Suspect detained over ‘extremist’ bumper sticker
‘Don’t Tread on Me’ puts driver in ‘watch’ category in DHS report
Posted: May 07, 2009
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
A Louisiana driver was stopped and detained for having a "Don’t Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his vehicle and warned by a police officer about the "subversive" message it sent, according to the driver’s relative.
The situation developed in the small town of Ball, La., where a receptionist at the police department told WND she knew nothing about the traffic stop, during which the "suspect" was investigated for "extremist" activities, the relative said.
A man identifying himself as a police officer from Ball called WND later to report that the town’s records of traffic stops did not include this situation. He suggested it might have involved one of several other agencies that work in the area.
It followed by only a few weeks the release of a Department of Homeland Security report, "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment", which prompted outrage from legislators and a campaign calling for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The report, which cites individuals who sport certain bumper stickers on their vehicles as suspect, was delivered to tens of thousands of local law enforcement officers across the nation.
WND is withholding the driver’s name and the relative’s name at their request.
However, the situation was described on the American Vision blog.
According to the relative, it happened this way: Her brother-in-law was driving home from work through the town, which has a local reputation for enhancing its budget by ticketing speeders. He was pulled over by police officers who told him "he had a subversive survivalist bumper sticker on his car."
"They proceeded to keep him there on the side of the road while they ran whatever they do to see if you have a record, keeping him standing by the side of the road for 30 minutes," she told WND.
Finding no record and no reason to keep him, they warned him and eventually let him go, she said.
The company that sells the bumper sticker is The Patriot Depot, where Chief Operating Officer Jay Taylor told WND the woman had told his staff about the situation while ordering more bumper stickers.
"It’s rather shocking," he said. "We supposedly have freedom of speech in our country.
"We joke around every now and then how our spouses will come to visit us in jail," he continued, citing his products that say, "The Audacity of Nope," "Taxed Enough Already," "Born Free, Taxed to Death," "Bring Home Our Troops: Send the Democrats" and "I’ll Keep my Guns and Money, You Keep the ‘Change’."
"We hope people realize this is serious," he said.
American Vision noted the "background check" that was done on the driver.
The commentator wrote, "The bumper sticker is based on the famous flag designed by American Revolution era general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. The yellow flag featured a coiled diamondback rattlesnake ready to strike, with the slogan ‘Don’t Tread on Me!’ underneath it. Benjamin Franklin helped make the rattlesnake a symbol of Americans’ reluctance to quarrel but vigilance and resolve in defense of their rights. By 1775 when Gadsden presented his flag to the commander-in-chief of the Navy, the rattlesnake was a symbol of the colonies and of their need to unite in defense of threats to their God-given and inherited rights. The flag and the bumper sticker symbolize American patriotism, the need to defend Americans’ rights, and resistance to tyranny’s threats to American liberty. Those threats included-and include-illegal taxation, profanation of Americans’ rights, and violation of the fundamental principles of American law."
American Vision continued: "The notorious Department of Homeland Security memo, which was apparently based on the infamous Missouri State Police Report that described supporters of presidential candidates Bob Barr, Ron Paul, and Chuck Baldwin as ‘militia’-type potential extremists and potential terrorists, is not the first effort of leftist radicals to slander their political opponents as ‘extremists.’"
"’Liberals’ and other leftists have been calling defenders of traditional American limited, constitutional government, free enterprise, and individual liberty ‘extremists’ since at least the 1964 election," the Vision America statement said. "Small town police misled by phony left wing ‘reports’ are bad enough. Federal government agencies and their armed agents under the direction of leftist radicals are exponentially worse."
WND reported earlier on the DHS report, which advised about the "extremism" that could be expected from returning veterans, those who support homeschooling and oppose abortion, post certain bumper stickers on their vehicles and other factors.
The DHS not only issued that report, but also an earlier memo defining dozens of groups, members of animal rights organizations, black separatists, tax protesters and others as "threats."
That item, the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" reportedly was rescinded almost immediately, but Benjamin Sarlin of The Daily Beast recently obtained and published online a copy of the unclassified memo, dated March 26, 2009.
It defines the "tax resistance movement" – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as "groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified."
It states that tax protesters "have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals."
Apparently, the DHS analyzes the "threat" level of Internet news websites like WorldNetDaily, for the lexicon defines "alternative media" as "a term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets."
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