Randall Terry has never been hesitant to get arrested for a headline. I think he's over 40 arrests which puts him in the Chairman's Select club in the Frequent Arrest Program. So why did his group just rip pages from the Koran today rather than setting them ablaze (no relation)? AFP talked to Terry-associate Andrew Beacham who did some of the ripping:
He carefully put the torn pieces into a plastic bag, in order not to litter, and said: "The only reason I will not burn it at the White House is because to burn anything on the Capitol grounds is a felony."
So now they are worried about getting arrested? I'm not clear if Terry himself was a ripper, but most of the focus was on him:
"Part of why we're doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end."
Think Progress says Terry dismissed concerns from some 9/11 families about "politicizing" the terror anniversary:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/TsGCUMn-OMI?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
Now back to Beacham who did do some of the actual Koran ripping. News reports were quick to describe Beacham as a "Tea Party leader." That's the label on this AFP photo on Yahoo News:
Think Progress, a liberal group, did talk to the guy:
When asked why he was desecrating Islam’s holiest book, Beacham said, “there is only one religion and that is Christianity.” Asked about ripping versus burning the Quran, Beacham casually replied, “same diff.”
So is he, in fact, a "tea party organizer?" Kudos to Think Progress for at least asking for specifics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/Pc1vgQprwQA?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
So he says he's "not currently an organizer or leader." AFP must have gotten a different story:
Beacham, who describes himself as a leader of the rightwing conservative Tea Party from Indiana, added: "The Twin Towers were taken down because of the Koran and other religious teachings."
I'm confused. Is he a "a leader," or "not currently?" Or what "was" he? I spent some time on Mr. Beacham's Twitter page.
Well he does describe himself as a Tea Party Organizer. So it must be true. BTW -- I am not the only one reading his Twitter page! He does have 38 followers! And long before today a Tea Party watch group was closely following Mr. Beacham.
The site, which I won't name, is happy to introduce us:
He seemed so much more centered in his Twitter profile picture:
Then again, he does have the benefit of a cooling fan at home. The non-named site actually posted an in-depth PDF of Beacham's Tweets. I'm here to tell you that there is a lot to learn. He seems to like baseball and soccer. And he may prefer to live like a Hobbit. He says this is his "dream house:"
But we're getting distracted. Back to the "Tea Party Leader" thing. While he says he's "not currently" a leader or organizer, I thought I should check on his past record. He did say he worked with the "Indianapolis Tea Party" and the "Elkhart County Tea Party." That should be easy to check:
Oh. Did I spell Indianapolis correctly? Well, what about the Elkhart County folks? There is more evidence there. A WSBT-TV report out of Goshen does describe Beacham as an "organizer" of anti-tax rallies in the spring of 2009. They include this photo:
It's not clear if those are Beacham's Koran-ripping hands or not.
So I was pretty sure I could find out more from the Elkhart County Tea Party. Their website hasn't been updated since April 6, 2009. But their Facebook page seemed to be a little more active. It's nice because they have a whole section showing their members:
So it was easy to search for Beacham:
Hmm. So maybe he's not a member. Well -- I finally did manage to find something:
Ah ha! So he was one of the "guest speakers!" Heck, I've been a guest speaker at a Tea Party event. Can I be a "leader" too?
None of this is to question Mr. Beacham's judgment of course. After all he has turned video productions like this:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/xzPydwtbdsU?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
Really. He claims credit on his Twitter page. Beacham also pumps TheTerryCast.com:
But I'm not sure you should really actually click the play triangle on this one:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/ops3B9IkNm4?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
I told you not to click. But, then again, maybe you just found your "general in the culture wars."
You heard it. Right from the "Tea Party leader" who decided to rip up a Koran in front of the White House today. "Let's win!" They certainly are proving they know how. Right?
Andrew Beacham, a young, bearded activist who has been ejected from four of President Obama’s speeches–including his University of Notre Dame commencement speech and a health care event in Maryland–was just as adamant. He came into Terry’s fold after a disappointing stint as a Republican activist and a Tea Party organizer in Indiana. Suiting up and heckling the president of the United States, he said, made him aware of how “in history, there are always people who are willing to step up and be the tip of the spear.” Shouting down the president of the United States is more effective than nearly any form of public protest, said Beacham, especially when the president is hesitant about how to respond.
Disappointing stint? I thought he was a leader.