Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Albany Trip & Protest of the NY SAFE Act

There were we, Brendan and I, bit up at 0400, out of the house by 0440, and at the Long Island Firearms' bus pick-up location by 0510. The bus, and the 50 or so LIF members, had been scheduled to depart to Albany at 0500 but did not leave until at least 0520, maybe even 0530. The ride up was uneventful but this time someone had thought of bringing some DVDs and that made it go somewhat quicker, for some, I suppose. I did not pay much attention to the movies on the way up. I read most of the book I had with me: Worms Eat My Garbage. (I may now have to try composting indoors in a worm bin.)
When we got there, we parked right across from the square that sits between four government buildings, one of them being the state capital. We were parked next to the legislature building. We debarked the bus there although, as I already had been aware from the LIF forums, we were not supposed to do that. No one seemed to care all that much. Once off the bus, I asked the guy who had been assigned as 'bus monitor', or whatever, what we were going to do next. He said there was no plan! I asked what about what had be written up on the LIF forums about us going into the legislature building, in mass, to voice our protest and what about the 1100 pep rally that was supposed to be followed by the mass protest in the square at noon. He said there was no pep rally scheduled fr 1100 and knew noting about any inside mass protest but we could go inside if we wanted to do so. He also said there would be a protest rally at noon in the square/park. Hell, it was around 0945 or so maybe a bit earlier. It would be a bit o a wait until noon, especially in the light rain that was falling. The bus captain told us to be back at the same spot, where we got off of the bus, at 2PM to board and head home. This despite he event being planned to last until 3PM. Since we had been told that the events would go from 10AM until 1230PM, this was quite the change but we voted on it on the bus and most, if not all, agreed to stay later.
Then, some guy in a red baseball type cap comes along and starts telling everyone what was going to be the agenda for the day. He explained the bus could not stay where it was and was supposed to have dropped us off around the block at the bus staging area, the park in another area. H also said the bus would pick us up at that same staging area. (We were told there were 117 busloads of people slated to arrive for the protest, all pro-2nd Amendment folks, plus all those who drove in their own vehicles.) Then he told us that the beginning of our day should be to go into the legislature building and see our legislators if we had appointments. I tried, by sending an email to mine, three weeks ago, for n appointment.His office replied to my email on Thursday, day before the protest, very late in the afternoon, after 4PM. He told me to give them a call during business hours to arrange it. The thing was it was already too late in the day by the time I got to the email. Clever legislator, isn't he. He voted for the SAFE Act, frigging RINO.
The guy in the red cap said, even if we did not have an appointment, we could go inside and ask to see our legislators. I asked about the 'in mass' inside protest; he said none was planned. Then he said that there were about 1,000 folks waiting on line to clear the six magnetometers they had at the entrances and the lines were in essence frozen. Brendan and I looked at on line and though of waiting on it for all of a minute or two. It was not moving at all as we walked toward it, not moving while we waited on it a minute or two, and not moving as we walked away from it. Well, that is to say not moving forward, a couple of people on it got off of it complaining about the long wait. We took a walk, then got out of the rain in a local diner and got some hot coffee and hot tea.
After that, we took another shot walk, Brendan's tendinitis was acting up a bit so we did not go far. Then back to the park/square where we listened to the speakers in the pep rally that started a bit earlier than 1100; yes the pep rally we ha been told would not take place. I am going to guess that there were already about double the people hat had been at the previous rally, in Albany, in January that Brendan and I also attended. My guess is at least 4,000 folks by that time and more were arriving continuously for the next hour or more. I will go out on a limb and give a guesstimate that there wound up being about 6,000 to 7,000 people there - all pro-2nd Amendment protesters. There were zero Brady Campaign types, at least none that made themselves obvious that I saw. We were told to beware of them as they were supposedly coming to the event to cause a stir by getting in our faces and getting us to lose our tempers. More misinformation from the LIF forums but such are forums - open to any arsehat who wants to start rumors.
The protest was much the same as the first except for the quality of the speakers. There were a good number of speakers (people giving their slants on their opposition to the NY SAFE Act) but the audio equipment was worse than the first time around and it was extremely difficult o understand much of what many of them were saying. As for the ones I heard, the speakers giving their spiels, they were not as convincing (in my mind) as they had been back in January. They did not fire up the crowd and where as much as they had done so back then. This was not the fault of the crowd because when a speaker called for them to chant USA - USA - USA, I think it must have it reverberated throughout all of downtown Albany - it was loud. Same for a few other chants, but the speakers did not call for as much of that as the first time around. Oh well, they were saying what they had to say I suppose.
Much like the first protest in January, there was extremely little media coverage for this event. That is true even though the amount of news vans at this event was double that of the amount in January. In January, there was a single news van that was evident This event had 2 media vans. Could you imagine if the protest had been anti-gun folks; there likely would have been at least 10 media vans. As for reporters, I saw two of them, each with a cameraman. I also saw one other cameraman walking around videoing the event. We had a member of the press on our bus with us too. I saw no other media personnel at the event. I will admit, I saw a small article, fairly far back in the page count, of the New York Daily News today (that is a NYC Newspaper, very liberal - ultra liberal in my view).
At the protest, their were a lot of great signs. I will try to get the pics off of my cell phone, having some problems right now but ill post them if I can get that done. As for the people at the event: The protesters were mainly males but there was a large number of females there too. I would estimate about a 60/40 to 70/30 split. While my guess would be that most folks there were 35 or older, there was a good number of younger folks too. That was good to see. As for racial makeup, most of the protesters were Caucasian, followed by Asians, with a smattering of others. That is a shame because the 2nd Amendment protects the right and liberty to keep and bear arms for all of us regardless of race, creed, gender and so forth. Then there was the police presence. I am going to guess there were at least 40 uniformed NY State Troopers. There were also a fair number of Albany Police officers. In all, I figure, there had to be at least 60 uniformed officers at the main event. That was not including plain clothes officers who were certainly there, also at the main event, quite a few of them were obvious. As for uniformed police, there were about four times as many than at the protest in January. This time around the protest was held on a weekday when the legislators were in session and I am sure they demanded the extra protection. Protection from what or whom, I cannot imagine because the crowd was civil, well mannered, respectful and courteous. We are responsible gun owners and not skells. We are very unlike those at an Occupy Wall Street event.
At about 145 PM, I noticed that the crowd was thinning rapidly and I suggested to Brendan that we head over to wait for the bus. We moved across the street and watched the event from there while we waited for the bus. We also watched as hundreds and hundreds of people departed the area and then we realized that the crowd must have been huge because back in January, once the crowd had started to leave, the park/square was obviously not crowded in virtually no time. This time around, there was still a huge crowd remaining even though we watched people leaving, in droves, from just before 2PM until about 3PM. Close to 3PM, our bus driver called the bus captain telling him he was being prevented, by the police, from leaving the bus parking area but figured he would soon be able to pick us up where we were waiting. As we waited, a State Trooper approached the group, telling us we could not wait for our bus where we were waiting. he said we had to go around the block to the bus staging area. The bus captain, Terry, called the driver to let him know he had to meet us at the staging area. Things just kept changing, it was a tiny bit disoRgAnAzized! We went to the staging area and the bus met us there about five or ten minutes later. We boarded and were soon headed home.

