Support Your Local Army of Occupation
by William Norman Grigg
“Wouldn’t it be great if it were like this all the time?” commented a pleasant middle-aged gentleman as the two of us contemplated the large gathering of armed men in camouflage who had materialized in Payette’s Centennial Park. “I feel really secure with these guys around.”
“Actually, I’d feel much more secure if the guns were in the hands of people who aren’t government employees,” I replied, prompting a puzzled look from my new acquaintance.
Centennial Park is located just inside the Snake River boundary separating Idaho from Oregon. For reasons I’ve yet to learn, every time I visit the park to do calisthenics and sprints – regardless of the hour of day – I’ll receive a visit from at least one police officer, who will typically do a very slow pass by my little exercise area while I’m huffing and sweating.
On this particular afternoon, however, the park was literally swarming with camouflage-clad “police” from the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Response Team, in the company of at least one Payette County officer. They arrived in a caravan of more than a half-dozen vehicles, one of which was pulling a trailer carrying a large motorboat.
“Are you guys doing a training exercise?” I inquired of one fellow as he unpacked what appeared to be an AR-15.