This afternoon I attended a Democratic party rally at Old Town Square in Wichita. The featured speaker was candidate for United States Congress from the fourth district of Kansas Raj Goyle. I hadn’t expected to be blocked, but that’s what happened.
Blocking is when someone who is considered an intruder or spy is prevented from taking photographs or video. Typically the people who might be blocked are “trackers,” people that follow a candidate and record every word they can, hoping to record something they can use against the candidate.
I’m not a tracker. I’ve been to only one other Raj Goyle event. But this afternoon it was made clear that I was not welcome at the Democratic Party event that featured candidate Goyle.
I don’t know if any meaning should be given to the fact that it was a Brandon Whipple sign that was used as the blocking tool. (Sorry for the illegibility of the sign. I’m not quite familiar with the limitations of the HDR processing on my new Apple iPhone 4.) I don’t know if Goyle himself would have approved of the blocking. I’ve been critical of his policies and generally approving of those of his major party opponent, Mike Pompeo. But I don’t think he would have approved of the blocking. We shook hands and said hello before the event started.
For what it’s worth, the Goyle campaign employs a tracker. I’ve not seen him be blocked at any Pompeo events that I’ve attended, although it may have happened. But I’ve seen the tracker allowed to take his video unmolested even at events that took place on private property, where the Pompeo campaign would have been entirely within its rights to remove the tracker from the premises. Today I was blocked on public property.
I’ve asked the Pompeo campaign if they’ve used trackers, and they declined to answer.
When I asked the young man who blocked me if he was, in fact, blocking me, he said “It’s freedom, dude!” Which, I think, tells us a lot about some young people, Democrats, and their warped concept of freedom and liberty.
Update: Someone has told me that the blocker probably committed a crime by attempting — and partially succeeding — to prevent me from enjoying a public event held in a public space.