sffreeways Tries to Get on the Bush Enemies List

From Democratic Underground comes this letter by sffreeways: On behalf of Mrs Niederer.

There is an irony in this particular aspect of your presidency that is stark and troubling and this incident draws a dramatic parallel. It is that this woman’s son was killed in Iraq so that the people of Iraq might taste the freedom denied by a dictator is arrested while exercising the very definition of freedom in America. This arrest was most definitely made because of her views and not because she was any threat to Mrs. Bush. She was arrested for speaking out against a war her son lost his life in. Her son was fighting that war according to you because the people of Iraq weren’t free to speak out against a tyrant. He died so that America can bring Democracy to the Iraqi people and his mother was arrested for exercising Democracy here in America on his behalf.

11 Responses to “sffreeways Tries to Get on the Bush Enemies List”

  1. Thom Says:

    On May 22, 2004 Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg conducted an interview with Sue Niederer for Counterpunch (http://www.counterpunch.org/weill05222004.html), in which Niederer said of George Bush:

    “I think if I had him in front of me I would shoot him in the groined area (sic.) Let him suffer. And just continue shooting him there. Put him through misery, like he’s doing to everyone else. He doesn’t deserve any better…”

    It’s interesting to ponder who might have read this, and what role it might ultimately have played in her eventual arrest.

  2. Craig Says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this, but a little common sense and balance might help. If the father(or mother)of a son who died in Vietnam interrupted a Kerry rally, shouting that “Kerry dishonored all veterans or those who died in the war, due to his anti-war/soldier statements” upon his discharge, I think it’s quite certain the person would have been stopped and summarily arrested.

    Now, do we bitterly proclaim the denial of freedom of speech by Kerry (who is running for the highest office in the land, which is tasked to protect that right), for that person, who gave up a son for that cause?

    Please don’t misdirect a simple issue with, “well, Kerry is not the one who sent soldiers out to war”. It’s a basic matter of security and the appropriateness of the setting. It would have worked out the same way no matter who was speaking. The author of this letter is purposely twisting a common sense situation into some evil forshadowing of fascism.

    The author would be better served to make more straight forward (albeit less dramatic and provocative) arguments for not re-electing Bush. In fact, I dare say that this very point is in great part why the most fevered Bush-Haters don’t make headway with their arguments. They can rant and sputter such extreme views that those who may truly be influenced by more reasoned explanations, simply dismiss them with a roll of the eyes.

  3. Sven Says:

    Actually I believe you are wrong to say a protester who interupts a Kerry rally would be “summarily arrested.” Stopped and escorted out — perhaps. Arresting someone for excercising their opinion is something a dictator does, not the leader of the free world. From what I understand, Kerry rallies are open to everyone. Bush functions are generally restricted to only his supporters. For an example of how the President, or Laura Bush, might act in the face of someone interupting their speech, I’ll refer you to a recent John Edwards rally:


    If you are going to say that you are “quite certain” that someone would be arrested for protesting at a Kerry rally, please cite an example.

  4. Craig Says:

    Keep in mind that Sue Niederer was wearing a shirt that said, “President Bush, you killed my son”, has been quoted earlier that she’d like to see Bush shot, and is not simply a sole grieving mother who happened to get into a political rally, but is part of a anti-Bush/War organization who regularly protest at such functions. She also refused to leave the premises after being escorted out, leading to a trespassing charge.

    Also keep in mind the great difference between being arrested and being convicted. Here was the end result, according to a published report:

    It turns out that the charges against Niederer were dismissed by the Mercer Country Prosecutor, who wisely exercised his prosecutorial discretion and declined to prosecute the case. In a published statement, the County prosecutor explained:
    It is our determination that the police officers had more than enough probable cause to arrest Ms. Sapir-Niederer and were justified in the their actions . . . Taking all factors into consideration, including the recent loss of her son while serving in the armed forces in Iraq, I believe that the continued prosecution of this matter would serve no useful purpose.

    Also, in your linked story, I noticed that the Bush supporters were circling the “barricades” of the Rally.

    Not exactly your “open access” theory.

    Which, by the way, is fine. Both parties should be able to hold such rallies for the purpose of bolstering their supporters, without constant interruptions by protesters. These are political rallies, not town meetings.

  5. Sven Says:

    I believe the barricades were to keep cars from driving down the street where the rally was. Since they were “circling” the barricades, they must not have been forced out of the rally. They certainly weren’t arrested as Mrs. Niederer was, who I’m sure was unarmed. You haven’t cited an example of someone being arrested at a Kerry / Edwards rally, so I’d assume that means you do not know of such an instance?

