Please come and take them away from downtown San Antonio

You spent a year planning your wedding. Your ceremony will be Saturday in the church whose bell Sam Maverick had forged from cannon from the Alamo. Your attendants will line the sidewalk leading from St. Mark’s under the canopy of trees in Travis Park, showering guests with rose petals as they walk to the reception in the historic St. Anthony Hotel.

Whoops. Sorry you didn’t get the word.

Travis Park will be filled with approximately 1,000 armed men on Saturday afternoon.

But don’t worry. Your guests should feel really safe because these men with shotguns and rifles are really responsible. I mean, out of 1,000, what are the odds one would be a little mentally imbalanced or trigger-happy?

Of course, part of their plan is to try to antagonize the San Antonio Police Department by skirting or outright violating city ordinances and daring the police to arrest someone.

This is a goal because then they can howl all over the internet and sue the city. They want to show everyone San Antonio police are unreasonable in their attempts to make the rest of us unarmed people feel safe, those of us who might fear the one out of 1,000.

Alamo Plaza is such a small area of San Antonio in which to stage a protest – Come and Take It, the newest event added to San Antonio’s festival schedule. Yes, there will be great photo ops in front of the Alamo, but staying put in one place might not make the police nervous enough to arrest someone for carrying a weapon in a threatening manner.

Yes, the demonstrators will maintain an armed presence in Alamo Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but a large contingent of these law-abiding citizens will break away for Travis Park at 12:30 p.m., according to Murdoch Pizgatti of Don’t Comply.

There they will have stump speeches, revving up the crowd against the tyranny of police who would respond to a 911-call by some citizen who found it alarming when one of the Come-and-Take-It crowd walked into a Starbucks with a rifle or came and sat down with a trusty shotgun in a crowded movie theatre. Right there, in Travis Park, under what Murdoch calls “the statue.” You know the one. The Confederate monument.

If no one has been arrested yet, the group will then head for a little downtown “tour” out front of one of the police stations. And then back around through downtown to wind up the whole family friendly event in front of the Alamo.

Not content to be able to take their guns hunting, to keep them bedside to guard against intruders or in hand on a ranch in case of rattlesnakes, they want to brandish them downtown. They feel insecure unarmed, like Linus without his blanket. Because for these men “the front line is everywhere.”

In my mind, the Come and Take It guys have stolen downtown from me and thousands of others Saturday.

Use your guns to hunt and protect your own property; don’t bring them into our shared public spaces – you know, parks and such maintained by tax dollars many of you view as money stolen from you.

Personally, I want to thank all the members of the San Antonio Police Department who put their lives on the lines for us everyday, to make sure the rest of us can work and play downtown. You should not be harassed the way you will be tomorrow, and particularly not by the Land Commissioner of Texas. the self-proclaimed “#1 gun guy in Texas” who longs for a time when kids are free to take antique guns to school for show and tell.

“They say Sam Maverick forged the bell for St. Mark’s from a cannon used during the Battle of the Alamo. If only the concept proved contagious….” Postcards from San Antonio – No. 12, “Peace be with you.”

The State surrenders the Alamo; Run for cover

Things seemed to be going pretty well since the State of Texas exercised its authority over the Alamo and its grounds in 2011, wresting the fiefdom away from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The State was behaving so responsibly a recent Express-News editorial dared to broach recommending the City of San Antonio consider ceding its control of Alamo Plaza to the management of the state.

Those words should be retracted now.

Saturday, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is inviting an armed invasion of the grounds. Not only inviting it, but giving those bearing arms a warm welcome.

gun-poster

Sponsor DontComply.com regards taxation as “stealing,” so hold onto your wallet Commissioner Patterson. As you are paid by the state, your wallet is filled with stolen money.

Sponsor OpenCarryTexas.org actively takes a passive-aggressive approach to fulfill its purposes. One of those it proudly proclaims is to:

foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.

One of the ways followers accomplish this is to set up traps for the police. One recent example was at a Starbucks in San Antonio. Three perfectly innocent gun-toting men order their coffee and park themselves at a table outside. Some customers evacuate. Several frightened patrons, much to the “surprise” of the men who just happened to be filming themselves while sipping their coffee, called police. So begins the “harassment” that has fired up the gun rights advocates:

We will all meet in San Antonio to stand up in one of the most important challenges we have had to face. This event will be a strong message to Chief McManus that we have a right to bear arms and …it will NOT be infringed. We are drawing a line in the sand on the historic land of the Alamo.

