So what has me fuming mad today? The other day, Gerry May ran a story on a recent flap involving the Shreveport Mayor, Cedric Glover. Let's not start there because the story was really about a traffic stop which has very little to do with Mayor Glover. A web site called Conservative Drink is dramatizing the whole situation and turning it into a gun rights issue.
So let's look at the traffic stop. Robert Baillio was pulled over for not using a turn signal. To give you some idea as to the character of Mr. Baillio, he looks like a reincarnation of some confederate soldier. Here is a photo of the back of Baillio's redneck-mobile. Like any self respecting redneck, his beliefs are elegantly displayed on the back of his vehicle in the form of bumper stickers. One reads "Celebrate Diversity" with various shells and bullets beside it. Another reads " Armed. We Are Citizens! Un-Armed. We Are Subjects." I can't make out what the others say, but let's be honest here. He's a walking stereotype of the Shreveport right winger.
The cop who pulled Baillio over obviously saw the stickers on the back of this guy's truck and was concerned out of safety for both parties. It's safe to wonder whether or not a guy in Shreveport with gun stickers plastered all over the back of his pickup has a gun in his vehicle. Guess what? He did! Part of regular questioning in traffic stops these days involves asking if you are armed, whether it be with a knife or a gun. Cops do ask with safety as their primary concern. If asked, you surrender the weapon for the remainder of that traffic stop for the officer's safety and your own. Choose to hold onto your weapon, and you are viewed as hostile and will likely be asked to step out of the vehicle and get put into cuffs. That's where Glover's quote has meat, folks. If you have a weapon anywhere in your vehicle and you are asked about it, you fess up and listen to the cop. You surrender your right to have a firearm until the officer lets you go on your merry way.
The Kool-Aid soaked nutters claim there is no justification for search and seizure. Yeah...okay boys. Whatever. The cop asked if he had a gun. Baillio complied by admitting there was a gun in the vehicle. Baillio could have just as easily refused. In many states, you can refuse in fear of illegal search and seizure. Just expect another car to show up with or without the canine unit. C.D. claims there was zero probable cause. This is where they've taken the leap away from reality. On one hand, they want Glover to admit a mistake, but as far as Baillio is concerned, well, he's as clean as a preacher's sheets. Yep. These conservatives aren't being the least bit obstinate (sarcasm). That's why I'm not taking them seriously. Neither should you. Their motivation for glorifying this traffic stop has nothing to do with illegal search and seizure. Why do I know this? It's what they've fallen back on now that the out of context rant over "Your rights have been suspended" holds no water. They're reaching at this point as a last ditch effort to cling to ideology. Shame on them.
Now, pay very close attention here folks. This is what I call finding middle ground, something C.D. obviously knows nothing about. I take their point that when the officer asked Baillio if he was a member of the NRA, it had nothing to do with the traffic stop. Maybe the officer was making small talk. Who knows? Still, it had nothing to do with anything related to the traffic stop.
Instead of Baillio deciding to get a lawyer and pursue this traffic stop through the normal channels, he cried to GunTalk Magazine and Conservative Drink picked up the story as well. Let's make him a poster child. Right? Let's blow this out of proportion. Glover's statement came well after the traffic stop. What Mayor Glover said about the incident has no bearing on what will be discussed should Baillio decide to take the cop who pulled him over to court and fight the ticket. Oh wait, Baillio was not issued a ticket? But now Conservative Drink and their buddies want to make this more about Glover than the traffic stop. Come on now children. You know this has nothing to do with liberals taking away your guns. Quit trying to make this situation about your gun rights. What's really funny is how on their site, they are shocked that a mayor from a "major" southern city can say what he did. You give Shreveport too much credit. If that conversation shocks you, then you should hear what your redneck brethren spew out all the time in this town. Nutjobs, the lot of them. Governors in adjacent states have said some pretty silly things too. Bobby Jindal, our own governor, spoke to the entire country as if they were children. You're shocked at one little mayor? Oh, there's just a little bullshit in all of this, isn't there? They've pinned Glover as a liberal elitist. Haha. What a joke! Classic right winger rhetoric folks. I assure you, Mayor Glover is no elitist. Methinks you are confused about what constitutes the elite.
Now back to Gerry May.
May's report sounded more like a plug for the Conservative Drink web site than a balanced news story. There's really a site called Conservative Drink? They don't drink liberal Kool Aid? (Note that the site spells it "Aide"). So, I guess they drink conservative Kool Aid and it's obviously spiked with some sort of alcoholic beverage which could range from simple cheap vodka to Kentucky shine. You be the judge.
Here's what I can tell you. What you're looking at is a hatchet job. Even if Glover made a slip of the tongue, he's gone on record clarifying his comment. The folks at Conservative Drink won't let this go because they want nothing more than to crucify any liberal politician regardless. Consider them a bunch of obstinate right wingers gunning for anyone left of Right. Middle ground is not in their vocabulary. Understanding is not their interest. This is the problem with right wing gun "enthusiasts." They aren't at the discussion table on the gun rights issue because anyone outside of their little circle is anti-gun. Just read the part of their little blog about Glover being part of an "Anti-Gun Group." Gerry May should have seen this coming as a reporter. Instead, I feel he willingly pushed the matter to the forefront to dramatize a relatively unimportant traffic stop. Something like this should have never reached the mayor's office. It certainly never should have involved a recorded telephone call. I wonder, was Cedric Glover informed that the conversation was being recorded? I could see Mr. Baillio being prosecuted for violating the law rather easily. I'd have to check the laws on the books for this state.
Although Gerry May runs a personal web site covering politics, among other things, it is still his personal site. He needs to learn how to separate the blogger persona from the news anchor. A journalist should not push political propaganda as part of his news cast. A blogger can do whatever he or she chooses. As a news anchor, you report on the stories without slant. Gerry May has a well known record for spewing conservative rhetoric on his blog and during news broadcasts as if it were truth. Seeing as how Shreveport/Bossier is a thriving center of redneck right wingers, the last thing we need is a news anchor feeding their appetite for paranoia. Hey, all I'm talking about here is a little bit of journalistic integrity and personal responsibility. Remember that as a news anchor, you're providing news to the public. Your own agenda should be set aside. Otherwise, I suggest Gerry May either resigns or fills out a job application for Fox News.
Quotes of interest in the transcript of the conversation between Baillio and Mayor Glover on display at the C.D. web site:
Mayor Glover: Their rights have been suspended sir. Certainly you have the right...uh...to to to all of the things to be protected and what have you, but in terms of your right to be able to proceed until that officer has done with the work that he had at that particular point - yes sir your rights have been suspended.
Sir! Do do you understand what it is that I'm saying to you? I'm assuming that you...I'm assuming that I'm having a conversation with someone who has common sense. So no...Am I saying that all of your rights at that point have been eliminated and anything can be done to you no matter what. No I'm not saying that.
That pretty much sums up Mayor Glover's stance. Not all of your rights are suspended. There are certain things you may not do when being pulled over by an officer for a violation. What Conservative Drink and others have done is take "Your rights have been suspended" completely out of context to imply that all of our rights have been taken away during a traffic stop.
What's my advice to Mr. Baillio? Get yourself a lawyer. How many of the right wing fringe rednecks bitch when a young black male gets Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the ACLU involved? Is crying to GunTalk or Conservative Drink any different? Look. The Shreveport PD is no symbol of honor. In the last few years, they've screwed up a number of times. Get yourself a freakin' lawyer and see what a judge has to say about it. Leave Cedric Glover out of it. Empty right wing rhetoric is so yesterday.