From the Newbury Port News:
‘Gestapo’ tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone
NEWBURYPORT — 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.
Welcome to Obama’s America.
“We’ve 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, ‘we’re 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 Vaillancourt’s — 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 couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “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 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.”
HotAir has a few more comments on it here, as the story continues to get worse.
There are other individual anecdotal stories around the web, and those contacting locals have seen that the Park Service is every bit as harsh as they are portrayed.
In my neck of the woods, a large National Recreation Area has been closed, and park police patrols have been upped, and park law enforcement is taking a more visible, aggressive stance. Not a useful stance, either, as the only people being kept out are US citizens. Illegal aliens are still crossing through National Parks and Recreation Areas. Park service isn’t there to stop them, just you.
On a lighter note, yes, it’s fun to poke fun at the Obama administration by using the same imagery thrown at Bush. I don’t remember Bush ever having his minions stuff old people into the Old Faithful Inn at gunpoint, though, so I’m going to go with this being warranted.
On the darker note, this does indicate that civil servants are now being used as tools of oppression against the citizenry. As Allahpundit notes at HA, it’s very telling that the foreign visitors thought they were under arrest… which realistically, they were.