Their heroes, according to posts on DontComply’s facebook page, appear to be those who are burning police barricades in Washington. Among those joining Commissioner Patterson will be Mike Vanderboegh, who nicely blogged in advance about the plans of the San Antonio Police Department, offering advice to film everything going on for opportunities for lawsuits against not only the SAPD but “against individual officers and the entire chain of command individually as well as the city who failed to properly train, supervise, etc….”

Way to go, boys. You really know how to make the police feel all warm and fuzzy about you and your cause.

Another object of sponsor Open Carry Texas is:

to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them (rifles and shotguns).

Hint, placing a powder keg in front of the Alamo is not a way to forward that goal.

Oh, I know what the organizers are going to say: “Don’t worry, the matches are in the other pocket.”

But the attendees will all have matches, and, from the tweets chirping on twitter, it sounds as though some of the attendees might not mind provoking police.

While it might be a Texan’s right to carry a rifle, won’t the demonstrators be breaking Texas law by amassing an army of armed civilians in the middle of a cosmopolitan area? What are they hunting, pigeons?

Organizers can plead they are not “calculating to alarm,” but I beg to differ. Ask the spouse of a San Antonio police officer heading to work on Saturday morning if he or she is alarmed. Ask me. I am totally frightened of those who would gather armed in a public park, at a state monument frequented by families with children. I wouldn’t set foot within two blocks of Alamo Plaza on Saturday with a bullet-proof vest.

As for the Land Commissioner opening the grounds of the Alamo to welcome the armed demonstration, I am appalled. He is essentially shutting down the Alamo and its grounds to anyone worried about people slinging guns around their children.

And what kind of precedent does it set for future gatherings? Seems as though most any group might as well apply to gather in front of the Alamo now.

I don’t think I’m ready to say bring back the Daughters, but Commissioner Patterson’s participation in baiting the San Antonio Police Department is dangerously irresponsible.

Update on October 17, 2013:

Commissioner Patterson does not seem to comprehend how alarming the scenario he is endorsing is to anyone who follows current events. He is living in a fantasy Leave-It-To-Beaver world leftover from his childhood when he could put on a coonskin cap and carry a gun to school for show-and-tell. What would he think if one of his children were watching a Disney movie at the local theatre and a man carrying a shotgun came in and sat down beside her or him?

Anyway, I’ll leave it to him to make his case. These are his own misguided thoughts as published in The Bay Area Citizen:

Patterson: Standing up for liberty at the Alamo is Texas tradition

By Jerry Patterson Texas Land Commissioner

AUSTIN — The last time hundreds of Texans showed up at the Alamo with rifles, they were hailed as heroes in their stand against a tyrannical government.

Texas — and Texans — have changed a lot since then. But the fundamental, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms has not.

The main goal of today’s rally at the Alamo is simple: The peaceful exercise of a right we fear losing. It is legal, after all, to carry a long gun in Texas. Despite that fact, there are those who would claim otherwise under color of law. Today’s demonstration is expression of that right, plain and simple.

It should be noted, San Antonio’s city council has declared they will not enforce the city’s unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting any person other than police or security officers from carrying a firearm within the city limits at a public event. They know they would lose any challenge to an arrest made under such city ordinance in a court of law. So in that respect, today’s Second Amendment exercise has already been successful.

But a more subtle goal of today’s gathering is one largely been lost in the media hype surrounding it, and that is the effect such a rally might have to help normalize the sight of an armed citizen.

The fact that many Texans only feel comfortable with police carrying guns isn’t normal, historically speaking. Armed citizens shouldn’t be alarming in a free society.

It wasn’t always so. I can remember bringing an old, Civil War-era muzzle-loader I had gotten for Christmas to Hartman Junior High School in Houston for show and tell. Instead of causing a lock-down and a S.W.A.T. response, it elicited the ohhs and ahhs of other kids who got an impromptu lesson in gun safety and history. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more normal than that.

By agreeing to speak to this rally at the Alamo today, I am doing what I think is best to ease the fear that has gripped our state and our nation when it comes to guns. Texans — and Americans in general — shouldn’t be defined by our fears but by our freedoms. We are stronger than that.

He’s looking for a campaign photo op, but here’s hoping this line in the sand proves to be Jerry Patterson’s quicksand.