Tea Party Part Deux

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about my encounter with the tea party. Today, I made a second stand as a lone protester with the same sign as before. This time, Long Island Wins was there to cover it.

Yet this may be my last time protesting there.  After the protest was over, I was shaken; a tea partier threatened my life.

I arrived at around 12:20 P.M. crossing the street to put my sign “Amnesty Now!” “Stop the Hate! to counter the anti-immigrant message signs they had. Curiously, there were no anti-immigrant signs visible today. Well, they were visible, but piled on top of each other on the ground so that no one could see them. It’s likely that they took them down once they saw me crossing the street. But then the insults began to fly, more vitriolic than the time two weeks ago. Here is how it went, in as best of an order that I can remember.

First, as last time, they tried hard to block my sign by surrounding me and following me up and down the street.

Then, a woman asked me: “Are you an Arab?” As that was a preposterous question to ask, I responded with a joke(they didn’t realize it was a joke), saying that “Yes, I was an Arab, from Egypt.” Then, loudly, several of them began to chant: “Allah is a Faggot”, and that “I should be in Guantanamo with the rest of them”. You many see me on the video repeating what they said so that it was down for the record. Oh, I am not Arab, or Muslim; I am a lapsed Catholric.

Then one of the men there said something like the following(can’t remember exact sequence)–“we should be for abortion because the world would be better off if your parents had one”. I indignantly responded that it was quite outrageous to wish someone to be never born because they have a different political opinion. The same man then went on to imply that “I should have a bullet in my head”.

Those were the most egregious insults; there were many smaller ones along the way. But towards the end is when I stopped having fun and became worried.

One of the men(not the one who said the abortion stuff), pulled me aside, lowered his voice, and said “you are messing with the wrong people when yuo walk around here”. I asked who. He said: “Look behind you”. I went to look behind me, but he stopped me with his arm. He then put one hand out in front of him, and his second hand behind the first one. He said: “You see this hand(the first one), this is you. You see this one(the second hand), this is you. I’ll be watching you”. This was said with menace; there was no hint of any joke. I asked him if he was threatening me, to which he remained moot.

Then, as they left, this same man said as he was leaving: “See you around, Bryan”. He knew my name because I stated it for the camera. I was a tad shaken, especially in the context of that volatile hour. I talked to a couple of people to see what I should do. I took it as a threat on my life. Clearly, he did it with the intent that I not return. What is not certain is if he meant to go through with anything if I were to return. Considering the whole group’s demonstrable craziness, I thought it prudent to call the police afterwards.

A Suffolk county police officer came so that I could file a report. This was NOT at the protest site. It was an hour and a half afterwards, in the parking lot of an apple bank by myself. The police officer stated that they could do nothing because the man’s words were too ambiguous. Basically, it would be “he said, she said”. It seemed to me, though he was right as respects the law, that he minimized it and analogized it to schoolyard juveniles. Yet, schoolyard kids don’t wear NRA hats, which was what this guy had on. I mentioned to he police officer the “Allah Slur”. Considering the recent justice department investigation into Suffolk County Police’s alleged lack of care for crimes against latinos on account of race, his answer to me saying, “Isn’t that hate speech?” was curious.

He said, “Everyone is always talking about Hate Crimes, but how come no one ever talks about love crimes.” I was thinking: “Yeah, Love crimes are commonly referred to as Domestic Abuse” He didn’t seem to have a high opinion on the substantive basis of hate crimes.

I have a decision to make: to return next Saturday, and verify if this guy’s threat is genuine, or not return due to a balancing act of “what good is my protest doing” compared to “how dangerous it is”. I’m not sure, but I am leaning towards not doing it, principally because I do not want to put others’ at risk. Any thoughts?

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12 Responses to “Tea Party Part Deux”

  1. Jesus Maria Alvarez Says:

    Hey buddy! Sorry to hear that you ran into the hatred, fear and ignorance wall. Whatever you decide, take good care and don’t think twice about calling the cops for help or the FBI for protection.

    Sometimes the most hysterical defenders of “MY” country — the love or leave it crowd — are the most ignorant of the basic principles on which it is based: free expression and a profound respect for our differences.

    Take good care, Bryan!

  2. bjohns15 Says:

    Thanks, Jesus. I truly appreciate the support!

