A Turbulent Cruz in Frederick

Yesterday, Thursday April 21st, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his entourage made a stop along their campaign trail at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick, Maryland.

I arrived at about 7:30am and TV crews I spoke to reported being on scene as early as 4:30am who shot live cut-in’s intermittently through the morning.  FOX, NBC, CBS, and the Frederick News Post, among many other news outlets arrived as 10:30am, Cruz’s scheduled appearance time, drew near.

I wasn’t quite sure why I, a liberal who is feeling very ambivalent in this election, decided to attend the rally and take some photos but it seemed like such an unlikely place for Cruz to visit that it felt like something worth checking out.

I noticed the first protestors appear around 9am.  An older woman with a kind smile and a sign incited one tediously groomed Cruz campaign member to confront her angrily then turn and walk off when another protestor suggested that they could have a peaceful discussion about the woman’s sign.

© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016  Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission

This second protestor was “Ryan”, as he introduced himself to someone asking “And who are YOU to say these things?!”  Ryan did not carry a sign but rather stood outside the Weinberg and warmly moderated discussions between sides with sincere handshakes and encouraging smiles.  I am told that Ryan is a veteran whose perspective was changed by his time serving our country.

© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr,  please do not copy without permission

Once inside the Weinberg, I stood in the press box with the other photogs including FNP’s Bill Green whose photos I’ve always admired.  I felt a bit outclassed despite my matching Cruz logo-emblazoned press badge, which allowed me free access around the venue.  The other shooters were unshaven, road weathered pros with beat up camera bags to match.  Their pro level Canon and Nikon DSLRs hung low at their sides with foot long lenses mounted like heavy artillery.  I must have looked lost standing there with my perfectly clean, nearly new camera bag and carefully cared-for vintage 35mm cameras with short lenses which required me to get closer to the action.

While waiting for things to get started, I noticed men in black suits wearing ear plugs walking two people towards the exit.  That is when someone I’d later come to know as 16 year old James Van Kuilenburg, shouted to the photographers “Hey!  Are you guys press?!  I’m transgender and they’re kicking me out!  They won’t tell me the reason but I’m transgender and they’re kicking me out!”

The videographers and journalists were in a different section of the theatre, far enough away that they probably didn’t see what was going on.  The rest of the photogs, as I recall just looked at one another unsure of what to do with their fast, heavily automated cameras.  I swung my Leica up to my eye and began shooting.  Just to be clear, in this image, James was  yelling to the press over the din in the Weinberg.  Prior to calling us, he was not being loud or aggressive, at least from the time I began to observe him.  (EDITORS NOTE:  It has come to my attention that the gentleman in the hat to the right in the image below is Greg, the TD at the Weinberg.  He, in  no way has anything to do with the removal and happened to be passing through this area at the time of incident.  The exact identity of the gentleman holding James is yet unknown.  I got the impression that he was with Cruz but Cruz denies this.)

© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission

Outside the Weinberg, James Van Kuilenburg told his story to the Frederick News Post:

I stayed inside to photograph Cruz who appeared on stage following speeches and a 2 minute propaganda video which were welcomed with standing enthusiasm by the obviously filtered audience.

© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission

After his speech, Cruz descended into the audience for personal greetings and photos with the audience who were of diverse look but predominantly white and sprinkled with many very small, pre-school and early school age children who clapped in excitement to mimic their parents.  During his speech, Cruz cited the presence of strong youth support.

I worked my way against the rushing crowd towards the exit in order to see what had been developing outside the rally.  As I was walking through the lobby, an unkept looking man extended a flyer to me while mumbling something about hosting a fight and that he would get me in the front if I’d like to come.  I declined and found my friend and contact at the Weinberg.  We discussed the incident with James.  She pointed out that the heavy police presence were unable to do anything since this is considered a private gathering and there was no violence.

As I made my way outside, to the sound of a saxophone and talking, a father opened the door beside me and said to his young boy “Oh look, radical extremist protestors, isn’t that nice?!”

© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission
© 2016 Johnny Martyr | www.JohnnyMartyr.com
© 2016 Johnny Martyr, please do not copy without permission

WHAG also interviewed James, however I did not observe any of the major news outlets interview, get footage of or photograph him at all during the event.  This morning as I search James Van Kuilenburg on Google, I do not see any reports about him from major news outlets.  Yet these teams were on site as early as 4:30 in the morning and had presence well after I’d left.  Where are the liberal news media today?

