Skip to comments.'Gestapo' tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone
Posted on 10/08/2013 11:24:37 AM PDT by llevrok
Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of Americas 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.
Weve become a country of fear, guns and control, said Vaillancourt, who grew up in Lawrence. It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, were sorry, it was all like as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.
Vaillancourt took part in a nine-day tour of western parks and sites along with about four dozen senior citizen tourists. One of the highlights of the tour was to be Yellowstone, where they arrived just as the shutdown went into effect.
Rangers systematically sent visitors out of the park, though some groups that had hotel reservations such as Vaillancourts were allowed to stay for two days. Those two days started out on a sour note, she said.
The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldnt recreate. The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors werent recreating, just taking photos.
She responded and said, Sir, you are recreating, and her tone became very aggressive, Vaillancourt said.
The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the parks premier lodge located adjacent to the parks 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 cant 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.
By Oct. 3 the park, which sees an average of 4,500 visitors a day, was nearly empty. The remaining hotel visitors were required to leave.
As the bus made its 2.5-hour journey out of Yellowstone, the tour guide made arrangements to stop at a full-service bathroom at an in-park dude ranch he had done business with in the past. Though the bus had its own small bathroom, Vaillancourt said seniors were looking for a more comfortable place to stop. But no stop was made Vaillancourt said the dude ranch had been warned that its license to operate would be revoked if it allowed the bus to stop. So the bus continued on to Livingston, Mont., a gateway city to the park.
The bus trip made headlines in Livingston, where the local newspaper Livingston Enterprise interviewed the tour guide, Gordon Hodgson, who accused the park service of Gestapo tactics.
The national parks belong to the people, he told the Enterprise. This isnt right.
Calls to Yellowstones communications office were not returned, as most of the personnel have been furloughed.
Many of the foreign visitors were shocked and dismayed by what had happened and how they were treated, Vaillancourt said.
A lot of people who were foreign said they wouldnt come back (to America), she said.
The National Parks aggressive actions have spawned significant criticism in western states. Governors in park-rich states such as Arizona have been thwarted in their efforts to fund partial reopenings of parks. The Washington Times quoted an unnamed Park Service official who said park law enforcement personnel were instructed to make life as difficult for people as we can. Its disgusting.
The experience brought up many feelings in Vaillancourt. What struck her most was a widely circulated story about a group of World War II veterans who were on a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II memorial when the shutdown began. The memorial was barricaded and guards were posted, but the vets pushed their way in.
That reminded her of her father, a World War II veteran who spent three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
My father took a lot of crap from the Japanese, she recalled, her eyes welling with tears. Every day they made him bow to the Japanese flag. But he stood up to them.
He always said to stand up for what you believe in, and dont let them push you around, she said, adding she was sad to see fear, guns and control turned on citizens in her own country.
Just follow orders Mr. Park Ranger.
You know it has gone bad when the most dangerous wild animals in Yellowstone are the Park Rangers.
unlawful imprisonment I say
were they going to shoot someone who tried to leave that hotel and walk out the door under God’s sky? Or is stargazing controlled by Obama?
“only following orders”
hmm, I think that defense argument has failed in the past
Public servants no longer respect the taxpayers who pay them.
Can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd
Obama order NPS personnel to enforce “no fun” order with ARMED FORCE
and they comply
Sad story. Just another day in Obama’s America
calling Yogi and Boo Boo
Time to arm bears
When it comes to people with badges, the us vs. them mentality is on full display these last few days. If the situation grows worse, they will still be, ‘just following orders.’
just following orders.
If it ever gets “worse” and the SHTF you will see those words being used over and over again. You are so right.
This will not end well, I fear.
I used to respect the so-called public servants. Not any more. Now they have to prove themselves worthy of my respect. I’m convinced those jerks from the GSA and IRS scandals are the rule, not the exception. That’s the attitude they get from being lavishly overpaid to do a job that contributes no value.
Once all those old timers with walkers get a head of steam up, it's a stampede! A slow one, but a stampede none the less....
Most park rangers I’ve had contact with were rather weird.
Held by armed guards in a Yellowstone hotel...where the heck is the ACLU? Now we know where some of those mass purchases of weapons and ammunition by the government went.
> America is now a dictatorship under King Obama.
The most vocal people I know are still blaming the “Republican-controlled House”.
If they would give Il Duce 0bamarx what it wants, then Il Duce would not have to use a show of force against tourists and veterans.
It’s the Republicans’ fault.
They’ve forced Il Duce’s hand.
Clint! I retired from the NPS in 1986. Now I’m ashamed to tell people I worked there. :-(
That's because under leftism, a view held by a minority that has cajoled and cheated and manipulated its way into elected office in both parties, government is the Nanny. The Parent. The Authority.
What party advances the view that government is and will remain a servant? That's the one I want to vote for.
You were “old school”
which appears to have been pretty much dismantled to be replaced by a Daycare Center....built to resemble...a KENYAN HUT
I thought he already did shut it down.
there are funerals schedule for the next few days,,according to the website
should he be FOOLISH enough to try to shut it down I do believe all hell would most certainly break out.
