Park rangers used ‘Gestapo’ tactics on seniors at Yellowstone but all sweetness and light to illegals

Park rangers used ‘Gestapo’ tactics on seniors at Yellowstone but all sweetness and light to illegals

Trafiic coneAt first you sort of had to feel sorry for the park rangers. Early in the shutdown showdown, one of them ruefully admitted, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” It was clear that these poor souls had been given orders that they were required to follow, even if they found the silly prohibitions as repulsive as the hapless tourists/pilgrims they were turning away.

Not any more. The Newburyport Daily News reports that a group of senior citizens from abroad attempted to tour some of “America’s greatest treasures” last week and were not only turned away from the attractions they came from far off to see but treated so menacingly by park rangers that several thought they were under arrest.

A tour group that included visitors from Japan, Australia, and Canada “were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.” When the group was finally permitted to leave, the bus they were herded onto was instructed not to stop until it was out of the park. The trip, which lasted two and a half hours, was rough on anyone requiring a pit stop since there were no toilet facilities on the bus and the restrooms along the route were off-limits to the invaders.

“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” said Pat Vaillancourt, one of several Americans who took part in the nine-day tour of western parks and sites. “It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘we’re sorry’.”

Some might read about the group’s mistreatment and compare it with the radically different reception illegal immigrants received from park rangers yesterday and today on the National Mall in D.C., where “Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform” is underway. Not only did rangers not chase off participants in the rally, despite the fact the National Mall is closed during the shutdown. A few of them could actually be seen yesterday, assisting the planners in setting up platforms.

So what is the difference? That Camino Americano is making a political statement that is covered by the First Amendment. Claiming your rights under the Constitution, even if you don’t have any, was deemed early on as a mitigating factor in circumventing Park Service barricades. It’s simply too bad for the Japanese, Australians, and Canadians that they didn’t think of telling the park rangers that their visit was covered by their non-existent First Amendment rights. No one would have uttered a discouraging word if they had.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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