Please read and share James’ post about this incident on Facebook.

MartyrByMurdock
Photo of Johnny Martyr courtesy of Andrew Murdock, please do not copy without permission
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8 thoughts on “A Turbulent Cruz in Frederick

  1. Thank you for this report. I am James’ mother and I am very proud of his actions yesterday. Again..thank you for sharing his story.

  2. MEN IN BLACK SUITS WEARING EAR PLUGS?
    THIS STORY RINGS WEIRD. WHERE EXACTLY WAS THIS PHOTOJOURNALIST STANDING WAITING FOR THINGS TO GET STARTED? DID THE PHOTJOURNALIST SIGN IN WITH THE CHIEF JUDGES? WERE ANY PHOTOS TAKEN? DID THE MEN IN BLACK SUITS WITH THE EAR PLUGS WALKING PEOPLE TOWARDS THE EXIT SIGN IN WITH THE CHIEF JUDGES? THIS DOES NOT SOUND AS IF IT CONFORMS WITH MARYLAND ELECTION LAW? IS THERE AN ENTRY LOGGED BY EITHER OF THE CHIEF JUDGES IN THEIR LOG THAT RECORDS THIS INCIDENT? IS THIS A HOAX? HAS THE FREDERICK BOARD OF ELECTIONS COMMENTED ON THIS? I’VE BEEN SERVING AS AN ELECTION JUDGE IN ONE CAPACITY OR ANOTHER INCLUDING EARLY ELECTIONS SINCE 2007. I’VE NEVER HEARD OF MEN IN BLACK SUITS WITH EAR PHONES BEING PERMITTED ANYWHERE WITHIIN THE POLLROOM – OR ACTUALLY BEING PRESENT AT ALL. ALSO MARYLAND DOES NOT ‘THROW’ PEOPLE OUT; ANY PERSON WHO CLAIMS TO BE A CITIZEN OF THE STATE AND REGISERED TO VOTE IS PERMITTED TO CAST A BALLOT; IF THEY ARE NOT IN THE STATE DATABASE (THE POLLBOOKS) OR THERE ARE IRREGULARITIES (WRONG PARTY, WRONG STREET ADDRESS, NAME MISPELLED OR NAME CHANGED, BELIEVED REGISTERED OUT OF STATE AS WELL, CHALLENGED BY AN OFFICIALLY REGISTERED CHALLENGER FOR IDENTITY REASONS, AND SOME OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE GOOFS (WHETHER DUE TO A BOARD OF ELECTIONS ERROR, A DMV ERROR, OR VOTER ERROR, OR THE VOTER SIMPLY IS IN HE WRONG LOCATION AND STILL WANTS TO VOTE, (S)HE IS GIVEN A PROVISIONAL (PAPER) BALLOT WITH AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY. IF THE VOTER WAS, IN FACT, PROPERLY REGISTERED AS OF APRIL 5 (THE CUTOFF DATE WAS 3 WEEKS BEFORE PRIMARY), THAT INDIVIDUAL’S VOTE WILL COUNT. IT IS COMPLETELY ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY VOTER FOR ANY REASON – INCLUDING BEING LGBT. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. AND NO ONE IS JUST REFUSED. IF WE GIVE YOU 3 BALLOTS AND YOU ARE UNABLE TO COMPLETE ANY OF THE 3, THEN WE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO GIVE YOU A 4TH TRY. BUT IF YOU MESS UP ONE, WE WORK WITH YOU – WE WILL APPOINT 2 JUDGES FROM OPPOSING PARTIES IF NEEDED TO ASSIST YOU IN MARKING YOUR BALLOT – OR ALLOW YOU TO USE WHAT IS CALLED A BALLOT MARKING DEVICE (AN ELECTRONIC BALLOT MARKER) THAT CAN BE SET FOR BRAILLE, BACKGROUND CONTRAST CHANGED OR ENLARGED, SET FOR HUFF AND PUFF, HAS HEADPHONES WITH ADJUSTIBLE VOLUME CONTROLS THAT ACT AS A HEARING AID – OR YOU MAY BRING ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 17 TO ASSIST YOU IN MARKING YOUR BALLOT. THIS STORY SOUNDS CRAZY.

    1. C. Thomas Boone, why did you type in all caps?

      This was not a voting event, it was a rally. This event took place at a local theatre, not a poll room. Please read thoroughly before commenting. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have once you understand the actual event and perhaps do not type in all caps as if to imply you are yelling.

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