“Why, Bettie, you must be exhausted.” Emma greets Bettie Stevens as she approaches their table in the ballroom of the St. Anthony Hotel. “Everyone in the city was wearing little white tags. And not a day passes without your name in Mattie Walthall’s column. You flit from hosting a breakfast on the Medina River to an elegant reception for Missus French. You attend a Library Board meeting, deliver a paper on the Cavaliers for the Daughters of the American Revolution and then chaperone the girls at the Thanksgiving game and ball in Austin.”
Sophie Wahrmund stands and welcomes Bettie with a hug. “And all in the midst of debutante season. Please sit down and join us. We banished Otto and Otto temporarily to the bar for their inappropriate remarks.”
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.
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.