How dumb can the nativists get?
On Friday, I blogged about an anti-amnesty rally being held at the state Capitol, sponsored in part by nativist extremist Rusty Childress' new anti-immigrant group Remember 1986.
Basically, Remember 1986 is a rehash of Childress' United for a Sovereign America, which had a fondness for neo-Nazis such as Elton Hall and J.T. Ready. U.S.A. is the same group that for years harassed the Macehualli Work Center, a day-laborer spot in North Phoenix.
See Also: Citizen Journalist Dennis Gilman and His Video Camera Take on the Valley of the Sun Joe Arpaio, Richard Malley, Robert Crooks, Harry Hughes and Rusty Childress' New Nativist Group "Remember 1986"
Videographer Dennis Gilman is one of those who helped expose U.S.A. for what it was, through his activism and his videos on his YouTube site HumanLeage002.
In fact, Gilman got U.S.A. booted from a local VFW hall in 2008, after he wrote the VFW and informed it of just who was using the property.
Needless to say, the U.S.A. crowd has no love for Gilman. I have been present on countless occasions where the Phoenix nativists have menaced Gilman, blocking his camera, hitting his camera, and pushing and shoving him.
When Gilman shows up to any of their events, they react like hungry jackals to a hunk of bloody meat. And Saturday's We Are America rally was no different, despite U.S.A.'s name change to Remember 1986.
As you can see in Gilman's video of the incident, the nativists immediately begin blocking his camera. They surround him, push and shove him, and hit his camera with their signs.
The Arizona Republic reports that these goons essentially disrupted their own event, and that one of their speakers, Republican congresswoman-wannabe Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, even intervened at one point on Gilman's behalf.
"Excuse me," she says, "as a United States citizen, this man has a right to be here."
There were other media present. Indeed, even as Gilman walks onto the grounds, you can see others with video cameras. But Gilman is the one these lunkheads single out.
All of it was unprovoked. It's almost funny when, after they surround Gilman like a pack of wild dogs, they tell Gilman to "stop pushing."
Fortunately, playwright James Garcia was on hand, taking pictures of what was going on. He recently posted some of these to Facebook, with an eyewitness account of what transpired.
"He was exercising his First Amendment right as an independent journalist to document a news event when he was literally surrounded by several people who alternately tried obstructing his view to keep him from videotaping, while a few of them began pushing and shoving him around--apparently intent on trying to provoke him....
"At one point, some of protesters who had surrounded Dennis began to yell out that he was assaulting them. These were blatant lies. The most aggressive thing Dennis did was turn his camera on his aggressors in hopes of documenting their abuse, while he pointedly insisted that they not touch his camera equipment. "
To be fair, assuming the group had a permit for the rally on the state Senate lawn, they could ask Gilman to leave. And if he chooses not to, they could wait for the police to show up to ask him to leave.
Having a permit does not give you license to harass and assault someone.
Gilman says that when the authorities showed up, he agreed to leave if they would escort him all the way to his car. Smart move, considering the nature of the crowd, and the fact many of them were packing.
The best thing the nativists could have done is ignore Gilman's presence. By singling him out and acting like a bunch of schoolyard bullies, they not only revealed their true colors, they ruined a chance to convey their intended message.
Now they have to defend themselves by blaming the victim, which makes them look even worse.
Here's a little free PR advice for them that they won't take: Apologize to Gilman and promise to ensure his safety at the next demonstration they hold, whatever that is.
This would be the smart thing to do, a way of mitigating the damage. But they won't, largely because they are filled with rage and must attack anyone who disagrees with them.
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And also because they are really, really dumb.
UPDATE 7:06: Following the news of Saturday's bikers' riot at the state Capitol, the Raw Story website interviewed nativist Barb Heller, who helped organize Saturday's event.
Of the effort to make Gilman leave, she said it was "nicely done."
Heh, way to dig the hole deeper, Barb! These people couldn't catch a clue if you handed one to them. They just keep hanging themselves with their own stupidity. Hilarious.