For awhile now, some of us in Leadership of WSP have been feeling uneasy about the Overpasses for America movement. WSP is herewith going on record to say that West Suburban Patriots is not now nor have we ever been affiliated with, does not lead or initiate, nor do we endorse the Overpasses movement or any of their events either across the nation or here in Illinois. West Suburban Patriots does not bear any responsibility or liability for any accidents or incidents that may occur in conjunction with any overpass events.
There is a real concern that someone is going to get injured or killed due to people protesting on overpasses. The concern is for the safety of both the motorists and the overpass rally participants. One recent incident involved a rally participant's car being keyed while she was on an overpass. Knowing of the anger and radicalism of many Leftists, would it be a surprise if someone gets physically attacked?
The final confirmation was an email received this morning (see below). Keep in mind that the writer of this email is a complete stranger who had to go out of his way to try to find the persons he thought responsible for the overpass rallies. Also note that his message is not angry, but reasonable and gracious. We have protected his identity for obvious reasons.
We want to win people to our side, not irritate them, bring them hardship, or harm them! Think of a Dad trying to get home to see his kid's soccer game or a frantic Mom trying to pick up her child from daycare. If your rally has made them a hour late, do you think they will look at you favorably? I've heard overpass people rejoicing that they tied up traffic on a Friday evening rush hour. Are you really the kind of person who would be happy about keeping people from their family time?! How will you feel if there is a serious accident due to the distraction you've caused? Have you considered your personal legal liability in that case? They may not win a lawsuit, but they could sure make you spend a lot of time and money defending yourselves.
The people in our movement are people of laws and integrity, not union thugs or angry Alinsky-ites. In our urgency to communicate conservative principles, let's not compromise those very principles.
THE EMAIL FROM A STRANGER:
On Jun 3, 2014, at 11:44 AM, XXXXX wrote:
My name is XXXXX, and I am your average commuter. I take the XXXXX Tollway to and from work everyday. It is a 25-mile trip from my workplace in XXXXX to my home in XXXXX. On an average day, I can expect to spend between 1.5 to 2 hours in the car.
On several occasions, I have seen your group holding a rally on the XXXXX overpass between XXXXX Avenue and XXXXX Road. (I assume this is the work of the West Suburban Patriots, as I saw the photos of your rallies on your website.) I fully support your right to hang banners, wave flags, and exercise your rights to free speech on that public path. But I want to make you aware of the consequences of these actions.
People will slow down when encountering your rally. Since some people are slowing down, everyone slows down.This causes traffic to slow to a crawl for miles. The last time that this happened, I tracked my mileage from where traffic slowed to where your rally was. At 5:05 pm, traffic was backed up for 11 MILES. It took me an extra 30 minutes to get home that day. Not because of an accident, or road construction, but because your organization created an intentional "gapers block" to gain more exposure for your cause.
I'm asking that you please do not hold any more rallies on that bridge. The traffic that it causes is frustrating and potentially dangerous. The commuters of the Chicago suburbs just want to get home to their families, and your organization is preventing thousands of us from doing so in a timely manner.
I wish you well, and I hope that you take my words to heart and consider your actions before impeding the flow of traffic with your message.
I thank you so much for your gracious email! I want to let you know that these "overpass rallies" are NOT sponsored by or endorsed by our group, West Suburban Patriots. I have been very concerned about these rallies for weeks, and your email confirms my concerns. I am worried that someone is going to get hurt because of these events. Plus, tying up traffic and preventing people from getting home safely and in a timely manner is NOT the way to "win hearts & minds"!
West Suburban Patriots is very thoughtful about endorsing events, and we do NOT endorse overpass rallies. When the overpass events first began, some in our group learned of them and chose to participate. I also attended one of the early events, but I was very troubled when I saw some near-misses on the roadway and have not been involved since. Because several of our attendees were interested, one of the "overpass" organizers asked to speak briefly at our meeting, and we allowed him to do so. We now regret doing so, because it might be construed as our support. Some in our group have posted photos of the events on our site.
This concerns me so much that I comment on their (the overpass people) Facebook posts to gently try to dissuade people from participating. There are so many better ways to exercise our civic duty! In my notes for our next monthly group meeting (June 14th) I have made a note to bring these concerns to our group. I hope that will cause many to re-think their support of the overpass rallies. We are not an autocratic group, and our participants are very independent people, but very reasonable.
Your email is compelling, because if you took the time to seek us out and write to us, that tells me there are many HUNDREDS who feel the same way as you. May I ask your permission to share the content of your email on a blog post on our website? I will, of course, remove your name, road locations and email address so you absolutely cannot be identified. Your email might help me make the case against these dangerous and annoying overpass rallies, hopefully before someone is harmed.
God bless you for taking the time and effort to seek me out and and write. You have affirmed in my mind what God has been laying on my heart for many weeks now.
Founder & Coordinator
West Suburban Patriots
AND FINALLY, HIS PERMISSION TO USE HIS EMAIL MESSAGE:
You absolutely have my permission to use my email on your blog. Take whatever steps you feel necessary to protect my identity. Thank you very much for your response to my concerns.