Escambia County Pensacola Politics

Possible battle brewing on ‘Open Gaetz Day’

February 6, 2017

The Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club is planning a protest on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Grover T’s BBQ in Milton when Congressman Matt Gaetz gives a legislative update to constituents as part of his “Open Gaetz Day.”

On Facebook, club members explained the protest:

“Gaetz has just drafted a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of 2018. We need the EPA to protect us, our air and water, yet Gaetz would create chaos and endanger us because regulations stand in the way of his Republican plans. He stands with the climate change denying GOP.

“Gaetz has also co-sponsored legislation to limit the powers of federal regulators. Gaetz fully supports Trump’s immigration ban and the building of the wall netween the United States and Mexico.

“Gaetz stated while campaigning that he wants to abolish the Department of Education and to end our relationship with the United Nations.

“Gaetz is working to repeal Obama Care.

“We knew Gaetz was going to be another regressive GOP lawmaker, following in the footsteps of Jeff Miller. Yet it looks like he is planning to be even worse for our country. He does not represent the people of Northwest Florida. Protest and let’s send him home in 2018!”

The protest drew criticism from Geoff Ross, who identified himself as being part of the Santa Rosa Militia.

Ross described the Democratic women’s group as “The Communist Democrat Party of Escambia County” and called the protestors “marxists.”

“I will be mustering up the militia forces at 10:30 a.m.,” wrote Ross on Facebook. “I need all patriots in attendance to protect Congressman Gaetz from any potential disruption of his speech. Concealed carry permit holders most welcome – don’t forget your ammo.”

He added, “We support the right of protesters to protest but we must prepare a defensive posture for Congressman Gaetz. These Marxists have shown a propensity for violence at their protests across this nation – we will be there with the Sherriff to ensure force protection of our Congressman.”

The Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club participated in the local women’s march and the immigration protest at the Pensacola International Airport last month. Both protests were peaceful.

Inweekly contacted Kavontae Smalls, communications director for Rep. Gaetz.

We know protesters are expected to come … to which extent is in the air at this point,” he said.
“We are working on arrangements to ensure safety is not an issue on Feb. 23.”

Democratic Women’s Club President Dianne Krumel told Inweekly she has reported Ross’s comments to the FBI, Pensacola Police, and Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

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  • Catherine February 7, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I think it’s really funny that Neo-cons don’t think Progressives own weapons. Or carry. Go ahead and threaten – you don’t scare me.

  • Sarah G February 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I think it’s important to add that in a Facebook post, Matt Gaetz called Geoff Ross a “friend”. Gaetz posted, “Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in a peaceful, non-disruptive manner. That is exactly what my friend Geoff Ross intends to do. My liberal friends should know that not every gathering of Republicans exercising their rights is dangerous.”

  • James Scaminaci III February 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    On August 25, 2015, I wrote a threat assessment at my blog on Geoff Ross based on writings he had posted on the Internet. I would add that it is noteworthy that militiamen like Ross cannot debate any public policy issues on the merits. All they can do is call for “Second Amendment” solutions. He certainly (and whatever militiamen show up) wants to chill, discourage, and possibly even suppress the First Amendment rights of Escambia County residents who want to peacefully assemble and have a redress of grievances. As a twenty-year veteran, I will not be intimidated by two-bit militiamen.

    Here are the conclusions I wrote:

    It would be easy to dismiss Geoff Ross as a fabulist and fantasist. Certainly, his claims to being a spy, hanging out with CIA operators, having CIA sources, and having operational control of a Special Operations element consisting of Special Ops retirees would almost certainly qualify him as a nutter, as the British would say. One might say that his grasp on reality is tenuous at best.

    But, he is also a person who is filled with anger and motivated by conspiracy theories about Agenda 21 (here, here, and here)–the belief that global elites operating through the United Nations are seeking to control American soil and enslave Americans. He is also a firm believer that President Obama is an illegitimate president, as well as a communist Muslim.

    In May 2011, Ross published a letter in the Northwest Florida Daily News. It was so unusual that the daily quoted from it a few months later: “‘The elephants and the donkeys have procreated the bastard son of Satan, and this creation has morphed into a collective headed by a communist Muslim called Barack Hussein Obama. … The Antichrist has arrived and he is prepared to destroy the United States!'”

    In December 2013, Ross called on the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service, and other federal law enforcement agencies, “to stand down and refuse to initiate any actions against we the people.” This demand was predicated on the assertions that “his father was a Kenyan/Marxist/Muslim disqualifies him from holding the office of president.” Ross went on to claim that President Obama has “no constitutional authority for protection from you due to his constant evisceration of the US constitution, his illegal status in the country and his relationship with illegal immigrants infesting this nation. We must also include his treasonous association with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas and his arming of Al Qaeda forces in Syria.”

    In July 2015, Ross called on conservative Christians and Republicans to “Buy more weapons and ammunition. You will need them one day. Maybe not today or next month or next year, but—trust me—you will need to be well armed and prepared to protect this nation and your families from the satanic communist forces that are massing and scheming to take us down.”

    Ross uses dehumanizing and eliminationist-type rhetoric when talking about Democrats and liberals. He has claimed to have some unspecified association with an as yet unidentified “Santa Rosa militia.” He has claimed to have operational control of a Special Operations element consisting of retired operators.

    In the past few years we have come to understand and realize that angry white men with guns motivated by anti-government hatred, fear, paranoia, and a sense that the federal government poses an existential threat to them personally induced by conspiracy theories are indicators of a potential threat to innocent people attending a political gathering, watching a Hollywood blockbuster, or attending Bible study in a church. That does not mean that Geoff Ross is a potential terrorist. No indicator list can determine or predict who specifically will commit a terrorist act or when he will commit such an act.

    But Geoff Ross certainly bears watching as a person of interest–especially since he indicated that he may attend the event in Pensacola put on by groups he feels are part of an extensive communist conspiracy to enslave him that reaches all the way up to the Oval Office. He already feels that the U.S. Constitution does not exist and that he must reclaim both the Constitution and his country.

  • L. Laird February 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Geoff Ross, who identified himself as being part of the Santa Rosa Militia, So stated that his group “ we will be there with the Sheriff to ensure force protection of our Congressman.” So, is Ross stating that the Sheriff of Santa Rose is a card carrying member of this hate Militia?? Question: Who will be protecting the members of the Escambia Democrat Woman’s Club?