By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire
It’s been said that when it comes to news reporting, there’s nothing better than getting out on the road. What a road it’s been.
Since joining the GMN double-wide RV (broadcasting studio on wheels) on May 29th in Las Vegas, we’ve reported from the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, before cutting across Northern Arizona, over to Albuquerque, New Mexico to bear witness to the true horrors of government-run healthcare from US veterans under the hammer of a dysfunctional VA healthcare system, and then up into the mountains overlooking Alamogordo, New Mexico, to investigate first-hand another standoff between local cattle ranchers and US federal government over land and water rights. After that the tour took an unexpected turn…
After Alamogordo and leaving Las Cruces, New Mexico, the GMN research team began feeding us real-time news alerts about an immigration crisis boiling over in Arizona, so we decided to make a bee line for the Greyhound bus station in Tucson, Arizona, hoping to catch the federal government dumping off refugees that night. About 100 miles west of Las Cruces at about 3pm, a small detachment of Harley steel wheels heading west pulled up alongside the GMN bus, signaling for us to pull over. GMN radio host Pete Santilli was on driving duty and initially crowed, “Hell no. I’m not pulling over, I don’t know these guys”. As a colorful shock-jock, Pete has been known to attract all sorts of fans – and foes, and with GMN recently declared domestic terrorists (or tourists) by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, we knew the bus was a potential magnate of controversy. But Pete really seemed more concerned with keeping our timetable and making to Tucson by dark. We and GMN’s head of security, Ken from Michigan, agreed that the riders must have recognized the GMN signage on our bus and had something important to tell us – what else would a gaggle of bikers want with an RV plastered with gorillas with guns for signage?
Not taking no for an answer, bikers pulled up alongside us in the breakdown lane pointing to a gas station off the next exit. We decided to pull off. It turns out that the bikers were led by one John Harrington – the founder of Shield Tactical, a successful firearms business out of Shiner, Texas. John told us his story and how he was hoping to gather support for his mission to bring more awareness to the plight of a U.S. Marine who he believed is unlawfully sweating it out in a Mexican prison on a dubious cross gun possession charge. We interviewed John on camera, edited it the next day, and the video immediately went viral on YouTube with 100,000 views in only 4 days. This led to an impromptu protest ride on June 14th with 50 Harley riders and drivers to the Tijuana crossing, and we went along for the ride with them. It was enough to attract coverage by every major San Diego broadcast network affiliate on the day, but everyone who showed up agreed that this was just a warm-up and that another bigger protest ride would have to take place on ‘Cinco de Julio’ on July 5th, now only 3 days away.