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

Posted by: Phineas on October 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"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 Public Secrets)

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


  1. ALman says:

    I noticed that Brenda Barton, an Arizona state representative, compared Mr. Stompy Foot to Hitler. I wondered, at the time, what this suggested about the NPS. Now I know. Parks and memorials are being closed, yet it seems to me that more than a few eyes are being opened!

  2. Carlos says:

    “Mr. Stompy Foot” insists there is nothing special about this nation, and that we have, overall, been a worse nation than any other nation in history.

    And he’s out to prove it. Sadly, he IS turning it into one of the lesser nations today, an embarrassment to any who love this country (in spite of the public indoctrination centers’ best efforts to teach mushminds differently) and hopefully will push the public far enough that they demand his resignation or impeachment.

  3. Andrew sloan says:

    is it not true that in 1946/47 after
    Nurenberg that”just following order” was not a defence against crimes Comitted by following them .laws enacted by the good old u s of a.is the usa bypassing monarchy starting at republicanism not passing go before getting to empire status.just a thought.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    As if any further proof were needed as to how much Obhammud hates this country, this should fill the bill. Mark Steyn is only partially right; the WWII memorial exists because of the heroes to whom it is dedicated. Otherwise we would all be speaking Japanese west of the Mississippi and German east of it.

    The tourists got a first-hand look at the reasons for the worldwide ridicule, enmity, and snarky schadenfreude the rest of the world feels toward us.

  5. ALman says:

    “Here’s How the Owner of a Private Inn Barricaded by Park Rangers Amid ‘Government Shutdown’ Is Responding”


    When asked what the Park Rangers barricading the entrances to his business have to say, O’Connell responded: “The Rangers are my friends. I know them all. And they’re basically telling me they’re following orders, they have no choice but to follow orders, and I understand that. I really don’t expect them to risk their jobs, their retirement, their paychecks.”

    I wonder how far these enforcers would be willing to go? I wonder how far I would be willing to go before I said, “No!”? Because this is how it unfolds as you who remember your history very well know. Small steps, then larger and still larger ones until it’s too late.

    Michelle Malkin’s site has a picture of a “barry”cade with it wired shut. We ought to very well remember it next year. And, when candidates for office present themselves for re-election, the very first question to be asked, “What did you do and how did you speak about this?”

    There needs to be a call for a National Memorials and Parks Day. Anybody and everybody ought to turn out at one of these, especially “barry”cadded ones. And, it might sound trite, but bring along some hand bells and “Let Freedom Ring!”

  6. Carlos says:

    It occurs to me that the “Hogan’s Heroes” “analogy” is very apropos. The emperor fits very well in the role of Klink, and, of course, Slo Joe would fit extremely well as the one who always responds by repeating “I know NOTHING!!!!”

  7. Tass says:

    So, did the feds ever figure out where the cut-off valve was for Old Faithful? Can’t have it just erupting willy-nilly in the middle of a shutdown, now can we?

  8. Carlos says:

    This is turning out to be the REAL “Occupy America,” and the longer it goes on, and the more that real, patriotic, law-abiding citizens show the would-be king who really owns the land, the more tantrums he and his minions and jack-off buddies like Punch-bag Dingy will throw, until only the most racist of Americans see just what kind of a putrid, spoiled child-thug he really is.

    The Democraps should be embarrassed enough to hide in a hole until this blows over, but they have only the shame of guilt for and America that made what we consider mistakes now but were perfectly acceptable (in most cases) in the context of the times they occurred. Otherwise, they have no shame.