  3. Liquid Reigns Says:

    You have a right to protest, but what you are doing, by walking into their area of demonstration, is intimidation (that does not grant them the ability to threaten your life). You, by your actions of walking into and protesting in their area, are provoking them to do something to you. Your best form of protest is to stand across the street from them, quietly (meaning not giving their comments credibility by responding back to them in a loud or boisterous yell fest), hold your sign(s) and talk to passers by, let those across the street make fools of themselves in the eyes of other people.

  4. bjohns15 Says:

    Liquid Reigns,

    I know that I am provoking them to a certain extent. My mere presence on their side is a provocation. But part of the goal of protesting there is to drown out their message, which can be done less effectively from the other side of the street. For example, they have the “support our troops” signs right alongside the anti-illegal signs. The mixed message is somehow worse in my eyes, because it taints notion of “support our troops”. Next time, I am working on bringins some military friends.

    • Liquid Reigns Says:

      It is not your right to drown out their message by protesting amongst them. They too have the right to free speech. To effectively counter their message, it would better serve you to bring more opposition and protest from across the street and let the passers by determine as to who they themselves may agree with.

      For example, they have the “support our troops” signs right alongside the anti-illegal signs.

      Are you sure you are not mixing the message further? Are they two separate groups or are they the same group with two different messages? One can’t argue with your tenacity, but if the goal is to only get out your message, than by walking in protest in and among them as you have described, in my eyes does more to provoke and instigate more than it does in getting your message out.

  5. bjohns15 Says:

    Sure it is my right to drown out their message, as long as it is done within the confines of the law, which I have done so far.

    I may be mixing the message further, but that’s the thing. Read what I wrote originally “Part of the message”. You wrote “if the goal is to only get out your message”. There was more than the goal of getting my message out…

    • Liquid Reigns Says:

      Sure it is my right to drown out their message, as long as it is done within the confines of the law, which I have done so far.

      That’s just it, you’ve stated you walked and protested within their ranks, this can actually fall under disruption of public order.

      There was more than the goal of getting my message out…

      Provocation and Instigation.

      I have a decision to make: to return next Saturday, and verify if this guy’s threat is genuine, or not return due to a balancing act of “what good is my protest doing” compared to “how dangerous it is”. I’m not sure, but I am leaning towards not doing it, principally because I do not want to put others’ at risk. Any thoughts?

      Stay across the street from them, do not walk into, through, or around them. Since you have already attempted to file a previous report, it can go against you now, as a judge would think that you should have learned the first time to stay away from them, now you are out looking for a conflict.

      These are but my mere thoughts for you.

  6. bjohns15 Says:

    Yes. I appreciate your suggestions, Liquid Reigns. I may not go back depending on how the video looks. It should be up on Longislandwins.com at some point during this week

  7. Yolanda Guerra Says:

    First of all, I wish I’d been there because I would’ve given the cop a piece of my mind. I understand why you felt compelled to call the cops, but they are useless. I’m actually surprised he didn’t turn it around on you somehow.

    That being said, you have to remember the kind of people we’re dealing with here. These are bigots who basically hate everyone. While I wanted to join the protest, I wanted to do so in order to show my support to those who are the target of such bigotry, not under any hopes that I was going to change how those bigoted protesters think.

    I agree that you have every right to protest alongside them, but just keep in mind that you are not going to change them. All you can hope for is that by taking your stand you can provoke some reaction in those people who normally drive by without the slightest care. That is who you should be targeting with your message – those who do not have a conviction either way. For that is how you can truly make a difference!

    My hero, Thomas Jefferson, said it best: “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.” Protesting their protest should generate discussion among the passersby, for whom there is still hope. I see no hope for those whose hatred runs so deep that they would actually threaten your life.

    Obviously, it is up to you whether you go back, but if you decide to go back, I don’t think you should go alone. You need to get a big group of people together first. There is, after all, more power in numbers. And whatever you do, stay on the other side of the road….safety first! 🙂

  8. bjohns15 Says:

    Hey Yolanda,

    I will return. But probably this Saturday or the next due to errands and such. Speaking of protests, March 21st is the big rally for immigration reform in D.C. Over 100,000 are expected to attend. I think I’m going to go. There are buses going there for 20 bux.

  9. Ylse » Blog Archive » Tea Party and NumbersUSA strategize on defaming Mexican women and Latino immigrants to foil immigration reform Says:

    […] Latina Lista reader wrote me yesterday about a recent confrontation he had with a Tea Party protester. This young law student in New York staged a counter protest to […]

  10. Tea Party and NumbersUSA strategize on defaming Mexican women and Latino immigrants to foil immigration reform - Latina Lista Says:

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