The Tea Party movement has an undeserved reputation for
being comprised of angry protesters, but the reality is that your typical rally
features nothing more than patriotic Americans peacefully gathering to wave
flags and register their discontent with government growth and taxation.
The false impression is generated by the out-of-touch elite
media and the hostile liberal blogosphere, who are waiting to pounce on
anything that will cast the Tea Partiers in a bad light. Progressives are even going
so far as to pose as them and behave
badly in the hopes that the media will cover it. And you never know, there
may be a genuine nut or two that comes out along with millions of other
Americans on Tax Day.
Carla Bonney, the chief organizer of the protest in Ventura,
is taking the security challenge very seriously. She's worked with the county and the police
department, and she's urged her followers not to engage in verbal
confrontations or physical violence (or even the perception of it).
"This is precisely what counter-demonstrators are looking
for," she wrote in an email to her list of supporters.
If confronted, people should withdraw to a safe distance
immediately, alert those nearby, and notify Tea Party security personnel.
Bonney's even appointed a security director and has 15
volunteers with policing experience patrolling the crowd, and they'll be in
close contact with the Ventura PD watch commander should any disturbances
"The police department knows me quite well and they're happy
with the way we run security," Bonney told Tim Conway, Jr. during an interview
on KFI Wednesday night.
Just how many people will be on hand?
"I'm expecting minimally, at least 5,000, and I'd say more
towards possibly as high as 10,000," she said.
Over in Thousand Oaks, Carolyn Guillot is organizing a rally
at the Post Office. Last year, two events she organized had incidents of
violence, despite tight security precautions--in one, a crazy man charged
a doctor that was speaking out against universal health care, and in
another, a man got into a fist/teeth fight and ended up losing
his finger. In the former, plainclothes
security tackled the man before he could do any damage, and in the latter, the altercation
took place right before the rally even started, leaving no chance for anyone to
intervene. Guillot bristled at the attention generated by the scuffle, and felt
that it made the movement look violent. She was heavily critical of the
9-finger man for throwing a punch before losing his pinky. She's very vocal about protesters ignoring confrontation and dealing with it peacefully.
"Don't argue with anyone who disagrees with our core values," she wrote in an email to her mailing list. "Instead, smile, walk away, and find someone wearing a red-white-blue lei." The people in leis are security personnel. She's notified police that troublemaking infiltrators might show up, and she's arranged to have people observe the crowd for any problems.
Bonney's group is meeting at the Ventura County Government
Center from 4pm to 7pm on Thursday. Guillot's group will be at the Thousand
Oaks Post Office at Duesenberg Dr. from 12pm to 2pm.