Gun rights betrayal
Their official name is the Richmond County Tea Party Patriots -- and they arguably put Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) in office twice, first in 2010 when Tea Party supported this U.S. Marine veteran for the U.S. House, and again in 2012. Grimm won the 2010 general election for his district which covers both parts of New York City's Staten Island and Brooklyn with 51 percent of the vote. Grimm won the 2012 general election for the post-Census New York 11th District with 52.8 percent of the vote. One doubts Michael Grimm could have gotten into office in this "purple" District without Tea Party members and other conservatives voting for him in high numbers.
But something happened to make Richmond County Tea Party Patriots and other local residents of this mostly small town-appearing and old fashioned neighborly borough of Staten Island come to the New Dorp office of Cong. Grimm this past Saturday (the NY Police moved the protesters across the street in front of a local parking lot). The crowd of protesters was estimated to be from 70 to 150. There were, not surprisingly, a number of military veterans and their families among the throng.
On January 18th, 2013, the Staten Island Advance reported that Cong. Grimm was now favoring a ban on assault weapons. That article stated:
Grimm said the Connecticut school shooting, that left 20 first-graders dead, tipped his decision to favor a ban.
"I had been leaning toward it," said Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn). "This is a big move for me. I had not been there before. Truthfully, it was the devastation of the families. I think of mothers and fathers now sending their kids to school. If it gives them peace of mind, if it makes people feel better, as part of the healing process, I am comfortable with it. I really want to see a safer America."
But Grimm said there is no guarantee that it will reduce gun violence, noting that at the time of the Columbine school shooting, in 1999, the ban was in place.
The change of Michael Grimm's position was felt by many as a shock and a betrayal of those conservatives who both thought and felt they put his vote totals over the top in two reasonably close House elections. In fact, Bob Zahn, the President of the Richmond County Tea Party Patriots, had this reply to Cong. Grimm at the Saturday rally:
"Grimm said the ban 'makes people feel better as part of the healing process.' Did we elect him to be our therapist?"
Zahn also likened the Obama administration (and I believe many Republicans) to a soft tyranny that will use the Patriot Act and similar legislation to detain citizens and take away their guns - if they are not stopped.
"Congressman Grimm is a former Marine. I pictured him like the Marines who raised that flag on a rock (on Iwo Jima). But he supported the (New York State) SAFE Act."
Standing among the protesting crowd who braved a chilly temperature in the low 40s and a steady drizzle, Karen Awad, a champion competitive shooter and gun club official, told American Thinker of Cong. Grimm coming to (her) Colonial Rifle and Pistol Club on Staten Island before the 2012 election to say that he would not vote for any restrictions on gun rights.
"Politicians make promises. You can't believe any of them. They make deals - packaged with amendments. The rest of the bill is what influenced him (Grimm), I assume," Mrs. Awad said.
Later, when Karen Awad spoke to the crowd, she did not hold back.
"I have many friends in the shooting community. My experience in shooting is my liberty. We must not be punished for the actions of a few!"
The next speaker was Wave Chan, an energetic and young real estate salesman who spoke to American Thinker even before the rally started. Chan ran against New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a Lower East Side of Manhattan district in 2012, knowing that he, Chan, would face a very difficult uphill fight. Although Silver would later go on to easily win reelection, last September Chan personally delivered "a formal request for a probe to the Southern District (of NY State) US Attorney's Office" concerning alleged improprieties by Silver. Chan is not upset by his 2012 loss, saying he will run again against Sheldon Silver, saying that the Assembly Speaker isn't that far from retirement today at age 69.
Chan took to the milk carton platform to attack infringements on gun rights as the actions of a "tyrannical government." Not conceding any language to the left, he stated that what the left calls "assault weapons" are in fact "defense weapons."
Noting Gov. Cuomo's support for statewide decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession and Mayor Bloomberg's loosening of marijuana laws in NY City, Chan got a cheer from the crowd when he said "we need drug tests for politicians!"
Wave Chan also made a more analytical point concerning wealth and privilege. He stated that although the GOP is called the "Party of the Rich," a pistol permit in New York City cost $350 and you need the help of a professional (such as a lawyer) to complete the complicated form. Chan further stated that the total fees/expenses, including a fingerprinting fee of about $95, making for a total City gun permit cost of around $1000 -- before one even buys a gun. Chan called this discrimination against the poor who are mostly minorities, thus characterizing these costs by the largely Democrat run, New York City government as "racist."
A later speaker echoed Mr. Chan's words. He was Dino Longueira, an actual licensed master gunsmith and owner of a custom gun company on Staten Island. Longueira likened our gun rights to an ice cube melting in the sun. But more importantly, he said, speaking from his experience, that if someone is one day late on their New York City gun license renewal fees, the police will come their home and seize their gun(s). And senior citizens who no longer hunt, he continued, can't afford the license renewal fee on one of their guns they want to keep for home protection. guess we can add "ageist" to "racist" as well.
Another speaker was Anthony Mele, a U.S. Army veteran who served around the world as a counter-terrorism specialist and with the Defense Intelligence Agency and also with the Third Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at Ft. Meyers, Maryland. Mele is now head of AMI Global Security, a firm that guards diplomats and celebrities and is "registered with the US Department of State Bureau of Political and Military Affairs as a defense trade and manufacturer's exporter." Mr. Mele had a strategic and historic viewpoint, as well as a local neighborhood New York one. His quotes were quite compelling.
"Welcome to the Battle of Staten Island. Make no mistake. This is a Battle of ideas and principle."
"You cannot abolish the Second Amendment without destroying the entire Bill of Rights."
"The Founders foresaw the day could come when the government got so intoxicated with its own voice...Let them be reminded that they work for us!"
Switching to a neighborhood guy's voice, Mele likened the current incremental lessening of our Second Amendment rights to his getting a sandwich in his youth on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, saying, "The put the meat in the slicer, cut it down slice by slice, until there was nothing left."
Mele urged Cong. Grimm to vote against a number of proposed U.S. House bills on gun control and warned of New York State Sen. Ortiz's bill to require New Yorkers to buy gun usage insurance. This would be a prohibitive expense for many poor to middle income citizens and another barrier, lessening their rights to own a firearm.
The final speaker was Ronald Devito from Organize4Palin.com. Yes, Palin's grass roots appeal still lives in the outer boroughs of New York City. You betcha.
Devito presented, among other things, realistic and memorable words from his self-titled Molon Labe (or Come and Take It) speech, refuting the arguments of the anti-large capacity weapon (and really anti-gun) politicians:
It's called a Bill of Rights! It's not a "Bill of Needs!"
Yet, they are doing precisely that. Bloomberg has told us we don't need more than 16 ounces in a drink cup. Some politicians have said we don't need SUV's. I don't recall seeing an office on a ballot called "nanny," but quite a few people from both parties appear to be vying for the title, since they are fixated on dictating what their subjects need. I'm sorry - I meant "constituents" - or maybe was I right the first time?
Let's get back to magazines. Only "first responders" need more than X number of rounds in a magazine, say these politicians -- who don't know the difference between a magazine and a clip.
No disrespect intended to our law enforcement officers, but when someone is trying to harm you and your family -- YOU are the first responder. Police are the SECOND responders. They get there after the incident has happened to investigate and do paperwork.
Ron Devito also created a video of the entire collection of speeches. It can be seen on YouTube.
King Leonidas -- and the Founding Fathers -- would have been proud of all of them.