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"Special Delivery"
Points Out Weaknesses

May 11, 2015

A few weeks ago, Douglas Mark Hughes of Ruskin, Florida, a 61-year old postal worker landed his gyrocopter safely on the U.S. Capital lawn. He was arrested shortly after the landing, by U.S. Capital police. After carefully searching the lightweight aircraft they announced that "nothing hazardous" was found (i.e. no bombs, no explosives, etc.).      

Hughes had told the Tampa Bay Times ahead of time about his plan to make a "special delivery" of letters addressed to members of Congress. His goal was to shine a light on institutional graft and the need for campaign finance reform.   

He noted on his website the details of, as he called it, his act of civil disobedience.  Hughes was also interviewed by the Secret Service.  His letters said:  "I'm demanding reform and declaring a voter's rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson's description of rights in the Declaration of Independence.”  He also spelled out Congress’ only possible courses of action, “…you have three options.

  1. You may pretend corruption does not exist;
  2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform; or
  3. You may actively participate in real reform." 

Compare this to the Boston Tea Party.  Mr. Hughes broke a few laws to bring a point but he harmed no one.  He didn't burn or loot any businesses.  He didn't even throw tea in the bay. He did, however, pay the legal postage on the letters he delivered.  Yet his protest wasn’t taken seriously and he’s treated like a crazy person at best and like a criminal at worst.

Compare this to the rioters in Baltimore who are given media attention and -- although she has apologized – Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made it clear she wanted to give space to those "who wished to destroy." Some of the rioters may not even have known who Freddie Gray was.     News coverage of the Hughes story lasted a day, maybe two.  The Baltimore riot story continues to this day.  Are both important? Sure! But there seems to be an element of the mainstream media that has an agenda; like the misrepresentation we saw in the initial reporting of the Benghazi attack where it was attributed to a riot not a terrorist attack.

Some say the unrest in Baltimore is based on economic disadvantage, but  the actions of rioters have the effect of creating more economic woes for generations to come. The businesses they looted/burned will likely relocate or never recover.  Some of the businesses and the church outreach center they destroyed were black-owned and operated.  Many of these businesses will likely not be financially able to return and serve their former neighborhoods. 

We don't know Mr. Hughes, so we don't know if we agree with his political views, but at least he was willing to take a stand without causing any destruction or threatening the livelihood -- or endangering the lives -- of others.  We cannot condemn him any more than we would condemn The Sons of Liberty for the Boston Tea Party.

Although we may not condone Hughes’ methods, we applaud his bravery in peacefully protesting injustice as he views it and being willing to accept the consequences.  He should at least be given credit for pointing out weaknesses in the U.S. Capital's air defenses.

John, Bill and Mark


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