Y2K Expo Causes Controversy [Welcome to Illinois]greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Chicago Tribune[For educational / research purposes only]
ROSEMONT MAYOR REELS OVER VISIT BY WHITE SEPARATIST
September 10, 1999
Rosemont Mayor and political powerhouse Don Stephens has spent a career trying to build his suburb near O'Hare into a family-friendly entertainment and convention mecca. So he was surprised and angered to learn late this week that the village he has so fervently nurtured is hosting a convention featuring renowned white separatist Randy Weaver.
Weaver is scheduled to speak at the Rosemont Convention Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday--all three days--at a gathering billed as the "Y2K Preparedness Expo."
Weaver was a longtime associate of some of the most notorious anti-Semitic and white supremacist organizations in the country--including the Idaho-based Aryan Nations neo-Nazi group. But virtually nobody had heard of him until 1992 when an FBI siege at his Ruby Ridge cabin left his wife and a son dead, shot by the FBI.
The shootings and subsequent allegations of a government cover-up propelled Weaver into a special heroic status among hate groups and anti-government groups. He is particularly in demand now that the government role in the deaths of the Branch Davidians at Waco is again in question.
Rosemont lawyers told Stephens that free speech guarantees of the 1st Amendment mean that the mayor couldn't cancel the convention (his first choice) or ban Weaver from speaking (his second).
Stephens' Jewish friends pointed out that the timing of the three-day Weaver appearance was particularly hurtful because it coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that begins at sundown Friday.
All the mayor could do was to order increased security at the convention center--and make it clear that the convention organizers must foot the bill.
-- Deborah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999
BTW For the record, I am not a 'white separatist'. My friends are quite a diverse group. Racially, spiritually, ethically, blah blah.
But this incident really bothers me. The lawyers know that legally they cannot cancel, so they are going to ream the expo with a huge 'security bill'. IMO that is completely unethical.
I'm fairly certain this is just politics with a capital P , but it reinforces a damaging stereotype of y2k preppers. Preppers who may themselves not be able to identify with 'white separatists'.
Rant off, thanks for listening.
-- Deborah (email@example.com), September 11, 1999.
Why aren't you upset that a Y2K preparedness expo is featuring an exponent of racial hatred? What can such a person possibly contribute to Y2K, other than to discredit the organizers?
It is difficult to get people to take Y2K seriously when it is always mentioned in the same breath with the lunatic fringe.
-- kermit (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999.
The "racist/separatist" line about Randy Weaver is pure bull. It's hype that has been used at most of the preparedness shows. In some ways it brings more crowds (opposite of what the papers and elite fearmonger marketers wish), but UNFORTUNATLY is stears away GOOD PEOPLE who fall for and believe the propaganda.
I am not anti-semite or a pro-whitie, I've met Randy and he has a story to tell that is pretty sad (wife and baby shot by FBI for?).
Huge crowds have rallied for Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Ollie North, etc. and since their sh*t does not stink, they are good guys? How many innocent people have Bush and Clinton killed for peace? Or was it oil or diversion or to push more bombs and killing machines. Snobery is rampant and unless you know both sides of the story, with as much honest facts as possible, can you know what is really true.
Perparedness Shows have been all across the USA and the press and newspapers go straight to the Gas-Mask and Blow-gun or rare, real kook's booth, take pictures, get soundbites and that's the kind of story that ends up in the papers (with a possible, "oh, by the way, the show has food-storage and preparedness items"). Controversey (spelling?) sells papers and truth is rare when it comes to things that are truely important to man/woman kind.
-- dw (email@example.com), September 11, 1999.
I have heard Weaver on shortwave. He has said that he has repented of his white supremacist ways. Whether or not you believe him is up to you. However this is what he has said.
Louis Farrakhan has not repented of his antisemitic and antiwhite views. Yet he is an honored speaker all over the country, and he has vastly more influence in America than Randy Weaver, who was deliberately set up BECAUSE of his views, his wife and son murdered, and then went to court and actually WON a major lawsuit against the government. He has been completely exonerated by the system. The sniper who killed his wife (it was never established who shot the boy) Lon Horiuchi, kept his job and was later head of the FBI sniper team at Waco.
I find racist views abhorrent as anyone else, Yet you can't distinguish arbitrarily between one racist and another, and whether we like it or not they both deserve First Amendment protections.
-- Forrest Covington (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999.
-- Gia (email@example.com), September 11, 1999.
Actually kermit, I am upset by that. Notice I said: it reinforces a damaging stereotype of y2k preppers. Preppers who may themselves not be able to identify with 'white separatists'.
I am not the most gifted of writers, please forgive me if I was not clear.
I agree with your post!
I may not like the fact that Randy is a scheduled speaker at that show, but he is still free to speak, but they are basically issuing a steep fine for allowing him to do so. That is so wrong.
America is dead.
You are free to speak, if you can afford the bill.
-- Deborah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999.
Forrest hit the balance. If Randy Weaver says he has changed, shouldn't we withhold judgement? If not, aren't we guilty of what we are judging him for?
The original message dealt with the injustice of making citizens pay for their right to free speech. Where are the lawyers when you need them?
-- Mumsie (Shezdremn@aol.com), September 11, 1999.
I'm just wondering what the name of the hate group is that hates white separtists
-- Susan (email@example.com), September 11, 1999.
Susan, I believe you wuold be talking about S.H.A.R.P. SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice. I have a friend who used to be a member, and he said that they were basically the same as white supremacists (The difference being that instead of hating non-whites, they hated white supremacists instead).
-- Rockafeller Skank (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999.