“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” Vaillancourt told the Daily News. “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.
When the tour was ordered to leave the park — a ride of more than two hours — the bus was unable to stop to use the bathroom facilities of a private dude ranch located within the park. The ranch owner had been warned his license to operate would be revoked if he allowed the bus to stop.
The tour bus made its way to Livingston, Mont., at the gateway to the park. There, tour guide Gordon Hodgson decried the park service’s “Gestapo tactics.”
“The national parks belong to the people,” he told the Livingston Enterprise newspaper. “This isn’t right.”
Similar tactics have been on display across the country. Rangers have barricaded roads and blocked access to the Gettysburg National Military Park, a collection of open-air monuments along largely public roads on the Civil War battlefield. They have blocked highway pullovers that allow views of Mount Rushmore and they have barred veterans from visiting open-air war memorials on the National Mall. Curiously, the Mall will be open for a rally in support of immigration reform, a cause dear to the Obama administration.
In Newbury, Mass., the gates to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge have been locked, keeping visitors from walking along the beach without federal supervision.
Visitors to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire are still allowed to look at the turning leaves. But 22 privately run campgrounds on federal land have been ordered closed by the Forest Service.
Our leaders have made it clear that Americans must be made to pay for their insolence. We hope our fellow Americans will remember this bitter lesson at their next visit to the ballot box.