Does anyone know the exact name of the idiot or idiots who got to decide which people are or are not “essential” for federal-government-shutdown purposes? This National Park Service mass closing, for instance—yes, obviously, if you’re shutting inessential things down, it makes perfect sense to send home the park rangers whose job is to let tourists into Yellowstone and run the ranger stations within.
But they also “closed” the Vietnam and World War Two memorials on Washington, DC’s National Mall, even though they’re nothing more than open-air monuments in the middle of a public walkway—“closing” those memorials via setting up and maintaining blockades around them required more actual manpower than simply leaving them “open” would have done.
It gets worse. Check out this story I found in today’s Daily Caller
A Yellowstone tour guide accused the National Park Service of using “Gestapo tactics” while shutting down the park, after armed rangers locked a group of terrified senior citizens inside their hotel for many hours to prevent them from visiting nearby attractions.
The Lawrence, Massachusetts Eagle-Tribune reports that the rangers also prevented the group from taking pictures of wildlife and from stopping at a rest facility during their departure, forcing seniors to wait well over two hours before using the restroom.
“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” said Pat Vaillancourt, a Massachusetts resident who was on the tour last week. “It was like they brought out the armed forces.”
When the government shutdown took effect on October 1, Vaillancourt’s group of about four dozen senior citizens had just arrived at Yellowstone. Although many tourists were already being shuttled out of the park, rangers allowed the tour a two-day extension due to their prepaid hotel reservations. What looked like a generous exception, however, soon turned into a nightmare.
As the bus made its way into the park, the group stopped to take pictures of a large bison herd passing nearby. Vaillancourt said that a ranger quickly appeared, ordering the tourists to stop “recreating” and return to the bus.
When the group’s tour guide protested, the ranger became angry. “She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.
“We paid a lot to get in,” said tour guide Gordon Hodgson, who was interviewed by the local Livingston Enterprise. “All these people wanted to do was take some pictures.”
The seniors were sent to the Old Faithful Inn, a ritzy hotel located next to the famous Old Faithful geyser. Immediately upon their arrival, armed rangers locked the inn’s doors and stood guard outside to prevent the group from visiting the geyser, which was already barricaded.
“Stop recreating?” The hell of it is, I have zero difficulty imagining a contemporary employee of the US government saying this with complete lack of irony. But who, specifically, is responsible for this farce? Congressional Republicans arguably deserve blame for collectively playing chicken with America’s credit rating—but “Congressional Republicans” isn’t a specific person. Obama is, and perhaps he deserves part of the blame too—but I highly doubt he’s personally giving orders to any park rangers, either. Who exactly ordered park rangers to barricade out-in-the-open statues and expend manpower to make old people stop taking photographs or otherwise “recreating”?
These are your typical “essential” federal government duties, in addition to those of the DEA, TSA and NSA, all of whom continue to essentially violate their fellow Americans’ rights every day.
This is 2013 America, dammit, and a generation ago we won the Cold War; let freedom ring and all related platitudes. This isn’t
what our country is supposed to be.