And Your 2013 Villain of the Year Is… (Guest Post)

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This is the time every year where we see various “Best of…” and “Year in Review” write ups on every subject imaginable. This is done for two main reasons: 1) Most of the media folks want to take some time off around the holidays and these can be written in advance and 2) they’re usually fun to read. As I always try to do, I’m going against the grain and neither of these apply here – my posts are never fun to read! My other reason for writing this post is that I wanted to follow up on another piece I had written earlier in the year. Unfortunately it became old in the news cycle and I never got back around to writing the second part. Now as a year end post I have the perfect excuse to revive an old story!

In terms of how I picked my villain the obvious choices would be the actors who want to physically harm us – Al Queda, Hezbollah, etc. In this case I’m looking at someone who we would expect to be a friend but showed very different colors when push came to shove. I’m talking about our own government, of course. Both sides of the political spectrum have parts of the government that they generally do not like. In the case of the left, it’s pretty much the military, for reasons that are too much of a tangent to go into here. From the right, dislike is mainly directed at agencies that attack individual freedom – the EPA, NLRB, IRS, etc. In this case I’m looking at an agency that nobody would ever put at the top of a list like this – I’m talking about the National Park Service.

Let’s face it – the NPS is about as benign and nonpartisan agency as anyone could expect. Regardless of where you fall in terms of ideology almost everybody can agree that we want to have national park land and employees to maintain them. And prior to this past fall I had never witnessed, read, or heard anything negative about anything like a thuggish Park Ranger. Granted, I’m not a big outdoorsman1, so I wouldn’t have had much opportunity to deal with an overbearing Ranger while out camping or dealing with renewing a fishing license, etc. But my limited contact with them during my years as a tour guide around DC’s National Mall was never unpleasant, and as far as I saw they all interacted well with the tourists.

Of course, this all changed back in October, when I wrote about the shutdown. Specifically, I talked about how leftists’ unthinking defense of Barrycading our Memorials from visitors demonstrated that the left in this country have become a hopeless case. But there was another element to this story that was digging at me at the time and still is. If you haven’t read my original post you can do it here, but here is a quick summary of the specific incident of foreign tourists being detained at Yellowstone Park that I focused on:

“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.”

Image appears courtesy of The People’s Cube

When I saw this happening my initial reaction was simple disgust for obvious reasons. But the more I thought about it something far worse started to set in. Based on our views we all feel a certain level of mistrust and may expect to be antagonized by various agencies in the government, such as the IRS, the EPA, or even our military.2 But the Park Service? Who on Earth expects the Park Rangers to be the first to respond to the government’s call for thugs on command? And if an agency as benign as the NPS can turn on a dime and deem the citizens to be enemies of the state what agency or level of government can we trust to stand up and shout “NO!!!” when being called on to act as agents of tyranny? And I know you lefties reading this are probably just smirking and shaking your heads but keep in mind that tyranny might be fun when it’s someone you like calling the shots or when it’s targeted toward people you don’t like, but it’s foolish to think that it will never turn against you.

Mind you, I’m not going to be watching every Park Ranger I see out of the corner of my eye or anything paranoid like that, but once you lose a level of trust, it is very difficult, if not impossible to ever truly regain. So when we hear the president throw out his usual empty talk with things like

“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works,” President Obama told the kids. “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

it comes off as incredibly tone deaf and arrogant. This isn’t even to mention all of the other government scandals from this year alone. If the president wants us to reject those voices maybe he should first reject from their jobs those who are giving us a damned good reason to listen to those voices? I’ll leave you with the same words I used to close out my last post on the subject:

“There was a large group of Asians there. Not many spoke English . . . They said, ‘Are we under arrest?’ I mean, they were fearful. I mean, it looked like we were inside a prison. There were two large guards doing a walk up and down in front of the doors, so people felt like they were in prison. And the Australians said that would never happen in their country. Never never never.”

Up until a few (months) ago I would have said the same of the United States.

Follow Brother Bob on Twitter @brother_bob

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog


1. Apparently my flesh is the insect equivalent of filet mignon, and I’m not too crazy about having to immerse myself in bug repellent to go on a hike.

2. No, I don’t fear any of our branches of the US armed forces and have nothing but respect and gratitude for those who serve. But history has shown us in other nations that we should not take for granted that the military turning on us will never happen.

Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

8 Responses to “And Your 2013 Villain of the Year Is… (Guest Post)”

  1. 1


    Nice post with a surprise villain!
    Now here’s my completely unsolicited opinion of the surprisingly fascist behavior. Our Constitution was written with the understanding that all rights not specifically given to the government belongs to the individual by default. The most recent government shut down exposed the completely reverse opinion of those currently in power. The fencing off and shutting down of public park land and monuments sent a loud and clear message– that everything belongs to the government and the government must be supported or it will take away what you already paid for or earned. The idea that “public” property is only available to the public if the government allows it, and when Democrats don’t get their way they will spend more of your money (those fences and signs were not made and installed for free) to deny you access to community owned and funded entities.
    Some saw it as petulant but I saw it as an unspoken statement that Democrats believe government owns everything and only allows citizens to partake in the fruits of their labor when they obey.

