Jan 30, 2016

What Could Have Been

Today, the Pacific Patriots Network (PPN) issued a call to action in regards to the murder of LaVoy Finicum and the Local and Federal authorities trampling of Constitutional rights. The stated purpose was to peacefully issue a list of demands, and to protest until those demands were met.

The response was overwhelming with many people volunteering to head up and join the movement. Citizens from as far away as Main were preparing to pack up and head out, leaving families and jobs behind to do so. The American public has become outraged at the domineering tactics by all branches of government, and are demanding the return of a Republic that rests solely upon the shoulders of the U.S. Constitution. As has become evident, the Silent Majority is silent no more.

However, later on the leadership of PPN issued another statement. It read in part:

Oregon, will have an ongoing PEACEFUL assembly which will need our support.
If you plan to go to Burns you must be vetted through one of the organizations involved, specifically the Pacific Patriots Network.

Immediately, participants took umbrage at the idea that they must be vetted in order to participate. In response to frustrations expressed to me, and what I also felt, I penned the following and posted it on PPN's wall.

My fellow patriots, 
I write to you tonight concerning some grave concern. It is not my intent to cause strife or division, nor is it my intent to hurt anyone's feelings. However, I strongly believe that an injustice is being done here before our very eyes. I do not believe that it is being done with the purpose of harming people. Indeed, I know its done from the best intentions. However, some of the best intentions have historically brought about some very tragic situations. 
The whole issue revolves around the leaderships' decision concerning anyone who wishes to attend this peaceful protest - a protest against the murder of LaVoy and the injustice committed by both local and federal authorities against our United States Constitutional rights. Today, a call to action was issued for fellow patriots to show up in Burns, and peacefully protest. Now that seems to have changed. 
Leadership is now stating that you cannot attend unless you some how have been vetted. I do understand the concerns. A loved one and close friend was murdered. Hence, the leaders do not want infiltration from the FBI or other government agency. Also, there is fear concerning those who may be attending just for the adrenaline rush. However, I believe that these fears are misplaced. 
As one of the organizers of the Tea Party in my local area during 2009 and 2010 (and as the main contact person for the group), my fellow sisters, brothers and I dealt with similar issues. However, we came to the correct conclusion that if our protests were peaceful, then we had absolutely nothing to fear about government infiltration. As well, those few rabble-rousers were easily dealt with. They were simply sent home, or if we deemed them a threat to someone, we turned them in to the authorities. The same mindset should apply here. 
Patriotic Americans nation wide are in an uproar over what has happened. We wish to unify as one to inform those who have abused the Constitution and who have committed or allowed murder to happen that we will no longer tolerate it. However, placing these "vetting" procedures limits your fellow Americans' right to the Freedom of Speech, and the Right to Assemble - both of which are Constitutional rights with the same validity as all the other rights the Patriots in Burns were fighting for. Should we squash some Constitutional rights to favor others, and still claim to be Patriotic Americans? I argue no. 
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army accepted all who wished to join. All they had to do was sign their name. If they turned traitor afterwards, they were dealt with. However, this movement is not military. This is not an army of guns and swords only. And God forbid that an actual war break out. I do not think a single one of us desires that, and if so, I question why one would desire such a thing. 
One final thought - the decision to limit those who can attend this peaceful protest severely affects the legitimacy of this organization. It has been my understanding that PPN was meant to be a place for Patriot groups, not Patriotic militias only. 
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think so. I deeply apologize if anyone was offended by my words, but I do not apologize for what I have said. It is protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution United States of America, and honestly, I feel that it needed to be aired.

I received a response from one of the leaders, Brooke Agresta. It stated:

Everyone has a right to their opinion. Vetting takes place to ensure no one is coming that isn't who they say they are for whatever reason. You all are right you can go anywhere you choose but don't expect to camp on property This network has secured for people or to attend our security briefings or other meetings unless vetted. We want to protect not only the organizations involved but also all individuals who want to come under the ppn rally. 
I guess my thought would be what do you have to hide by avoiding vetting? It's a simple look at public records so we don't a media incident of a felon carrying a sidearm or the like.

As a person who was active in the Tea Party Protests, and was the listed primary contact person for my area, I am quite familiar with setting up rallies. Of course PPN has the right to say who can camp with them, and who cannot, yet clearly they have no right to say who can come to Burns, OR and who can not. However, it is disheartening that they would prefer to associate themselves with only a select group of people who meet their criteria. Government records simply do not always reveal the truth of a situation, as they have brokenheartedly found out. 

It was my understanding, and that of many others, that PPN was an umbrella group for all Patriot organizations – militia or not – who are upset with how governments have been abusing the Constitution. Regrettably, it appears to be otherwise. Further communication has simply confirmed this unfortunate demeanor.

What PPN is rallying for and protesting against is a Just cause. Regrettably, some of their methods and attitudes seem exclusive and unwilling to adapt those who do not quite fit their mold. I wish them all the success possible, yet can only regret that what could have been a huge movement has been squashed by the inflexible grip of the movement's leadership.  

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