|Robert Sneed and family wait for the parade to begin|
Belton – As an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence settled over the Fourth of July Parade route, open carry supporters filed out two by two to “second line” the parade, the assault weapons at sling arms.
Second lining is a fine old tradition in New Orleans' Mardi Gras parades as fans and enthusiasts devoted to the glory of certain krewes parade along the right of way and on the sidewalks, shouting to the masked revelers throwing beads and doubloons, “T'row me somethin', mistah!”
Second Amendment advocates had originally been given permission to march along behind their own float, but the Belton Chamber of Commerce's insurance carrier nixed the idea. They even disallowed color guard and Civil War re-enactors the privilege, for the first time in nearly a century.
None of that really changed much of what went on at the parade.
A man in a broadcasting booth on the steps of the Chamber's building along the parade route said the official policy would be one of tolerance.
“They will be allowed to walk along with their rifles – at the side of the parade,” he said.
He directed inquiries to the open carry advocates, who had gathered on the lawn in front of the Belton Police Department headquarters.
There, the members of Open Carry and Come and Take It waited in the shade of the trees and under tents where members hawked literature and merchandise.
The mood was friendly, festive and fun.
A crew of employees from the CEFCO filling stations and convenience stores passed out ice cold pints of drinking water. People who have become acquainted from the numerous postings on Facebook recognized each other and exchanged greetings.
Informed that President Barack Obama denounced folks who follow their lead in opposing gun control and assault weapon ban, saying they fit the government profile of domestic terrorists, a young couple with hisand hers assault rifles – he sported an AR-15, she an AK-47 –stood by watching their young son devour a popsicle. (click here for a previous report on this)
“I've come to the conclusion that if I'm not on some list, I'm doing something wrong,” said Robert Sneed, a member of the board of Open Carry Temple.
|Mrs. Nancy Darby, a nurse|
Nancy Darby, a nurse who attended a previous event on June 1 at Temple dressed in baby blue scrubs, her AR-15 slung over her shoulder, said of the President's remarks to the audience at a business business dinner held Monday at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, “That's crazy. That's really crazy.”
The President told the group of corporate CEO's that conservatives, especially members of the Tea Party, fit the government's profile of domestic terrorists.
The president's remarks have been soft pedaled in the broadcast media and mainstream press. No one in the crowd had really heard about Mr. Obama's remarks as reported by an Associated Press reporter who attended the dinner.
Most people at the Belton Fourth of July Parade, like Mrs. Darby, just laughed.
“Hey, just because I'm a nurse and I work in a field that helps people save their lives, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up my right to defend myself...”
Her husband Philip grinned, then said, “Obama's the best gun salesman we've got. Every time he says something like that, people go out and buy up every gun in sight.”
|Bell County Courthouse|
Like the Sneeds, they were both strapped with assault rifles across their backs, muzzles down.
Mrs. Darby turned to her husband and said, one eye narrowed, in a judicious, eye-tooth-smacking tone, “We're going to keep doing this, I think. Yeah, we will.”