Saturday, October 19, 2013

View Today: OCR

I actually did not hear about the open carry rally near the Alamo until yesterday, and it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision to head down this afternoon and document it.  I was more of an observer than an actual participant, not because I don't support the cause--I do--but simply because I don't own any long guns, and that's what is legal to actually carry in Texas.

That's right, here in the wild, wild West, you have to carry concealed, with a permit that's kind of a pain in the ass to get as far as must-issue CHLs go.  Never forget how long Texas was run by Democrats.  Apparently, San Antonio itself has an ordinance against open carry of even rifles, but Chief McManus went on record that it would not be enforced at today's event.  He's not dumb enough to try to violate two of the Bill of Rights at once.  Since we aren't exactly swimming in spare cash at the moment, I had Erik drop me and Linda off a little ways away and we walked maybe three blocks to the Alamo.

Now, most of this post is going to be a picture dump.  I'm curious how local media will report the event.  The Associated Press is already making specious claims.  To wit: 

When the organizers of “Come and Take It San Antonio!” made plans for a display of long guns today, this setting seemed ideal but the event is now drawing attention for breaking a century-long tradition against public demonstrations at the shrine of Texas liberty, where Col. William Travis and 200 Texas defenders famously died in a siege with the Mexican army in 1836. Such public displays have usually been relegated to an adjacent plaza.

Some are asking whether a pro-gun group has gone too far in extolling firearms rights, a feat considered near impossible in Texas. And whether a politician may have been too willing to accommodate them.
 This insinuates that the rally was held on Alamo grounds.  And, well, that's stretching it.  A lot.

Here's the satellite view of the area in Google Maps, including the Alamo itself:
See the green patch in front of the Alamo itself, and the little thing that looks like a pedestrian path in front of it?  And then the space between there and the street, which for some reason is also marked Alamo Plaza?  That's where it was, and 90% of it was on the pedestrian path, which I am pretty sure was still being used as a street when I was a kid, and on Alamo Plaza.  Really, the only folks on anything that can be considered Alamo grounds were the ones on the stage. 


You can see in this photo that there were indeed some folks on the sidewalk in front of the Alamo.  Most of the people further in were, y'know, tourists, and the demonstrators were all being very careful to not block their way.

Anyway, on to the rest of the photos:

Banner for one of the larger groups sponsoring the rally.  Here's their website.

Come and Take it, for my non-Texas readers, is a line from the Gonzales flag.  The Battle of Gonzales was the opening battle of the Texas revolution, in which a Mexican army detachment tried to take back a cannon they had given settlers.  Settlers drew a picture of the cannon on a sheet and wrote those words underneath it.  For obvious reasons, it's a pretty common pro-2A slogan here in Texas, and variants of the flag printed with images of modern rifles, especially evil black rifles, are pretty common.

This one is here 'cause, well, nothing sets off a miniskirt like a rifle, amiright?

I was standing by this dude when I told Linda the media will probably try to paint this rally as a bunch of white people.  He said, "I'm not white."

As I said on Facebook, this rally actually seemed more diverse than the Marriage Equality rally.  About half the people were obviously white; a significant proportion were Mexican, a handful were black, at least two were Native American, and the bulk of the rest were what I call Texans of Questionable Ethnicity (like the lady above).  These are folks who could be white or Latino or American Indian or some mix of all of three.  Also, there were a fair amount of disabled folks--wheelchairs, canes, braces-and-crutches combo in one case.  The dog you can see in my picture of the Alamo looked to be a service dog of some sort.  (I saw three dogs: that one, one on a leash, and a purse dog.)

At some point, the decision was made to march from Alamo Plaza over to Travis park.  Of course, we all had to stand around while even organizers talked about it.

Anti-gunners say pro-gun folks are a crime spree waiting to happen, and they're right.  Just look at all that flagrant jaywalking!  Also, holy shit does that building need to be pressure-washed.

Another picture of the march.  I don't know how many people were at the rally, but it was enough folks to fill up two city blocks pretty thick, and not everyone went over to Travis Park.

This dude had his gun marked open & empty per guidelines replicated here.  The only part of it I felt a little silly was this:

This event is not a field training..... And showing up in multi-cams,LBVs,PCs does nothing more than reinforce the stereotype that we are pushing against..... If you want to dress up in full battle rattle, join a local militia group and attend the FTX's...
 However, very few people were in camo of any type.  This is Texas, there were a lot more Western outfits.  But no few of the people were kind of obviously ex-military, made obvious by the backpacks and hats.

Severe social anxiety makes me a shitty citizen journalist.  I have no idea who this dude was, aside from "probably an event organizer."  He mentioned the diversity and produced the Quote of the Day (hell, I can probably give it Quote of the Month): "Freedom isn't just for white people."

Two of the three or so folks in Guy Fawkes masks.  Right Wing rallies are always fun because there are inevitably a bunch of smaller groups pushing their own agendas within the main thing.  There was a petition to have a secession resolution added to the Republican primary ballot (which I signed), a petition to recall the mayor and repeal the NDO (which I did not sign), a petition having something to do with Indian burial lands, one InfoWars flag, and a lone old dude holding an anti-Obamacare sign.

This is the Confederate war memorial in the middle of Travis park.  I just thought this was a neat picture.

Again, freedom isn't just for white people.  You can see the helmet of a bicycle cop over her head.  I didn't chat up the police, but they seemed mostly respectful and stand-offish.  (But if anyone contradicts me on that, believe them instead.)

Another view of the crowd.  I always have plenty of pictures of people's backs.  By the way, I saw no sign of the counter-protesters who were supposed to show up, and I did ask around and no one else had, either.  One dude wandered through Travis Park yelling something unintelligible, and there was another guy at Alamo Plaza questioning one of the attendees about why we were protesting in support of this right but not others.  (The answer, by the way, was exactly what I would have given: This rally is about this one thing.  Don't assume we don't go to other events and do things to support other issues.)

One last photo of the Travis Park portion of the rally, pulled out a little to show the participants' guns and the statue's.  Fairly large amount of women.  I am, by the way, going to do Sign Guy there a favor and assume he chose bare as a pun since it's an open carry event.

Naturally, every attendee was polite, not just to one another but to random folks they encountered.  Public reaction was mostly puzzled rather than either positive or negative, but one gal in an electric wheelchair did join in as we were headed to Travis Park, I think just for the fun of it.


Dave said...

Once again, Sabra, you have provided level-headed and unemotional reporting on an event, sort of like what we would expect from a nationally published news service or magazine.

I very much appreciate the pictures of non-whites or more appropriately, as you say, Texans of Questionable Ethnicity. The guy who showed up to make the point that, "I'm not white" flies in the face of people trying to paint this as a white (white = racist) issue. Kudos to him!

Finally, I don't care who you are, a chick in a miniskirt with a rifle is hot, hot, hot!

Anonymous said...

Good post, Sabra. Don't be so hard on yourself as a citizen journalist.