The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Friday, March 07, 2003

On Wednesday there was a report that the Crossgates mall near Albany, New York had ejected a shopper because he was wearing a Give Peace a Chance T-shirt. Many bloggers rushed to make asses of themselves complaining about suppression of free speech and condemning the horrible mall-owners. Had they done some more research, they would have found out that the person was ejected because he was stopping and bothering other shoppers.

Even considering all the facts you may say that the mall's actions were improper. But consider this: If I went into a restaurant and started prosyletizing diners, how long would it be before I was ejected? One minute? Two?

Greg Beato had the silliest commentary on the affair:

From President Bush: "[Anti-war protesters have] got all the right in the world to express their opinion. If they tried to do that in Iraq, they'd have their tongues cut out."

From MSNBC: "A Selkirk man says he was arrested Monday for expressing his objection to possible war with Iraq at Crossgates Mall. He says all he did was wear a T-shirt bearing a message of peace, which he actually purchased in the mall."

Imminent quote from President Bush?: "Yeah, but if he tried that in Iraq, he'd have his chest cut off."

Faux moral equivalence between dictatorships and the US has a long and disgraceful history. Twenty years ago it was "The Soviets had concentration camps? Well, we had unemployment." For Beato the motivation is not pro-Hussein sympathies or even anti-Americanism. He's just addicted to a sneering outlook on life and denies that anything has meaning. He should try to take one thing seriously per day, for maybe five minutes, and then extend that time as he builds up stamina.



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