Main Entry: 1pi·geon
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French pygoun, pijun, from Late Latin pipion-, pipio young bird, from Latin pipire to chirp
1 : any of a widely distributed family (Columbidae, order Columbiformes) of birds with a stout body, rather short legs, and smooth and compact plumage; especially : a member of any of numerous varieties of the rock dove that exist in domestication and in the feral state in cities and towns throughout most of the world
2 : a young woman
3 : an easy mark : DUPE
4 : CLAY PIGEON
One of the laws of poker is that if you can’t spot the pigeon at a poker table within five minutes–it’s probably you.
Folks like Ted Stampley make their living on this assumption. They’ve discovered there’s money to be had in political activism.
On 17 March, there will be anti-war rallies in various US cities, including Washington, DC. Ted Sampley can smell money.
He displayed a similar attitude toward a fight he instigated against Jan Scruggs of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Scruggs is the man who came up with the idea to erect the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington; he is now president of the fund that administers the memorial, a wall containing the names of service members killed in Vietnam. The wall has an accompanying statue, titled The Three Servicemen.
The trouble between Sampley and Scruggs began when Sampley acquired a public demonstration permit from the National Park Service that allowed vigils and other gatherings on federal land. Sampley set up what he said was a POW vigil booth along the walkway leading to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Its outward purpose was to hold an ongoing vigil for missing servicemen, but its location made it ideal for reaching a tailor-made market of service families, veterans, and other citizens paying respect to fallen warriors. Sampley stocked his vigil booth with POW paraphernalia, such as bumper stickers, badges, and flags, plus pamphlets, copies of his newspaper, and a bevy of T-shirts and other souvenirs bearing the likeness of The Three Servicemen.
Scruggs was offended that Sampley would turn the memorial into a self-serving commercial opportunity. Scruggs was even more disturbed that Sampley would market images of The Three Servicemen. The copyright to the statue is owned jointly by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the sculptor, Frederick Hart. All income deriving from the statue’s likeness belongs to the fund and the sculptor. The fund uses its portion of profits to help maintain the memorial. Hart donates his share to a nonprofit group that provides name rubbings and other services to Vietnam veterans and their families.
Hart contacted Sampley and asked that he stop selling the T-shirts. Sampley refused. Hart and Scruggs then asked Sampley to do what other vendors had done: enter into a licensing agreement that would permit him to sell images of the statue. Again, Sampley said no.
Hart and Scruggs threatened litigation, saying they would not file suit if Sampley would enter into an agreement.
Sampley responded in the pages of U.S. Veteran News and Report, using the same tactics he had employed against McCain. He cast aspersions on both Hart and Scruggs, portraying them as greedy scam artists profiteering off the pain of the American people. Sampley targeted Hart in particular as a former antiwar protestor "who had been gassed in ugly confrontations with the police. " Sampley did not mention that Hart kept no royalties for himself, instead printing that the sculptor had made a fortune off the statue. Sampley also recounted the original controversy surrounding the wall designed by Maya Lin (Sampley had been against the design and in 1982 wrote then-Interior Secretary James Watt protesting its funereal nature).
In response to this 17 March anti-war rally, Sampley is promoting what he terms a "Gathering of Eagles."
Leftist activists who march to the Pentagon next month will discover that their path won’t be as clear as it has been in the past.
The group, led by Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, Ramsey Clark and their ilk, plan to gather March 17 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to begin a march to protest America’s involvement in the Iraq war. The date marks the fourth anniversary of the war’s beginning.
This time, however, protestors will see objectors if they spit on Iraqi veterans again, or throw paint on a war memorial. This time, they will encounter a buzz saw of Vietnam veterans and supporters who will gather to protect the Wall, and show their support for U.S. troops. The counter-protestors are calling themselves the Gathering of Eagles.
Of course this absolute nonsense is being promoted by folks like Steve Schippert and others who apparently believe the VietNam Memorial is in some sort of peril by leftist hordes.
The only desecration of the VietNam Memorial will be from this Group of Pigeons.