Only for internements. Everything else is closed b/c of shutdown - even the tram.
Leftists think of the outdoors as their church- those old folks were disrupting worship of Gaia.
Thank you for posting this article. I saw it earlier and was going to post it here later if no one had posted it in the meantime.
My old tagline is gone: For the first time in in a long time I am proud of my country.
New tagline: For the first time ever I am not proud of my country.
And I am especially disgusted by our politicians.
It’s dismaying how readily our public employees have allowed themselves to be transformed into Obama’s Personal Gestapo.
It bodes ill for the proposition that our military would NOT follow right along with Obama’s plans in goose step fashion.
should he be FOOLISH enough to try to shut it down I do believe all hell would most certainly break out.
Obama is taking advantage of the shutdown to determine which Federal employees are willing to follow orders and which are grumbling or resistant (personnel evaluation forms will be issued to supervisors at all involved agencies).
On top of that, this is great opportunity to probe the defenses (read: sensitivity) of the American citizens...i.e. just how compliant are the American citizens and where and who are those who are most resistant to authoritarian rule.
You can bet that a database is being compiled of both Federal employees and citizens indicating who is compliant and who will make trouble
How long have the Park Rangers been planning these tactics? That is what I would like to know.
Payback’s gonna be a bitch.
any federal employee who acts in the manner described needs to be identified and dealt with later whenever the Republicans get control. Federal employees are to be servants of the people, not wardens.
Weve become a country of fear, guns and control, said Vaillancourt, who grew up in Lawrence. It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, were sorry, it was all like as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.”
Just imagine how punitive they can be if they win this battle and can cause pain by withholding medical care! You ain’t seen nothin yet!
Being seen as the enemy doesn't bother me at all. I can fight back; force them to arrest me and demand a jury trial.
The arrogance of considering me worse than if we were their employees, rather than the employer, rings just too close to
"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
"Just doing my job" is the indictment necessary in their own words. I hope they resort to that.
The Federal Government has declared war on the People. Let’s face reality folks.
They are following orders, just like Hitler’s minions.
Minion: a servile dependent, follower, or underling: a subordinate or petty official
I suppose it's too much to expect, but I hope the tourists took lots of photographs of the Obama Hoods in action, and eventually will share them with an embarrassed American citizenry.
What are the odds of creating a website where hundreds of thousands of Americans can apologize to all the foreign guests?
We could forward a copy with a couple of thousand signatures to the Tour Bus company to share with their victims, and a link to a web site for the remaining signatures. But not all the passengers on that bus were foreign guests. We have to assume the Americans aboard were the elderly, perhaps even Obama voters. That they meekly accepted the antics of the Obama goons is just as embarrassing.
I wish there were some way I could write, personally, a sincere apology to every foreign tourist on that bus, apologizing for our incompetent president, and his growing armed army of goons.
Suppose they opened all the Parks and beaches on federal land...
...and nobody came?
I will never again go to a national Park or beach. The temptation to kick the Obamagoon where it hurts would be too overwhelming.
And those that do not should be fired.
If you ever want to escape the People’s Republic of Memphis, come live in sanity with us in Williamson County. And don’t forget to add the RINO Gov. Haslam in your profile! ;-)
How about the Socialist-controlled Executive and Senate?
The House can't 'shut Government down." Only the Executive can do that.
And CRs(Continuing resolutions) would not be necessary, if the Socialist-controlled Executive and Senate had allowed the budgets of the last 5 years to be passed, according to law. A Budget by date certain is the law.
As the "jabba the Hutt" on Fox's The Five loves to say, "Obamacare is the Law!"
So is passing a budget on time!
The difference is, considering how Obamacare was "passed," its legality is still debatable.
They got the road cleared but most picnic areas were down and the one they opened was so packed it was impossible to get a spot. We drove around to find another and saw a large space that was empty. It was for overnight camping but had plenty of tables. We stopped and started taking our stuff out. A park ranger came up to us and said he had to leave because we weren't “camping”.
I asked how much was the camping permit ($10) and I'd pay it. He said no, we had to actually camp and to picnic we needed to go to those areas. I said, they are closed and no one is here.
His response? “I don't care”. Frankly he's lucky he's still alive. Before we left both my wife and I gave him a tongue lashing and he threatened to call “the police”. I said, “please do, they might not be as STUPID as you, you overpaid piece of $%$$#^*_P(*(*(U)*UT#E#E%!!!!”
Lost all respect for NPS after that.
And those that do not should be fired.If you ever want to escape the Peoples Republic of Memphis, come live in sanity with us in Williamson County. And dont forget to add the RINO Gov. Haslam in your profile! ;-)
Unfortunately a physical disability & family support prevents me from leaving the peoples republic(like the phrase!) of Memphis.
I did hear Haslam’s response to the shutdown. It didn’t surprise me...another Lamar Alexander Republican.
They’re no less arrogant than any other FedGov drone.
The states need to seize the National Parks from FedGov.
I always thought that state land seized by the feds for “National parks” was a bad idea. Didn’t teddy r start this?
Why would you let the fed own part of your state?