  2. 3

    Dink Newcomb

    I agree with you but I want to make the point that the Fascism went way beyond their actions on public land! The tourists mentioned in Brother Bob’s article were confined to their rooms while waiting for their bus while stormtroopers assured that none escaped to take photographs from the grounds of said hotel. After the buses arrived and the tourists started their deportation into “a justified” exile to protect the park and its integrity, the buses were not allowed to stop for sanitary pit stops at concession gas stations along the route.
    Now, I understand that the hotel and stations probably sat on property leased from the government but NPS chose to incarcerate customers in their rooms and deny them access to the hotel grounds which certainly was part of their lodging. NPS made a clear effort to interfere with the “normal and peaceful” operation of the business of the lessee corporations merely to vent their spite. How is it possible that a President of the US (or at least an administration following his lead) could confine people for such idiotic and childish reasons.
    Isn’t that action the definition of kidnap?

    kid·nap verb (used with object),
    : to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom

    Where was our chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General, and why was he silent. Oh, never mind, he was too busy suing the states that want people to have picture IDs to vote and investigating George Zimmerman for racial bias (he told a group within the last two weeks that the DOJ Zimmerman persecution investigation is still open).
    And Brother Bob– yeah, Ranger Commissar Smith has tired of harassing Yogi Bear and found it much more dialectically appropriate and contemporary to turn his venom on tourists. Damn you, you Democrats!!! This is as bad as Superman killing himself by jumping out of a window! Is nothing sacred?

  3. 4

    Brother Bob


    @Dink: Here was some snark I dropped in my first post:

    My first thought about these tourists is that they should have done more homework on American culture or hired better tour guides. Had they stated that they were here to commit acts of terror or had crossed the US/Mexico border illegally looking to live here there would have been teams of ACLU lawyers swarming the hotel seeking to free them in no time! (Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here through Saturday and at Ceaser’s next week! Be sure to tip your bartenders.)

    It would be funnier if it didn’t ring so true

  4. 5

    Dink Newcomb

    @Brother Bob:
    You nailed that one! Why are we always more interested in seeing justice done for the perpetrator than the victim?

    It used to be said that the best thing that could happen to a poor country was to declare war on the US and lose! Those countries (examples: Japan, Germany and in a sense, later with S Korea) became post war overachievers with GNPs that rivaled or beat ours.

    In the grim Cold War intensity of the ’50s, there was a satiric book called “The Mouse That Roared” by the Brit author Leonard Wibberley. A benign small monarchy in post WWII Europe is struggling to survive when someone notices how well those defeated by the US are treated. They convince the Monarch of the necessity to declare war on the US and a small group sets sail for the US and well assured prosperity. This is a parody, of course, and ALL the critical characters on both sides are nincompoops on the order of Obama voters. When the “army” arrives in NYC, they don their medieval armor with bows and arrows at the ready, set out for the UN (I believe) to announce their “attack” on the US only to find the city streets deserted because of a Cold War bomb drill. Somehow, they find a secret lab instead and capture the most current “end of the world” device to the great chagrin of the US Army and the government. This, of course. devolves into them being declared the victors, rolling out a warm and fuzzy ending full of hilarity and the assurance of eternal world peace at the hands of the beloved monarch.

    The current administration is no smarter than that depicted in this book but they are far more malicious and I sincerely doubt that a modern ending would be cute, more likely earth shaking in its villainy. If you read, this is worth the time, though I read it in the early sixties and haven’t seen a copy for decades. There is also a movie adaptation from the ’60s starring Peter Sellers that pops up from time to time.

  5. 6

    Nanny G

    Years ago, just after Bush invaded Iraq, a political cartoonist pair, Cox and Forkum, created a perfect image of how a conspiracy works.
    It showed Saddam and Osama in shadow colluding while joking about being public, then in light as they burst out laughing because they knew they would never admit their partnership.
    And the world, dutifully saw no connection between the two, although, later, it had been proven over and over to have existed all the while.
    So, too with Obama’s dog whistle and the unlawful actions of so many of his government employees.
    I do believe, had it been necessary, many Park Rangers would have thrown themselves under the bus for Obama, their dear leader.
    How quickly they morphed from seemingly helpful, knowledgeable people into absolute creeps who actually were wearing brown shirts!
    It was amazing to witness.

  6. 7

    Dink Newcomb

    @Nanny G: #6

    How quickly they morphed from seemingly helpful, knowledgeable people into absolute creeps who actually were wearing brown shirts!

    That adds the spice to the punch line, doesn’t it? How could so many of those manifestly happy, well adjusted, well scrubbed, All American types have been repressing such hatred for the people they deal with for so many years? Talk about creepy, they weren’t Ranger Rick, they were much closer to the plot in the early ’50s “Invaders From Mars” where the kid sees a spaceship land and the next day realizes that almost everyone he meets is no longer the same, having taken over by the Martians (Liberals). AND, no one of those unaffected will believe him,

    That movie scared me silly and stays sharp in my mind 60 odd years later. It was so significant to me that when I was teaching myself C programming language in the mid ’80s, as a project, I wrote a video game called “Commies From Mars, The Red Planet” as an homage to it. It was certainly not scarier though than the image of instantly hybridizing Grizzly Adams with the SA like you conjured in my mind when you mentioned brown shirts Nanny G. Ugh!

    The SA was Hitler’s early, pre-SS, brown shirted thugs and bodyguards led by a sadistic homosexual named Ernst Röhm– they became a little too powerful, perhaps too fabulous and its hinted maybe just a little too wise about the Fuhrer’s sex bent, so Hitler conspired with the SS to perpetrate the “Night of the Long Knives” in which all the senior SA staff was murdered and the organization gutted. Stand by for the coming “Night of the Limp Noodles” when Obama has all park rangers drowned in Perrier so none could tell what really happened during the shutdown.

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