'Truckers Ride for the Constitution' plan DC protest (Update: A hoax)
If you've ever lived in Washington, D.C. you know that morning traffic on the Beltway can be a pain in the neck.
On October 11, it's going to get a lot worse.
Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who is handling logistics for the protest, told U.S. News tractor-trailer drivers will circle the beltway "three lanes deep" as he rides with other participants to Congress to seek the arrest of congressmen for allegedly disregarding the Constitution.
The truckers circling I-495 will keep the left lane open for emergency vehicles, Conlon said, but "everybody that doesn't have a supporter sticker on their window, good luck: Nobody in, nobody out." The trucks will be going the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit.
D.C. commuters who wish to be allowed past the convoy must have "T2SDA" - an acronym for the event's original name, "Truckers to Shut Down America" - written on their vehicle, he said.
"It's going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter," Conlon said, "[and] if cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three lane roadblock."
Zeeda Andrews, a former country music singer helping promote the protest, said last week participants would present demands to congressmen - including the impeachment of President Barack Obama - and give the congressmen an opportunity to agree to the demands in exchange for canceling the ride.
But Conlon says that's not quite right.
"We are not going to ask for impeachment," Conlon said. "We are coming whether they like it or not. We're not asking for impeachment, we're asking for the arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office."
Conlon cited the idea of a citizens grand jury - meaning a pool of jurors convened without court approval - as the mechanism for indicting the officials.
"We want these people arrested, and we're coming in with the grand jury to do it," he said. "We are going to ask the law enforcement to uphold their constitutional oath and make these arrests. If they refuse to do it, by the power of the people of the United States and the people's grand jury, they don't want to do it, we will. ... We the people will find a way."
Organizers say that 3,000 truckers have RSVP'd to participate and that they are getting 100 email inquiries a day. It's hard to imagine that many truckers being able to take time off from work, but even if only a couple of dozen truckers participate, it has the potential to be a nightmare for commuters.
Their idea of arresting congressmen isn't going to get very far - but it's an intruiging idea worthy of debate. This is especially true because the ostensible catalyst for the citizen arrests is the arming of al-Qaeda backed Syrian rebels. Most observers agree that the safeguards put in place by the CIA that would supposedly prevent arms from falling into the hands of terrorists aren't going to be 100% effective. Is that grounds for arrest if you support arming the rebels? I don't think there's a court in the entire country that would agree.
No matter. The truckers are coming and the Virginia and Maryland state police are going to have their hands full.
Update: A Hoax
Turns out I'm just as gullible as any MSM journalist.
This story is a hoax - something I should have realized despite its appearance in USA Today and several other mainstream media outlets. A lot of alarm bells went off in my head - 3,000 truckers saying they'd show up? - which I should have listened to.
It can be hard to get attention for your agenda in a town like Washington, but Georgia trucker Earl Conlon figured out a way: take the Beltway hostage.
Conlon's comments in a U.S. News & World Report story that he and thousands of truckers from across the country (and possibly Canada) planned to come to the nation's capital Friday and bring traffic to a standstill on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway zinged across the Web and were picked up by outlets ranging from Fox News to the Huffington Post. The rally was dubbed "Truckers for the Constitution."
But it is a hoax.
"The comments to U.S. News were designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir the feather of the mainstream media," said Conlon, a father of three. "Nothing gets the attention of the mainstream media like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers."
So while thousands of truckers may indeed come to Washington on Friday and many of them may travel along the inner loop of the Beltway, honking their horns, they won't intentionally shut down traffic, he said.
"First of all, we know it would not be right to go to D.C. to lock down the city by the Belt loop," said Conlon, 50, a veteran truck driver who has suffered through more than his share of traffic jams. "That wouldn't be fair to the people there."
I regret my error in judgment and promise to listen to those alarm bells next time.