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Tax protester in hot water over tea bags
by Gary Kent
Apr 15, 2009 | 2785 views | 24 24 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Faye Freeman
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A Beeville grandmother who sent tea bag tabs to Washington and Austin earlier this month found herself at police headquarters Monday answering questions about her intentions.

“I’m just a normal person. I’m a single grandmother raising two granddaughters,” said Faye Freeman Tuesday morning.

So imagine her reaction when Texas Ranger Andy Lopez and Beeville Police Department Staff Sgt. Richard Cantu came to her door Monday and told her they wanted her to go to the police department for questioning.

The reason? Freeman had mailed the tags from 64 tea bags to different elected representatives in Austin and Washington on April 4 to protest government spending. And one of the recipients had called the authorities to report her, saying he or she had received something suspicious in the mail from a woman in Beeville.

“If you were on the receiving end of something like that, what would you think?” Freeman said Lopez asked her.

“If I’d got something like that, I would have called the person back and said, ‘Can I help you?’” was her response.

When investigators asked if she thought she would open a suspicious envelope that had no return address, Freeman said, “The envelope had my return address on it.”

Later she asked this reporter, “How did they find me if there was no return address?”

Freeman was doing what thousands of working taxpayers are doing this month as part of a protest against increased government spending and coming tax increases.

Instead of sending tea bags, the grandmother decided to send the tabs from the bags and use the tea herself.

When she was asked why it was that she did not include a note in the letter explaining why she was sending the tabs, she had a simple answer. “That would have been an awful lot of writing.”

Freeman sent the envelopes to everyone in Washington and Austin she thought might listen. That included President Barack Obama, her U.S. senators and a number of representatives, state senators and representatives.

“When you do something like this you want to cover the chain of command,” she said.

But she never expected lawmen to show up at her door asking her to go downtown.

“I’m really surprised it happened,” Freeman said. “You should have seen my neighbors. I’m just a normal person and when the Texas Rangers came looking for me, they said, ‘Oh my goodness, what’s going on?’”

“I was stunned to start with,” Freeman said. “I didn’t have any idea. They kept assuring me that I wouldn’t be arrested.”

“They were polite. I didn’t have any problems answering their questions,” Freeman commented.

She said she planned to attend the tea party scheduled for the Bee County Courthouse lawn this morning. The entire tea bag tab incident was related to that event, a protest against the government for spending big and taxing big at a time when regular people are trying to make ends meet.

Other Bee County residents also mailed off tea bags to state and national representatives, but unlike Freeman most included a note of explanation with theirs.

“It seems to me that they keep wanting to tax people but they aren’t listening to what we want,” Freeman said. To her, that is taxation without representation, the reason the first tea party was held in Boston at the beginning of the American Revolution.

Lopez said he cannot comment much on the investigation. He said he received a call from someone who was concerned about the letter received from Freeman.

Lopez said he believes if she had included a letter explaining her feelings in the envelope there might not have been a complaint.

“I was asked to look into it, to see if there was anything fishy about it,” Lopez said of the envelope. “I was enlightened by Mrs. Freeman.”

Lopez did suggest that she might have been more clear with her intentions by including a note or letter of some kind. He said that when she said it would have taken a lot of writing to include a letter in each of the 64 envelopes, he simply suggested that she could have written one letter and made copies.

Lopez admitted that he had not kept up with the news regarding the tea party movement but he understands the intent now.

“She’s articulate and she seems sincere and genuine about that,” Lopez said.

As far as the tea bag letters and tea party protests planned for Wednesday across the nation, Lopez said he could understand the intent.

“This is America,” Lopez said. “Whatever makes your boat float.”

Comments
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sumthyngsimilar
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July 13, 2009
YEA!! FAYE!! I know Ms. Freeman and she is a very honest and humble person. She is also very intelligent and knowledgable. She has to keep me updated. She is a very nice person who thinks of others at all times, even though her plate is overflowing. I, too, think she should be commended for a job well done. Bringing attention to the disarray of this nation is not the only issue, what about the security issues? Weren't those envelopes screened before being delivered to such important people? It's too funny that they thought she was such a culprit. Keep up the good work, Faye.
Bitter_Cling
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April 17, 2009
I like my politicians like I like my tea: bitter. It seems that one of the Obamabot politicians took offense to one of the uppity peasants acting as though they have a say in things. How the hell could this be interepreted as "suspicious" mail? The politician (or more likely overzealous staffer) knew damn well what it was about and figured they would "put that right winger in their place." This type of attitude is dangerous and not conducive to a free society.
Beevillecitizen
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April 16, 2009
As I understand it, people from all over the country have been mailing in tea bags (with the tea, not just the tag as Mrs Freeman did) to public officials for several weeks as a tax protest. Seems like the actual tea would cause more concern since it's an actual substance and could have been adulterated than just the paper tag. I'm just curious what made her mailing stand out among the others. I'm not disparaging the Texas Ranger at all, just wondering,"why her?"
anonymous
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April 15, 2009
LOL..I REALLY LIKE THIS LADY FAYE FREEMAN!! =)
donschmidt
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April 15, 2009
With the terrorism & terrorist we allow in America everyone should be concerned. We live in a World where you don't know who to trust.

And that was not an "apology" it was a plain "Sorry I brought it" which cames off as nothing but sarcasm.
donttreadonme
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April 15, 2009
As I recall in the anthrax mailings a return address was included on some, I think it was a Elementary School in New Jersey, it was bogus but still a cause for concern. You can't knock a guy for doing his job to protect and serve. Overall, I think it was handled well.

