Guns and Anarchy in Greensburg, KS

Here is an interesting blog entry about how Lawrence Kansas young adults are being turned away by the Greensburg  police when they arrived in their vegetable oil-burning jalopies to see if they could help out this tornado devastated town. Apparently these long-hairs wanted to access the situation and return with the appropriate gear and people to help.  They also wanted to know how the people in the Greensburg prison were being treated. Here are their accounts:

Here is an account of what happened next:

After touring the town and talking with people, the four anarchists helped a family completely clear out their basement of belongings and debris. Once the basement was empty, the anarchists say that the family thanked them profusely and asked them to bring back “fifty more” people from Lawrence to help clear debris in Greensburg.

The anarchists said they would.The next weekend, Saturday, May 15, the anarchists returned to Greensburg, this time with five members. Though the anarchists are notoriously wary of “the man,” they knew that in order to be the most effective and helpful, they’d have to follow protocol to get back into the town, which was effectively under martial law. They checked in with the Kiowa County Emergency Response Command Post to receive official permission to set up their relief efforts.  They were given a day pass that allowed them to drive in and out of the city—the town was only open to people between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.―and then the group sought out Mennonite Disaster Relief Services, figuring that the local church would have a better handle on what aid the native population needed than would one of the many federal organizations operating in the city.

“Their church was destroyed,” said KMA member Jordan Ferrand-Sapsis, “but they treated us very warmly and seemed glad to see us. They seemed happy to have the hands. They showed us a place where we could store our supplies and tools.”

The group then trekked over to a Red Cross tent to pick up water and sandwiches that were being offered to relief workers.

That’s when the anarchists say they were approached by police officer Ty Moeder of the Olathe Police force and told to leave the city and not return. While the anarchists attempted to negotiate with officer Moeder, they say that an Officer McNemee of the Lawrence Police Department began taking photos of the inside and outside of their car.

At first, says Ferrand-Sapsis, she thought the officers were simply irked that the anarchists were taking food from the Red Cross. But as they talked with the officers, she says it became clear that the police knew exactly who they were and viewed the group as a security threat. According to Strano, Officer Moeder stated that the group was to have been turned back at the road block before even reaching Greensburg and couldn’t figure out how they’d gotten as far as they had.

Then, says Ferrand-Sapsis, the officers convinced the group that they’d better leave because if they were to be arrested, it might not be so easy to get out of jail. “They made comments like ‘they’re not giving people bail right now,’ like it might be a long, sticky arrest and you might get lost in the system kind of thing. They definitely made it sound as if it wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill arrest. And it did sound like a threat.”

Here is the anarchist’s account continued:

 As far as the people in the Greensburg jail are concerned:

 I told Stejskal about the story I was working on, explaining who the anarchists were and how they’d been thrown out of Greensburg. I mentioned that one of their concerns was the Greensburg prisoners. Stejskal laughed a little, saying that there’s usually only one person in the Greensburg jail and the nighttime jail keeper is a single mom.

Most people in Lawrence see the Anarchists as a group of harmless idealistic hippies who need to get a real job.


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Filed under Kansas, mission, News

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