As on the way up, we made one pit stop on the way home. That was a bit of a delay due to three LIF members taking unduly long inside the concession area. No one made the speech we received the first time around about getting into the rest area, getting what we wanted to eat and then getting on the bus with it, and to eat on the bus and not while at the rest area. That probably added at least an extra 15 minutes to the rest stop. On the way home, I finished my book and then watched the third movie of the trip  Full Metal jacket - great flick. When we finally got to the bus drop-off area on Long Island, no one had already collected a tip for the bus driver. Someone mentioned it to the bus captain but most people were already off of the bus. I threw the driver $10 for me and Brendan. He deserved it and I saw the bus captain hand him something too. I hope that it all did not come out of just his pocket.

Oh well, I have to hand it to the LIF, they got us there in one piece and got us all back home again likewise; a hat tip to the bus driver as well in that regard. I imagine it is no easy task organizing a bus trip like this and coordinating with all the other groups so as to have everything work out as planned. I have to admit, despite my mentioning some minor uncoordinated things, the LIF bus trip went very well and all seemed to have a good time while standing up for the rights of all Americans (as in country not continents). My thanks to Steve the LIF Administrator (he is The Architect on the LIF forums) and to Terry (our bus captain) and to all the other members who went on the trip to try to have the NY SAFE Act repealed and to protect our right and liberty to keep and bear arms without infringement. Everyone in the group was very nice during the ride there and back and all were respectful while at the protest. I also have to give a special thank you to the young red headed lady who was sitting across the aisle from me on the bus. The Oatmeal Raisin cookie she gave me was excellent and made the ride home all that much more enjoyable!

The only thing that could make this trip wind up being more enjoyable, after the fact, will be if the NY SAFE Act is repealed.

All the best,
Glenn B