The national media was reporting yesterday afternoon that two people in the gallery of the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives were arrested for shouting slogans in opposition to the government healthcare takeover at the lawmakers below. What wasn't discovered until today is that the two are Western Massachusetts residents - Dave Sanders of Wilbraham and William Gunn of the town of Ware. The disruption was reported by nearly all major media but the most concise account of the incident, which included expressions of outrage from Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, appeared in the D.C. journal Roll Call:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Sunday that Republicans acted like “clowns” by egging on tea party protesters in the House gallery who were dragged out for shouting out against health care reform. A protester “stood up and started yelling, ‘kill the bill!’ … and then the Republicans started cheering him on,”
Frank vented to reporters after the incident. “You have dozens of Republicans standing and applauding and cheering on a guy who was disrupting the proceedings and resisting court officers. It’s really disgraceful.” Although Frank referred to only a single protester, Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider later said two men were arrested in the incident. William Gunn and David Sanders, both from Massachusetts, were charged with disruption of Congress, Schneider said.
Rowdy tea party protesters have flooded the Capitol grounds in recent days to oppose health care reform; group organizers on Sunday were encouraging attendees at a rally to get gallery passes and bring their message directly to lawmakers.
A visit to the website of the activist organization to which both activists belong The Western Mass 912 Group shows photographs of both of the men who were arrested yesterday in the Capitol. Here is Sanders of Wilbraham:
This is William Gunn and presumably a young Gunn.
Gunn looks familiar to me. I suspect this is him waving a "Don't Tread on Me" flag outside of the appearance of Barney Frank at UMass recently.
If so it would be ironic that it was Frank who would later denounce him and Sanders in the national media.
Both the Western Mass teapartiers have been released from custody and are back in the area and posting on the 912 Group website, where they are receiving mostly congratulatory messages from supporters. Most of the comments reflect the sentiment that their act of civil disobedience was justified, as in the spirit of this one quote by Orwell that someone posted:
"Speaking the truth during times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell
To read all the comments click here.
No, I did not go to the big parade yesterday in Holyoke, but the ever intrepid Kristen Beam did and here are a few of her snaps.
Naturally the media was out in full force, but this time they were also participants, not just observers. Of course if you want good weather for the parade invite the weathermen to march! Here are the Channel 22 folks Ryan Walsh, Brian Lapis and Adam Strzempko.
Dave Madsen and Eric Fisher of TV40.
Springfield Mayor Dom Sarno and his police department.
The rock star himself, Senator Scott Brown.
Representative Humason and Westfield Mayor Knapik.
When the crowds left, only the trash remained.
The Music Section
Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.