July 02, 2007

Anti-War Activists Halted In Rocky Mountain National Park

Moonbats marching from coast-to-coast to protest the war, accompanied by reporters:
A pair of teenage anti-war activists who are marching across the country to promote their cause said they were detained for three hours at Rocky Mountain National Park Sunday and asked to remove peace bibs from their shirts.

Ashley Casale, 19, said she and her partner, Mike Israel, 18, are making their way through Colorado as they "March for Peace" from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

Casale said they were stopped by a park ranger near the west entrance to the park and asked to remove bibs that were pinned to their shirts which read: "March for Peace."

"They said they couldn't let us in because we were making a political statement," Casale said.

After a park ranger took their identification, Casale said it took nearly three hours for park officials to determine they were in violation of park rules that require permits for "public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views..."

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said park logs show the pair arrived at the west gate entrance at 9:04 a.m. and were headed into the park at 10:15 a.m., just over an hour total.

She said the two students were accompanied by two reporters, and that park staff worked to accomodate the group as quickly as possible for a Sunday morning, when the park is often full of visitors.
Of course, for the moonbats, this "harassment" is a violation of their First Amendment rights:
Casale, a college freshman from Connecticut, said she asked park officials to explain to her and Israel how their bibs were any different from bumper stickers or T-shirts with messages that park visitors wear.

Patterson said bumper stickers and T-shirts are private expressions.

"They had placards. They had reporters with them. They were promoting their Web site. It became a public demonstration and public expression," said Patterson.

Gayle Watson with Mountain Forum for Peace said a San Francisco peace group called her Nederland-based organization to offer assistance to Casale and Israel after they learned of the incident.

Watson said she encountered the pair in the park, and offered them food and water. They had removed their bibs and written their message in ink on their T-shirts.

"I think what park officials did was a violation of their First Amendment rights," said Watson. "Plus, what a way to say 'Welcome to Colorado.'"
It is pretty clear, both by their conduct and their retinue, that the "marchers" intended to do more than simply pass through the park. They are self-promoting anti-war moonbats, and anyone accompanied by reporters is up to more than simply marching for peace.

Rocky Mountain National Park rules obviously allow for the private expression of political views--bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc.--that are probably quite well-represented at camp ground parking lots this holiday week. Even a small contingent of two people accompanied by reporters and promoting a political point-of-view can be reasonably estimated by park officials as more than "private expression". More likely just another moonbat publicity stunt, designed to waste park officials' time and energy during a holiday week.

Nice to see local moonbats out in force to help the poor, oppressed marchers--all the while lobbying accusations of rights violations and railing against inhospitability.

**Update--Whaddya know? The ACLU and others are condemning the ranger's actions:
Alan Chen, a University of Denver Sturm College of Law professor and free-speech expert, said park officials overstepped their authority.

"This is an astounding story," Chen said. "There is no question at all, those people have the right to not only wear the placards but walk through the park with them on."

"To say to two persons who happen to be carrying a message as they walk through the park that they're carrying on a demonstration that requires a permit is ridiculous," said Mark Silverstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.
Two moonbats privately expressing themselves while merely passing through the park? Not likely--their coast-to-coast may be a two-person parade/march/demonstration, but it is still more than a pair of students who just happen to be espousing anti-war beliefs. The placards, the march itself, and the accompanying journalists all point to more than that.

**Update 2--ACLU not sure it will pursue case
Why not, if this is such a slam-dunk case?

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