Boadicea's post over at Come and Take it struck me as blaming the good guy. So I contacted Texas State Representative Lon Burnham myself regarding the Cindy Sheehan protest in Crawford. Some things I read yesterday about him “passing warnings” to the Sheehan protestors about possible arrest tomorrow did not strike me as reasonable.
Lon is the only Texas Representative to have stood up and spoken against the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq two years ago. He is Director of the Dallas Peace Commission. His brother was illegally arrested two years ago in Dallas during a demonstration, and only found not guilty this last March. Lon was told by one juror that it was difficult to acquit his brother because the Jury had to decide that the police were lying on the stand. [Yeah, welcome to Dallas - or Texas for that matter.]
Lon pointed out that he knows Karl Rove and the Bush people. They do not like the kind of media exposure that Cindy Sheehan is creating, and this is Texas. It is my opinion that the illegal activities of the New York City Police during the Republican National Convention were mild compared to what they will dare to here in Texas. Lon agreed with me.
He is also on a law enforcement committee in the House of Representatives, and has spoken to law enforcement at both the state and in McLellan County trying to let them know they are being watched. He wants to be sure that Cindy Sheehan and her supporters are provided with their first amendment rights.
There is a special situation coming up. There is going to be a motorcade pass through that area Thursday evening or Friday morning, and Lon is concerned, with what he knows of Rove and Bush, that there may be illegal arrests of demonstrators in advance of that motorcade.
Since Lon has experience with demonstrations in Texas, he is concerned that people who go there are prepared to be arrested. There is no official warning of arrests Thursday (as of 10:30 AM CDT as far as we know), but Lon Burnham knows Bush and Rove and he knows Texas law enforcement. His earlier statements were on the line of telling someone who is getting close to a scorpion about the nature of scorpions and advising them to be prepared for typical scorpion behavior. [The "scorpion" characterization is mine, not Lons.]
The Texas House is in special session right now, and he has not been able to break free to visit the demonstration. I think he was concerned that a lot of people would just hear about the demonstration, decide to attend, and show up without being ready for what they might be walking into. It is clear that his experience and his position as an elected official could be of great use of trouble occurs in Crawford, but with the House in special session he hasn’t been able to get free.
So that is the story as I have gotten it.
If anyone has a good checklist for what to take to a demonstration, it would be good to post it. I've never been to one before, either. What is normal Bail? What do you take for tear gas protection?