out. I vote in every election unlike may of the anti-teabaggers. All I can say to you is I am very sad that you are so blind. As for my literary explorations, I read history books. Not the ones that teach our children to be scared of their own government. I read the ones that will give you a true Idea of what this country was founded on . The reason we have the 2nd is to protect the country from tyrants. The 2nd does not mention HUNTING, it does not mention SPORT, Try reading it sometime.
I believe it may have been Ben Franklin that stated that "when you take from those that are willing to work and give to those that are not, that is the END of Democracy. I apologize if my comments come of as "deep End" and I do not take your stance of making personal attacks because of your feeling. I think you must be confused and scared because that's the way folks like you make it a point when you have no clue of the truth. To put down a person that post a different view than yourself is the just how communism is bred. How sad. Maybe you have not traveled the world as I have as a tour manager for a major band. I see first hand how others live. I do not vacation to be a tourist I always volunteer wherever I go. It is just the right thing to do. I am not a bad or misguided person but I do have an open mind that allows me to analyze without letting emotion cloud my vision. I am also not an uneducated member of what you deem as "Crazy" . In fact I have more than one higher education degree. If your definition of an extremist is someone who loves their country enough to protect it for their family , neighbors and the offspring of untold generations then so be it. I guess that makes you an anti- American way of life Extremist.
Lastly it is very easy to post when you are hiding behind a fake or incomplete signature . Have some guts if you REALLY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY.
Posted by: warren weldon | Jan 2, 2010 11:00:45 AM
What you say has nothing to do with my point. I don't care who you are. Anyone who says we are moving towards communism is ignorant and more than a little crazy. You don't offer any evidence. There is no threat to the 2nd amendment here but you act like there is. The issue is why grown adults would want to parade around with guns like children playing cowboy. Go back to your cave.
Posted by: Arnold | Jan 2, 2010 11:32:45 AM
"The reason we have the 2nd is to protect the country from tyrants"
Chill Warren, have a juice box and a nap, you'll feel better when you get back to hugging your gun, protecting the country from "tyrants" and stopping communism from being bred.
Posted by: VP | Jan 3, 2010 7:58:21 AM
Posted by: Frank | Jan 3, 2010 8:26:17 PM