And made for a great story...
ScottReeseWilley
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April 15, 2009
No need to apologize, David. I get your point. You're not angry at the Ranger, who was doing his job. You wanted to know which lawmaker complained when they received tea bag tabs in the mail. Was it Obama? Ruben Hinojosa? Rick Perry? Sen. Cornyn? Yvonne Gonzales Toureilles? Bee County Judge David Silva? A Bee County commissioner? Beeville Mayor John Fulghum? Who?
serenitynow
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April 15, 2009
Thank you Gary Kent clearing that up for the dim witted individuals.

A Big Thank you for this story!

I got a kick out of Mrs. Freeman, she is a true inspiration.

And have to admit seeing David_Blackmon say he was "Sorry" was the cherry on top!
weneedrain
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April 15, 2009
LOL, I REALLY LIKE THIS ANDY LOPEZ GUY!!! ;)
David_Blackmon
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April 15, 2009
Gary,

I fully understand that, and have no doubt at all that Ranger Lopez was simply doing his job. One does not become a Texas Ranger without exhibiting extraordinary professionalism. As I think I've clearly stated previously on this thread, though a couple of folks here want to ignore it, I just think it's a shame he had to waste his valuable time engaged in such an absurd task. I also think the public official who asked him to do so should have the intestinal fortitude to identify him- or herself and explain why a tab from a tea bag in a mailing envelope was such a frightful thing.

Sorry I brought it up.

David
donschmidt
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April 15, 2009
Surely anyone with any common sense can understand law enforcements position they are doing their job, they can not pick and choose which complaints they're going to investigate. After the anthrax mailings caused several deaths, It would be negligence if they did not investigate the complaint.

I especially liked Lopez's comment....“She’s articulate and she seems sincere and genuine about that,” Lopez said.

“This is America,” Lopez said. “Whatever makes your boat float.”

Lelo
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April 15, 2009
David:

Ranger Lopez, being a professional investigator, wouldn't tell me who filed the report.

And I understood. Andy's really a good guy, a straight shooter. Gotta be. His claim to fame is winning a shootout years ago when he was a DPS trooper on the side of U.S. Highway 77 and a drug smuggler pulled a gun on him and started firing.

You should meet him.

Gary

Beevillecitizen
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April 15, 2009
This attempt to intimidate a private citizen who made no threat to anyone is outrageous. I would hope there would be an editorial in the Bee-Pic regarding this incident. We are living in times that are becoming increasingly scary. When an American citizen is taken in for questioning by local law enforcement and a Texas Ranger for making what is obviously a political statement we should all be concerned.
dreamweaver
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April 15, 2009
Serenitynow, your comments and compliments regarding Mrs. Freeman are correct. And it is kind of you to keep her spirit of justice alive. Not everyone is as kind hearted.

I too, have noticed the comments left by some and I agree it does seem they are always looking to pounce on someones comments and want to agitate and create chaos.

You smile and keep your kind descent comments up don't let the (bully on the block) bother you. They just want someone new to fight with.

AS for Mrs. Freeman you pegged her right she is an honorable woman which makes some out there feel indignant toward others that they aren't as brave and righteous.

I'm in my 70's and this is all new to me, I'm enjoying it for the most part but do find some comments disturbing and I guess I'm too old to understand hateful comments towards others.
David_Blackmon
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April 15, 2009
serentitynow - you really need to take the approach implied by your fake screen name and chill a little. The only person picking a fight here is you.

Apparently, you also need to figure out which story you're responding to before hitting that "post comment" button.

Hilarious. :)
serenitynow
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April 15, 2009
BTW, The whole point of this story was about Government Waste, and this story proves it!

D_B... you did try and deflect the issue and it took three comments before you decided to give Mrs. Freeman the credit she deserves. The oxymoron of it all was the fact that they did send a Texas Ranger out on a witch hunt. It's a shame you didn't get that detail. But it seems you are more concerned with attacking people and trying to start a fight.

Mrs. Freeman went in of her own freewill and she doesn't seem to terribly upset by it she knew she did nothing wrong, As was mentioned before no one would have ever heard of Mrs. Freeman and her good deeds, if the wheels of injustice and government waste had not persuade her.

The fact that they sent TX Rangers out, hits her tea tag protest home!

Mrs. Freeman should be commended for her actions and the dignity she showed throughout the ordeal. I'm afraid others wouldn't have come out as admirably as Mrs. Freeman.

More Power to Her!
serenitynow
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April 15, 2009
Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy

"I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera..."Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera..."Memo bis punitor It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks. You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get *NOTHING*! You lose! Good day sir! I said good day sir.

David_Blackmon
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April 15, 2009
serenitynow - who wants to "deflect the issue?" If you're referring to me, I'm actually trying to hone in on the issue.

We live in America, not Cuba or Russia. No one in our country should be hauled out of their home down to police headquarters to be subjected to questioning for the simple act of mailing a tab from a teabag to public officials.

I'm proud of Mrs. Freeman as well. The issue here, in my view, is why any public official should be so paranoid and frankly silly as to request a Texas Ranger to waste his valuable time engaging in such an absurd pursuit.

Thanks.
serenitynow
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April 15, 2009
BTW, I would be much more interested in knowing more about Mrs. Freeman, I'm sure this story only shone a portion of the light that shines in her. America should be happy with Grandmother's like her.

ps Shame on the offical that made the complaint but thanks for giving her the publicity!
serenitynow
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April 15, 2009
Some want to deflect the issue, in fact if an official hadn't made a complaint, we probably would have never heard of Mrs. Freeman should be FreeWoman and her gumption! She did something that got someones attention, she did it well and she didn't waste a bunch of tea bags. She got her point across and the offical that made the complaint is probably wishing they hadn't, since their actions brought Mrs. Freeman to America's attention. Mrs. Freeman is someone American's can be proud of, I am for one!