California lawmakers are calling on the National Park Service to rescind a permit they've issued for a gathering of alt-right figures, conservatives, and likely white nationalists at Crissy Field next weekend. The event, scheduled closely after last weekend's tragic violence and show of neo-Nazi fervor in Charlottesville, is set to happen on Saturday August 26, with a second rally scheduled the next day in Berkeley obviously with the intent of enticing antifa forces to protest them and engaging in street battles like those we saw in March in April. And among the concerns many officials have is one major one, as the Examiner notes: concealed firearms. Due to a 2010 statute, guns are allowed in national parks, and Crissy Field is federal land.
State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymen Phil Ting and David Chiu penned a letter Tuesday to the National Park Service suggesting that they are not prepared to handle the likely scale and potential violence of Patriot Prayer's rally. As the LA Times reports, the letter reads, "Allowing a likely violent rally of White Supremacists so close to all of this is of deep concern to us. While we believe in the right to free speech and free assembly, we believe the National Park Service does not have the capacity to safely control this situation and therefore should not be issuing a permit for this rally at Crissy Field."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also separately issued a plea to the NPS, saying, "San Francisco takes great pride in being a city of peace which cherishes free speech and the right to public dissent. However, the National Park Service’s decision to permit a white supremacist rally at Crissy Field raises grave and ongoing concerns about public safety."
Blogger Joey Gibson, who started the group Patriot Prayer and has staged multiple pro-Trump rallies in Portland and Seattle over the last eight months, denies that he's either a white nationalist or a Nazi. However he can't deny that his events often lead to violent skirmishes, and he can't deny that white nationalists like the mentally ill man who killed two people aboard a Portland commuter train in May attend his rallies.
After images of suspect Jeremy Joseph Christian at a Patriot Prayer rally emerged in the days following the fatal stabbings, Gibson tried to disown Christian by saying he was "not one of us" and "not a good guy."
It should be noted that one of the things Christian was quoted as saying, following the killings, was "You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism." He also allegedly said "that's what liberalism gets you" and "Death to the enemies of America!"
On Tuesday, Gibson lashed out at Pelosi for suggesting his planned rally was for Nazis, telling the LA Times, "It's extremely dangerous that she's doing that. She's giving people license to use violence against me."
Speaking to MyNorthwest this week, Gibson sounds somewhat confused about the path forward for his group, following a tense rally in Seattle on Sunday that led to some fights breaking out.
"I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution,” Gibson tells MyNorthwest. "I don’t have all the answers. I am constantly questioning everything that I do especially Sunday down in [Seattle] there were tons of street brawls because of our march. Even though it was all in self-defense, you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I creating a further divide in this country, even though I am trying to bring people together?’ I have to ask that question and we have to rethink what it is we want to do."
Referring to Charlottesville, Gibson says, "I believe in [white supremacists’] right to march, but the problem is they are trying to latch onto our movement. And they did it under the guise of ‘unite the right’ the problem is it’s more identity politics. It’s using your race as a means to further your agenda. All that does is divide people. I want nothing to do with that."