Keep Them Down

Keep Them Down

Luke Rudkowski is your every-day, garden variety scapegoat.

The 22-year old is a slender and clean-cut figure who typically wears a business jacket and tie in public and keeps his hair short and his face clean-shaven. He is certainly not the visual you’d expect of a thug, a violent person or a criminal.

Yet, on March 28, 2009, Rudkowski – along with two of his fellow activists – was detained in a hotel lobby in Manhattan by security workers for New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The three were then arrested, held for several hours and charged with criminal trespass. This was even though Rudkowski asked security to allow him to leave the premises and was, instead, detained. Rudkowski was even told that he would be charged with ‘impersonating a member of the press’, even though he carried credentials on his person.

Rudkowski and his compatriots, Anthony Verias and Manny Valencia, were not harassing patrons of the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. Likewise, they were not destroying property, publically intoxicated, disturbing the peace or exposing themselves to passersby in the hotel lobby. They were there only to attempt to secure an interview with Mayor Bloomberg.

And yet, this simple act, guaranteed as a right under the First Amendment to the Constitution, got them tossed into the clink like three surly crack dealers.

You see, Rudkowski, Verias and Valencia are all volunteer members of a non-profit organization called WeAreChange. As such, Rudkowski has become a philanthropist of sorts, conducting fund-raising activities to help offset the medical expenses incurred by first responders who have suffered profound medical complications after the events of September 11, 2001.

Though great sums of money were raised some years ago to benefit police, firefighters, emergency healthcare providers and the like, not much has made it into their hands. It is with that in mind that Rudkowski has worked tirelessly to find them respite and justice. As a part of that effort, he oftentimes questions those in government who he feels owe the responders a clear and concise explanation. Because of that, Rudkowski has become a surface nuisance.

WeAreChange is also part of the 9/11 truth movement – a ground-swelling of individuals, scientists, architects, pilots and pathologists who believe that the United States government’s official account of the events of September 11, 2001 are either bogus, flawed or intentionally false. He and his mates have been chronicled in the Alex Jones film, Truth Rising, and are active in handing out collateral materials that support their organization’s call for an independent investigation.

You may or may not agree with Mr. Rudkowski. It doesn’t matter.

These people embody the very spirit of rebellion and patriotism. And.. they’re doing it for complete strangers.

Rudkowski, Verias and Valencia have – effectively – taken one for the team. While a court date has been scheduled and WeAreChange are hurriedly working to find legal defense funding for the three, the time for questioning those who serve the citizenry is certainly here and now. These three men were not arrested for illegal actions. They were made an example of, harassed and improperly detained.

Say what you like about the 9/11 truth movement. Disagree all you wish. But, these young people have reached out to the rest of us, work for the good of those involved on that horrific day and have been made targets of the authorities… all because they challenge what they see.

Rudkowski and his mates could face stiff time and fines if found guilty. Within hours of their incarcerations, the online communities and social networks were ablaze with outrage over the arrests. Oddly enough, the media fell utterly silent.

This is a tremendous and vicious hindrance on the rights of the individual to free press, free speech and liberty in general. And – whether you like where Rudkowski is coming from or not – you should be offended.

I suspect you will hear a bunch more about these three young men and the tribulations they go through now that they have been targeted as criminals for invoking their rights. I also suspect the three video tapes that were confiscated from them by the NYPD will disappear like virginity on prom night.

But, stay tuned. If we know anything from this country’s history or our own personal challenges, we do know this: you can’t keep a good man down.

Mar 31st by Pamela Hennessy :