When citizens are denied!

The Bill of Rights states in Article I "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  and in Isaiah 10:1,2 "Woe to those who decree unjust statutes and to those who continually record unjust decisions, ...."

I am but a humble donkey, who is heart broken because I know my cousins are dying unjustly, and I know my human friends are hurting so.  It is my nature to worry about my human companions, (link) and I know my friends are mourning deeply the loss of so many innocent wild hearts, gunned down and left to rot in their desert home.  I have seen them cry, as they cried with me.

Home!  It is a place of safety for most.  But, my burro cousins who live in Big Bend Ranch State Park do not feel that safety, as helicopters fly over-head killing all the wildlife around them.  They are forced to watch as their family members are gunned down at their feet.  They watch as the aoudad, elk, and hogs are riddled with bullets coming from the helicopter.  They know, the predators whom they keep an eye on for the safety of all who share the desert with them, are being slaughtered too.  They must witness the snaring of these great cats of the desert as they struggle in the snares only to have their lives ended by a bullet when the Texas Parks and Wildlife killing personnel arrive.  It is pure carnage.  The desert is awash in the blood of the innocent who have lived peacefully together for millions of years. We evolved together here on this continent, (link) and we need each other.  Sure, the aoudad are exotic, but they are globally critically endangered unlike the bighorn the TPWD is trying to introduce to the park.  And, if one wants to be really picky, the bighorn originated in Siberia.  But, being the wise donkey that I am, I also know they have been here long enough to have a place in our ecosystem too.  It is not their fault that humans want to kill them for their beautiful crown of curly horns.  They too are victims, in the end.  And, no trophy hunter wants to blemish their trophy with a head shot, so they do suffer greatly from the body wounds that drop their regal lives to the ground.

I am a simple domestic donkey, but burned into my memory which goes back thousands of years was the time we were in our glory.  Jesus loved us.  He loved us so much that we were ordained to be with him from birth to death.  We represent peace, humility, loyalty, courage and sacrifice and we are mentioned in the Bible 444 times.  In fact, the donkey is the only animal who speaks in the Bible!(link)  We witnessed the King of Kings as he rode a white donkey foal into Jerusalem the week before he was crucified, (link) and we would have gladly given our lives in His stead, but He would not allow it.  His shadow of the cross on which He died is burned forever in our backs.  I, Miss Abby, proudly wear mine.  I thought that Governor Perry, who professes to follow the Lord, would have wanted to touch my lovely cross to be close to Christ.  I was wrong.  Instead, his office required that we send a fax requesting authorization to deliver the petition signed lovingly by over 100,000 caring souls.  He then did not reply.  This essentially denied our delivery access.

Instead of being welcome, we discovered that there is an agency in Austin that has so much power it can revoke the rights of citizens to ask for a redress of their grievances.  That agency is the State Preservation Board, (link) whose Executive Director John Sneed (1 512-463-5495) scared me so badly, I tried to run away, because I could see he scared Marjorie too.  She backed up a step because his face was contorted and his body language was very aggressive.  He was a really rude, and scary man.  More on that in a minute.  The State Preservation Board has been the topic of controversy  over numerous complaints about ethics.  They have the power to override previously authorized events, which they did to our League as we attempted to deliver the Wild Burro Protection League Ride For Life signatures which were provided by concerned citizens all over the world. People love us, and I am overjoyed with learning how much.  But, these wonderful people have been ignored.(link)  The State Preservation Board got Marjorie very upset when on the morning we were to deliver our petition as promised from a wagon pulled by Miss Abby, to the Governor's office, our approved parking was denied.  The director of the State owned parking lot, said she received a phone call that morning saying our authorization was revoked.  I watched Marjorie calling, and running around to try to straighten this out, which she did, but it took its toll on her.  Thank goodness Red Horse Nation (link) came all the way from Alpine to support us.  Rachael Waller Rondeaux (link) and her family Rod, (link) and Chey (link) were there to comfort and take on duties Marjorie was now unable to handle.  They did it without question, for we stood in solidarity with our wild hearts, all of them, together.  I am really good friends with Chey's donkey Penelope too.

The next thing that happened was that the police were ordered to tell us (they were wonderful to us, and did Austin proud with their respectful, and kind treatment ) (link) that we could not enter the State Capitol grounds with our wagon, because it would not fit through the bollards.  HOWEVER, the bollard was down on the right as attested to by the posted photograph.  They blocked it with a car, keeping us out with the wagon.  It is interesting to note that horses, donkeys and mules are frequent visitors to the Capitol.  Check out last years' photo of a Christmas tree delivery!!!

Melinda Eppler, who is with the State Preservation Board, had stated in her e-mail, that they could not lower the bollards to accommodate the wagon.  However, the bollard was down, so we should have been allowed to enter.  Here is the correspondence from Melinda Eppler of the State Preservation Board:
From: Melinda Eppler 
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:46 AM
To: 'donkeys.can.do.@gmail.com'
Subject: January 18 Capitol Visit

Good morning,

We spoke last Friday about your January 18 visit to the Capitol. I was looking over your website and after seeing the photos, I have a few concerns.

