09-19-2001

01NR28 - MRF Office Closed Until Further Notice

Motorcycle Riders Foundation – E-MAIL NEWS RELEASE
PO BOX 1808, Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice) 202-546-0986 (fax)
wyld@mrf.org (e-mail) http://www.mrf.org (website)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tom Pauley
September 16, 2001 #01-29 Phone: 202-546-0983

Effective immediately, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation office in Washington, DC will be closed until further notice. In light of the national emergency that is taking place, and in keeping with the government's request to keep the phone lines clear, please do not try to contact the office. Preparations for the upcoming Meeting of the Minds will continue, but the DC office will be closed for the time being.
Beverly Waters and Tom Wyld are fine. They both made it into the office this morning, but have since left and, for safety's sake, will not return for an indefinite period of time.
Please join us in keeping the family members and friends of the thousands of victims of this senseless tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.
Teri Hobbs, Assistant Director of Communications, MRF


THE FOLLOWING IS A NOTE FROM TOM WYLD REGARDING HIS OBSERVATIONS IN WASHINGTON:


Capitol Hill has been evacuated, with Members and their staffs having left for home. Stores and restaurants on Pennsylvania Avenue are closed, and I get the feeling we are on some enormous sound stage for a movie.


Sadly, with 10,000 dead in New York City, this is no movie.


At about 9 this morning, I walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue hoping to catch a few staffers as I had heard some offices were closing. I heard wrong. Instead, I watched oceans of people pour from federal buildings here, as the Mayor had declared a state of emergency and the Sergeant at Arms had ordered the evacuation of the Congress of the United States. By noon, the streets around the Capitol Hill were all but deserted save for reporters and law enforcement officers.


Police cordoned off a one-block area around the House and Senate buildings, the Supreme Court and the Capitol Building. The barricade is one block from the MRF office, on East Capitol Street, N.E., and Second Street where some12 reporters spent most of the day. There, the reality begins to sink in when you hear reporters drop the words "Pearl Harbor"


At this time (4 p.m.), there are still about 6 video cameras sitting in the middle of East Capitol Street, all trained eerily on the dome of the Capitol Building. Still another camera and crew are atop the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, MRF's neighbor a few doors down, similarly trained on the dome.Customarily a friendly lot, the Capitol Police stationed at the entrances to the Supreme Court are stern-faced today, all armed with fully-automatic rifles and short-barrelled pump-action shotguns.


As the networks covered a Pentagon aflame, the billowing smoke was visible for miles. One network camera positioned near the White House was trained across the river on the smoke from the Pentagon; in the foreground of that shot was the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where MRF took ABATE of Illinois to visit the President's domestic policy staff.Times have changed so radically, so swiftly, it's difficult to view that building in the same way.


Perhaps the strangest part of the scene today, though, is sound --- particularly the sound of fighter aircraft patrolling the skies above the nation's capitol. Other than the occasional police chopper, you just don't hear aircraft of any kind in the skies over D.C., as the air space over the White House and Capitol Hill is restricted. About 10 a.m. I heard what I thought was the sound of an explosion that seemed to emanate from the area down toward the Rayburn House Office Building. Several others on the street heard it, too; we soon dismissed it as a sonic boom, but it gets you looking, listening. Anytime a plane was heard somewhere overhead, crews at Second and East Capitol would hurriedly man their cameras, look through the lenses at the Capitol Building, and wait. Then a cameraman would say, "It's one of ours," and the crews would stand down.


Two AP reporters were walking down our street hoping to use someone's land-line phone to call their office. (The cell phone system in D.C. has gone crazy, I'm told; landlines are not much better.) I invited them to our office; turns out I had worked for years with one of the reporters while at NRA. While walking around the block to grab lunch from the only establishment on Pennsylvania Avenue that remained opened, she and I happened upon several Members of Congress, and she asked for their comments. Florida's Curt Weldon was on fire as he said that the first duty of the Federal Government is the defense of the United States. "Politicians have been bull-shitting the American people," he said repeatedly (exact quote). Weldon was sharply critical of the intelligence establishment. He had just come from a security briefing by the U.S. Capitol Police, conducted at an undisclosed location. Weldon was outraged that the Capitol Police received no intelligence heads-up whatsoever. Members of Congress (and the Capitol Police as well) learned that the United States was under attack by watching CNN. "Outrageous," he said, "and it will not stand."


The AP reporter also interviewed Senator and Mrs. Grassley of Iowa on 3rd Street, a few doors down from MRF. The Senator used the phrase "act of war, but it was Mrs. Grassley who provided the reporter her favorite quote. I'll paraphrase: these people think that by killing other people along with themselves, they will meet God. Today, they will realize they are wrong.


Even if we've seen the last of the attacks, things will change radically in Washington. Agendas are being rewritten and debated in the nearby homes of staffers and Members. Before Congress returns, every inch of House and Senate office buildings will be thoroughly searched for bombs. New security precautions will be instituted.Thus, it will be days before Capitol Hill resumes business as usual. And, judging from what we heard today, business as usual in Washington is certain to be a thing of the past.


I have several letters going out, hopefully tomorrow, to various officials within the Administration urging new action on the issues of EPA, health care and traffic safety -- issues where there is considerable distance between us and the Administration. I expect to close each letter with these words: "I hope we can work together to eradicate the distance between us on these issues. Despite our distance, however, the bikers of America love our nation and support our President in this time of crisis, and we ask that you assure him of our prayers as he leads America through this dark hour."

Tom Wyld
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- MRF: My Ride is Freedom -

The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.

All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: wyld@mrf.org, website: http://www.mrf.org


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