#Shutdown follies: Park Service uses “Gestapo tactics” to harass, detain visitors to Yellowstone

"Klink! What are these tourists doing here??"

“Klink! What are these tourists doing here??”

That’s not me being hyperbolic; that’s the very description used by a tour guide who was taking a group of senior citizens, including visitors from overseas, to see one of our great natural resources. When they got there, they were instead treated to something out of a bad episode of Hogan’s Heroes:

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

The capos …er… park rangers were under orders, they said, to keep people people from “recreating,” which apparently included a prohibition against merely stopping to take pictures of bison, or even using available restrooms at a private business on the way out. (The owner of the business was threatened with the loss of his business if he let the old folks use his facilities.) At the hotel, at which they were allowed to stay only two days, regardless of their reservations, some tourists justifiably began to wonder if they were prisoners:

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

When they left, some of the tourists said they’d never come back to the United States, and, frankly, I don’t blame them. This was an utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and outrageous way to treat guests at our national parks, whether American or foreign. Instead of showing our country at its best, Barack Obama’s Smokey the Stormtroopers made us look like something out of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

This is the face of punitive liberalism, a feature of the American Left since the 1960s, but never shown as openly as under Obama. As Mark Steyn wrote in reference to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial and the attempt to bar WWII veterans from it:

The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations – plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans. Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.

And so, because of a policy dispute in D.C. in which the House majority is properly acting in its role as the opposition to press its policies and block or amend the administration’s, the administration Royal Court has decided to use the Park Service to harass and intimidate innocent Americans and their guests in the hope that they’ll then take their anger out on those darned upstart Republicans. And that means keeping us out of the parks and memorials we paid for, even if it means ruined businesses and lost jobs.

What this calls for is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. A lot more signs like these, please:

via Brian Faughnan

UPDATE: William Jacobson is nicer to the Park Service than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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