The primary concern, is that the donkey/wagon will not fit through our security bollards and therefore, it will not be able to come onto the Capitol grounds. 

I would suggest you consider pulling the wagon up to Brazos - outside the Capitol's east gate, in the bus unloading area. 

Here is a map indicating the location of the bus unloading area:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank you!
Mindy Eppler
State Preservation Board

Miss Abby
Jan 17 (3 days ago)

to Stephanie, Karen, Melinda 
It will fit, it is very narrow, and much smaller than appears in the photo. What is the distance between the bollards? This is a wagon reduced in scale to replicate a buckboard. It is miniture. I fit through a 4' wide opening at the Artwalk in Alpine. 

Marjorie Farabee

Miss Abby
Jan 17 (3 days ago)

to Johnny, Melinda, Karen, Stephanie 
I just went to the ranch and measured. It is exactly 4' 1" between the wheels.

Melinda Eppler Melinda.Eppler@tspb.state.tx.us
Jan 17 (2 days ago)

to me 
Good afternoon,

Thanks for the information on the measurement. If it will not fit through the bollards, please keep in mind that we cannot lower them to accommodate access. 

Also, as we discussed, please be sure the animals stay on the asphalt and do not venture on to the grass or limestone walkways.

Thank you!
Mindy Eppler
State Preservation Board

As you can see, the bollard WAS down, and did not have to be lowered. They blocked my access with the police car.

Marjorie had to make a choice then.  She asked volunteers who were unprepared to make a statement to Dewhurst or Perry to take the petition to his (Dewhurst's) office.  Amazingly, Gayle-Suzanne Barron and Tammie Hillis winged it well!  Way to go League!  (link)

Marjorie and I had to drive our wagon back 3 blocks, unhitch, and return which kept us from the media and making our prepared statement to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.  I, Miss Abby, helped her with this delivery statement that we unfortunately were kept from making, but we learned for our up coming protest, that we cannot trust Austin.  We wanted to tell him that we have a dream.  We have a dream that wildlife will be protected and that burros will be respected and left un-harassed in Big Bend Ranch State Park.  We have a dream that studies will be conducted, and the people who live in the area will be able to at last promote their wild burros. We dream that the local people's wishes will be respected.  People love them, and if they are allowed to promote the wild burro the people will come.  We have a dream that if Texas Parks and Wildlife will accept that the burros belong, and they start to practice holistic range practices,(link) the ecosystem will flourish.  We will all benefit from the health established by using science.  We dream of the day when observation stations are constructed, and the people's wishes to see these remarkable animals living wild were they have always lived, will be respected.  We are not giving up on that dream.  Donkeys can do.

We were required by Perry's office to provide a fax of our request to deliver the petitions to his office, which we did.  His office ignored the request, thereby denying our ability to deliver to his office.  This letter asked for mercy for our burros.  We asked him to work with us, and we got no response.  The State Preservation Board who is directly in touch with the Governor stood in opposition to our efforts to save this magnificent, rare herd of wild burros for future generations.  The governor continues to defer to the "wisdom" of TPWD to make the "right" decisions, when we have demonstrated that they are making a mockery of land stewardship. No scientist worth his salt would approve the removal of any species, much less half a dozen, without conducting comprehensive studies.  Yet, TPWD is doing exactly that which means they are playing Russian roulette with our lives.  This is too important to ignore, and the good people of Texas, our Country and around the world are asking you to put a stop to it.  Governor Perry, it is a coward who leaves controversial decisions to be made by others.  The buck stops with you, sir.  We are not going away, because our planet is ultimately at risk by the loss of this ecosystem that encompasses 5 million acres.  The burros are complementing these lands on which they have traveled for millions of years.  They belong, they are needed for the health of these precious lands.  It is time to take selfish out of government, and start looking at governance for the people, not for the few.

Our treatment by your government appointed personnel was appalling, and culminated when John Sneed who heads the State Preservation Board, came out of the building and verbally attacked my friend Marjorie.  He frightened me, and I wanted to flee.  But, he told Marjorie that if she could not control her animal she would have to leave.  He was so mean, but when he said that, I knew I had to be brave and stand by her side.  She was so scared she backed up a step from him.  His face was contorted, and his body language was aggressive, as he told us to clean up the poop.  He, he, he, he I had to laugh when Marjorie said "Well, sir, the poop bucket was on the wagon you would not let in!  Ha!  He got more ugly, and Marjorie then said, "Hey, this man is harassing me, is anyone getting this on film?"  When the cameras turned on him, he turned and left, what a coward.  But, of course, cowards attack women and donkeys, don't they?
Showdown at the Capitol~NPR
(When you listen to this clip you will hear a remark about Nancy, who they stated was "being stubborn".  The fact was, that she was waiting for Marjorie, and when we both returned she moved right along, after remaining stuck in place for 30 minutes.  Loyalty is often overlooked when people discuss our marvelous traits.)