They of Course Had an Agenda / by Karie Luidens

Tornillo Protest (4).jpg

Speaking of retaliation—of government agencies responding to grassroots humanitarian activism by flexing all the power at their disposal in a show of intimidation… remember back in February when a group of protesters walked into the Border Patrol Museum? I’d been at the museum myself and just missed them by hours. Since then I’ve occasionally wondered what became of their case; this past week, more news broke.

Police obtain 16 arrest warrants in connection to vandalism at Border Patrol Museum

KVIA El Paso
Posted: Apr 04, 2019 02:38 PM MDT

EL PASO, Texas - Police detectives investigating alleged vandalism at the National Border Patrol Museum in Northeast El Paso have obtained 16 arrests warrants for 16 individuals, police said Thursday.

Police said the alleged vandals caused about $3,000 in damage to displays at the museum. They allegedly used glue and stick-it notes to damage the displays.

“Several individuals descended upon the museum and began to commit acts that are defined as criminal mischief and criminal trespass," said El Paso Police Spokesman Darrel Petry, "They had been asked to leave by some of the museum staff and they refused. they continued to damage some of the exhibits at the museum."

Police issue arrest warrants for 16 involved in US Border Patrol Museum vandalism

by Anna Giaritelli
Washington Examiner
April 05, 2019 12:00 AM

Museum director David Ham told the Washington Examiner the museum was overtaken by masked protesters on a Saturday in mid-February by members of a group called Tornillo: the Occupation.

About 50 people entered the facility, defaced property, and refused to leave the grounds.

"Say it loud, say it clear, Border Patrol kills!" group members standing inside and outside the facility yelled, according to a video the group posted on Facebook. […]

"They proceeded to set up a bunch of signs and just went all over the museum. They of course had an agenda, they were chanting and singing songs, and then a couple of them got on a bullhorn," Ham said.

The language is so striking, isn’t it? “Descended upon the museum.” “The museum was overtaken.” Criminal mischeif. Masks and bullhorns. Those scary, threatening dissidents with their nefarious “agenda.”

And what was their crime? I mean, aside from singing and giving speeches about human rights, which presumably didn’t hurt anyone or anything. It pretty much comes down to “glue and stick-it notes.” Later in the article, one of the participants “admitted the group did plaster sticky pictures of Caal and other children on various items inside the Border Patrol museum.”

Songs and sticky notes, versus a state-sponsored law enforcement branch whose agents patrol the desert with helicopters and assault rifles.

Who is really the more threatening party here?

Who really has the power to affect the other, change their practices, dismantle their lives?

Who should we, as a society, hold accountable for the destructiveness and cost of their practices?