What should have been a beautiful, relaxing trip, turned into a dark nightmare for many tourists in America’s national parks during the last week.
Thanks to the partial government shutdown, some people were locked inside Yellowstone National Park.
Pat Vaillancourt was one of those people. She came into Yellowstone with a bus tour group, which “included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States.” They were on a nine day tour of national parks when the government shut down on October 1.
When the tour bus arrived at the Old Faithful Inn, located near the middle of the massive park, the group was locked inside by armed guards, who rudely told the tourists they could not leave. The inn was barricaded.
Vaillancourt said, “They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside. Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”
Vaillancourt and her tour group finally left the park after two days. She said the bus was not allowed to make any bathroom stops for over 2.5 hours as it left the park. When the group stopped at a private dude ranch for a planned bathroom stop, they were told to leave. According to Vaillancourt, the dude ranch said that they would be shut down if they allowed the bus to come in for a rest stop.
Vaillancourt and the others on her bus were not the only people to get this rough treatment. According to the Eagle Tribune, nearly 1,000 people were in a national park when the federal government shut down.
Understandably, Vaillancourt was disturbed by her experience in Yellowstone. What seems to have upset her the most, though, was how harsh the armed park employees were.
She concluded, “We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control. It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘We’re sorry.'”
Clearly, the Obama administration is frustrated that the House Republicans refuse to fully fund Obamacare. It is not hard to surmise that the administration could be taking out that frustration on the American public, and aiming to make a political point by inciting fear with unnecessary shutdowns to inflict maximum public pain.
Vaillancourt’s disturbing story does not sound like a vacation in “the land of the free.”
What has become of America?