An internet acquaintance of mine from the Liberal Gun Club, who goes by the screen name neotrotsky, lives in Mesa, AZ. He is representative of the thousands of white residents of Arizona who are disgusted by this rotten bill and want it repealed. Of course,they do not gather much media attention since the networks are working very hard to portray this controversy as a racial struggle. This is why the Minutemen and other racist groups get so much attention.
Neotrotsky is active in the arts and currently works for a theater company. Despite having a busy schedule, he took some time out to answer a few questions I had about the reaction to 1070's first few days as a law.
Comrade X: Where did the demonstrations occur?
Neotrotsky: Most demonstrations occurred at the Main County Jail on 4th and Jefferson in downtown Phoenix and at the Capital Mall. Other rallies have been held in the predominately Mexican town of Guadalupe, an unincorporated village surrounded by the city of Tempe.
Comrade X: Where you personally involved in or a witness to any of the demonstrations?
Neotrotsky: I was not involved in many of the protests due to my involvement with a theater production, but since the director of the theater I am working at is a Mexican- American, and less than half a mile away from the core city protests, we have been very much watching since the local Sheriff has been known to push crackdowns on mass groups of like- minded individuals. In fact the City of Phoenix has actively stopped lending police and logistical support to the First Fridays arts initiative, which seeks to hold street performances every first Friday of the month in order to encourage the arts scene in the downtown region. Many feel the timing was too convenient since there has been an increase of anti- 1070 sentiment in the community while the official city line is because of the summer heat- which has been fairly mild in comparison to previous years.
Comrade X: What is the general mood like in Arizona right now?
Neotrotsky: The mood is extremely tense, especially after the arrest of civil rights leader Salvadore Reza of the activist group Puente ( Mr. Reza was released yesterday- X), who was detained while standing across the street from a protest at the central jail a few days ago, and not even on state property.
The shooting of two police officers on the West Side due to an unrelated drug sting gone bad also has added fuel to the fire for both sides. Also, rumors posted on many activist Facebook feeds against 1070 , and for it, have stated that there is supposedly a $1,000,000 bounty on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's head, but there are many rebuking that, saying it was probably started as propaganda by the Sheriff's department to increase his tough guy image. What has been true are the bounties placed on Democratic Governor candidate Terry Goddard for his actions in bringing 1, 500 troops and millions of federal dollars to the border to investigate drug trafficking along the border, and his newly penned cooperative agreement with Western Union to start tracking payment transfers of large amounts of money across the border to try to find the money trail to drug traffickers using immigrants as drug mules or forced labor.
Comrade X: You recently related an incident about how a gun shop owner refuses to sell to customers who cannot prove they are a conservative. Could you expand on that?
Neotrotsky: My experience with the one gun shop ( owner) in Mesa that made ( a) comment about a T- shirt I was wearing- a plain red shirt with an image of Che screen printed on it... and kept asking me what I "planned " to do with the ammo I was buying. I said, " Er... shoot it?", thinking it was a rather odd question. Then he asked me for ID, when I then mentioned that there was no law requiring ID to sell ammo, but if he wished to verify my age , I had no problem. He then said, " Oh, don't need that. We need to make sure the wrong kind of people aren't getting this. You have a voter ID card?" I asked, " Why?" and he mentioned that it would prove if I were the " right" kind of person, because ( as he nodded towards my shirt) some people "should not have this - you should know". With Rush Limbaugh's talk show blasting on the stereo and shooting targets of Barack Obama on the wall, it didn't take me long to figure out what he meant. I walked out and he simply said, "Thank you. Now don't come back."
Comrade X: What a dick!