Appalachian Basin

Afton’s Tangled Webs

Sir Walter Scott once stated, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  I learned to appreciate the truth of that line recently when a group of anti-gas activists practiced some deception to temporarily secure the use of the local VFW in Afton, New York to hold an anti-gas rally.  Unfortunately because they failed to tell the non-political VFW the real purpose of the meeting, the local Commander cancelled it.  One would think this would have been enough to make them think twice about showing up unwelcomed, but if we have learned one thing about the anti-gas opposition, it is that they don’t believe in saying they’re sorry.
The Afton VFW has prided itself in avoiding political issues.  Their mission, simply put, is limited to supporting veterans of foreign wars and their families.  As one way of gaining income, the organization rents their venue for private non-political events and when the Post Commander was approached by an anti-gas activist to book a “a private event,” it was scheduled.  Later, however, the Post Commander learned the purpose of the event, and its highly controversial nature, and revoked the rental agreement.  How did the anti’s react?  They held the event anyway, demonstrating, in a way that few others could, the “my way or no way” philosophy of the anti-gas movement.

Unfortunately for the organizer of the anti-natural gas event her group had already paid for a full, front page, three color advertisement in the local Pennysaver. The ad was placed in the paper on the Tuesday before the event and as soon as it published the Post Commander began receiving complaints and he quickly realized he had been deceived in regards to the purpose of the event. By 8:30 pm, Tuesday night, he called the woman who made the arrangements and cancelled the event but the antis, of course, still showed up, refusing to take “no” for an answer.  Although the meeting was “held as planned” according to one gas opponent, only eight people showed up assembling the sidewalk in front of the VFW.

The event organizer, making the situation worse, never told anyone the meeting was cancelled.  Instead, she argued that she had shown up to inform people it was cancelled but this is disproved by the sign she posted on the door of the VFW. 
Where does this leave us?  Well, things are now back to normal in Afton (my home town, by the way) but the anti-gas folks are out $1,100 for an advertisement that attracted a total of eight people, offended the VFW, wasted valuable State Police time and angered pretty much the entire community.  A few more gems like this and the wave of discontent may be too much for even the anti community to handle.
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