  6. Thom Says:

    Exactly how many people are threatening, in public, to shoot John Kerry in the “groined area” and how many are showing up to disrupt his rallys? How many protestors forced their way into Democratic gatherings to punch people in the face as happened with AIDS protestors violently crashing a Republican youth gathering at the New York convention? How many Democratic delegates were screamed at and even roughed up on the streets of Boston, as Republican delegates were in New York? I understand that some wags showing up at a Kerry rally with flip flops is a degrading and violent act, but come on…

  7. Sven Says:

    Last I checked, it wasn’t against the law to wear a T-shirt. Her “groin area” comment was made out of grief for her son. She is hardly a threat to the president, or anyone else. In hindsight, I’m sure even President Bush and Barbara Bush wish things had been handled differently.

    So you are saying it is a matter of saftey that only Bush supporters are allowed at campaign functions? Things must be worse in this country than I thought, if our own president doesn’t feel safe addressing common citizens. How hard could it be to put up a metal detector, or put up a pope-like bullet proof screen to protect the president if he is that paranoid. This is the guy in charge of defending us from the terrorists, and he doesn’t feel safe in his own country? I guess that explains the oath of loyalty:


  8. Thom Says:

    The last time I checked, it WAS illegal to threaten the President, whether you are grieving or not. Killing the president is hardly anything to be flip about, in light of the fact that three out of the last six Presidents (Clinton, Reagan, Ford) have been victims of assassination attempts, and President Ford was nearly shot on two occasions by disgruntled women.

    No, I’m not saying that only Bush supporters should be allowed at campaign functions, any more than only Kerry supporters should be allowed at Kerry rallies. I’m simply saying that there are rules as to how anyone should conduct themselves in public at any gathering, and everyone of every political stripe should adhere to them, or possibly face expulsion and, where appropriate, arrest. Just because a certain sector of Protest Incorporated has decided moral outrage and personal pique entitle them to a complete disregard for the rules of common decency doesn’t make their antics any less offensive or illegal than they may be, or entitle them to the sympathy of the general public when they get cuffed. I’m sure the people who have encouraged this poor woman and hope to use her ordeal for political gain are as aware of this as anyone.

  9. Sven Says:

    Granted, she should not have said she wanted to see Bush shot. I have no doubt that she has been added to some terrorist watch list by our Department of Homeland Security.

    Is it really too much to ask to have a president (or his wife) who could show a moment of compassion to a mother like Mrs. Niederer? Instead of ignoring her and having her arrested, it would only take a moment to acknowledge her and share a moment of grief.

    In contrast, here is Phil Parlock who regularly protests at democratic rallies, and probably should be arrested, but has not:


  10. Thom Says:

    She didn’t say she wanted to see the President shot. She said she wanted to shoot him herself. If I made similar comments in a public forum, I would need to be added to some terrorist watch list by our Department of Homeland Security – otherwise they wouldn’t be doing their job.

    Parlock is a jackass, but he doesn’t offer as much contrast to Mrs. Niederer as you would like to think. Both are hard partisans who went to the other party’s rally to create a scene and make the “other guy” look bad for reacting negatively. What else could Parlock’s hoax serve? Similarly, if Neiderer really wanted answers about her son’s death, aren’t there far more effective ways of getting these answers than trying to shout the first lady down at a campaign rally? She had already been afforded a media forum, why didn’t she make more of it? How was barging in to a crowded hall where no one knew her or her situation and creating a disturbance so severe the police had to get involved supposed to communicate anything other than what it did – PR ammunition against the Bush administration?

    How horrible all of this is for Mrs. Niederer who, no matter what you think of her, her comments, or the wisdom of her actions, really got thrown under the train at what must be an unspeakably low point in her life. no one can say she has no right to be angry, and no one can honestly say they would act more rationally than she has after losing a child so terribly. But who is looking after this woman? Who cares for her?

    When Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg interviewed her in May, didn’t it ever occur to her she was dealing with an emotionally fragile woman, and that it might not be best for that woman that Greenberg’s publication needlessly print rash comments that could land Niederer in legal trouble? Was that the point of the interview? If so, it seems like a pretty cavalier way to make political hay of someone else’s suffering. What’s more important here – that a dead man’s mother is treated with respect, or that some reporter gets juicey copy?

    Would anyone who really cared for Neiderer would encourage her – an already emotionally overwhelmed person – to enter into an emotion-charged shouting match with the first lady – a confrontation that was sure to bring down arrest, legal hassles, and an untold emotional strain on a grieving mother? Would you want your mother put through that so some pundit or action group could get a cool soundbyte?

  11. Sven Says:

    You are right. She should not have said she wanted to shoot the president. That is really besides the point, since that’s not why she got arrested.

    And, no. I wouldn’t encourage Mrs. Neiderer to get in a shouting match at Mrs. Bush. It was an act of desparation on her part. A result of the callousness of the Bush Presidency by not even attending the funeral of one soldier. She had even written the president, but received no response other than “would you like to contribute to the Bush Campaign?” form letter. You could argue the media is using her if you like, but I’d say she’s the one using the media: to get the attention of a president who isn’t listening.

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