Blog Master G

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Police State

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003 · 14 Comments

He Kept His Shirt On — And Got Arrested

It’s beyond me what is happening in this country. Thanks to Bush, the media, and the fear they are creating, this country is becoming a police state wherein our Constitutional rights aren’t worth a damn and people who exhibit their First Amendment right can be thrown in jail for a silent protest. I’m speechless about this. But I’ll be damned if I would have complied. Kudos to Roger and Stephen Downs for not giving in to the demands of the communist mall security and Albany police.

(The mall where this happened — Crossgates in Albany, NY — is where Jen and I went, along with James and Tracy, over Christmas.)

Tags: rants

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jen // Mar 5, 2003 at 10:00 am

    the best part is that they had the shirts printed IN THE MALL! the second best is the cop’s bullshit reasoning “this is private property, you wouldn’t go into someone’s home wearing that…”
    i am saddened and embarrassed — though not shocked — that this happened in my home town.

  • 2 ken // Mar 5, 2003 at 10:26 am

    hey gabe, long time no speak. uh, just wanted to point out that the mall security were not behaving in a strictly communist sense, a la marx’s communist manifesto, but rather in a totalitarian manner, more akin to fascist germany under the national socialists or the stalinist government of the former soviet union (which aspired to marxist communism, but installed a dictatorship of beuaracracy rather than the “temporary dictatorship of the proletariat” laid out in the Philosophic and Economic Manuscripts marx wrote as a young man.) as a vassar grad, i’d expect you to know the difference. props,though, on reporting this. far too few of the major news outlets are running this story.

  • 3 gabe // Mar 5, 2003 at 10:40 am

    hey ken- good to hear from you. and thanks for correcting my use of the term “communist.” i certainly did not intend to use it in the strictest sense of the word, and was doing so more loosely. but i stand corrected. hope all is cool with you.

  • 4 Jose Luis // Mar 5, 2003 at 10:59 am

    Is the mall private property?

  • 5 Dave Reed // Mar 6, 2003 at 9:30 am

    I believe the mall _is_ private property.

    Fortunately the owners/developers (whoever they are) dropped the charges. Anyone else hoping to see a lawsuit filed against the owners of the mall?

  • 6 Dave Reed // Mar 6, 2003 at 9:30 am

    I believe the mall _is_ private property.

    Fortunately the owners/developers (whoever they are) dropped the charges. Anyone else hoping to see a lawsuit filed against the owners of the mall?

  • 7 Dave Reed // Mar 6, 2003 at 9:31 am

    Sorry about that double-post; I was getting a weird error message on my end and didn’t think it went through.

  • 8 gabe // Mar 6, 2003 at 9:38 am


  • 9 Chris // Mar 6, 2003 at 11:22 am

    This story has been blown way out of proportions. The actual facts of the story were (unsuprisingly) not related. Yes, the two men were removed from the mall but only after being asked to remove the shirts and to stop accousting customers with their anti-war slogans. Yes, customers actually complained about the two people harassing them. The security guards asked the two men to stop and remove the shirts. One did, but the second did not so they were asked to leave and didnt. So they were arrested for tresspassing. This information is from who got it from MSNBC. Talk bout a media story gone wrong just because it has connections (a slogan) to anti-war protests. Pathetic

  • 10 gabe // Mar 6, 2003 at 12:11 pm

    Hmm…you rely on a site called “” for the facts? It might as well be called “” — and you don’t think that’s going to be biased against anything/anyone who (God forbid) disagrees with the war effort? Think about this for a moment: “…stop accousting customers with their anti-war slogans.” (For argument’s sake, I will assume you mean “accosting.”) Give me a break. Do you really believe that (A) the act of wearing a t-shirt equates to “accosting” someone, and (B) a 60-year-old man would be harassing people about peace?

    You do remember that this is a free country, right? We live in a place where people have the right to express how they feel — be it via a t-shirt, free speech, etc.

    Talk about pathetic: It’s the fact that our supposedly free country has places where one cannot express himself without getting thrown in jail.

  • 11 Jen. // Mar 6, 2003 at 12:59 pm

    OK, Chris, I think you need to read the story you refer to a little more closely, as in “The men say they were not disturbing any shoppers, but their PRESENCE apparently caused enough of a disruption for one Macy’s employee to report them to mall security.”
    If these men were actually, physically ‘accosting’ shoppers – the police would have a case. The simple act of wearing a t-shirt (especially with an innocuous message of world peace– in whose book is that RADICAL or PROVOCATIVE??) in the food court shouldn’t lead to arrest in a nation that prides itself on being the home of the free.
    sadly, it seems this is becoming less and less the home of the free-thinking: i am scared about where we are headed as a nation.
    anyway, i applaud people like you for contributing to dialogue like this – and thanks for sharing that hilarious conservative web site, it has given me countless belly laughs in the past few minutes alone…. i would caution you against using it for a source of ‘news,’ however.

    and for what it’s worth, if you care about what is really going on at crossgates mall… i honestly think it boils down to the small/highly insulated community of guilderland not knowing how to deal with increasing numbers of people congregating on mall property for various reasons. the local police have apparently opened a station on site to deal with security issues that have been more prevalent in recent months… (mostly incidents unrelated to war). because of escalating tension around the vicinity, i do think they over-reacted when it came to this hapless, non-threatening father and son. but news reports of course failed to paint the bigger picture: that the local officials are on edge when it comes to any sign of people assembling (yes, yet another first amendment right) for whatever reason… and while the action police took was unnecessarily harsh, there was a larger context here that media did not address.

    being (embarrassed) that i call albany my home town, the incident does not surprise me.

  • 12 Chris // Mar 6, 2003 at 2:08 pm

    Gabe – I wish you would have read what I typed a little more closely. I said I came ACROSS the information at Right Wing News (a site I visit because I often find the commentary funny, not because I really agree with what they say) and then went to the link at MSNBC…where the story was originally posted. So yes, thanks for jumping on me for that. Could this site be labeled “I hate bush” just for the way you reacted to it? Its possible…I havent really ready enough of your articles to do that.
    Yet the liberals don’t seem much better than conservatives at this point. The second someone expresses an alternative viewpoint your all over each other.

    As to a 60 yr old man “accosting” (sorry, no spell check here) someone over peace…well it happened in the ’60s. Why couldn’t it happen now? I just witnessed a “peace” protest in Philadelphia yesterday and some of it wasn’t all that “peaceful.”

    Jen – Yes I skimmed over the article so I emphisised one section a tad too much, forgive me. Yet it wasn’t the t-shirt that got the man arrested, it was the fact that he WOULD NOT LEAVE. Its a private business, they can kick off whoever they want. They do it all the time to teenagers for the most patheticly simple of reasons. You all get into a huff because this happens to two people who are protesting for peace, where is the huff when it happens EVERY DAY to teenagers who are kicked off for the simple reason of being under 18?

    As to Right WIng News being a source of “news,” read above. I go there because I find the commentary amusing, I don’t use it for its news. Yes, they linked to MSNBC…generally a fairly “reliable” news site. Do you have a problem with them? Are they not reliable enough, not liberal enough to be considered a viable news source? If I came across a news link in an illegal substance forum that delt with a valid news sources article on policies would you have a problem with that being posted here? Is it then unreliable because of a person alerting others to it? Maybe there’s a deeper meaning there…

  • 13 Jen // Mar 6, 2003 at 2:51 pm

    1. yes. i happen to believe the police over-reacted in this, like many situations, at said mall. see my third paragraph above.

    2. sure, MSNBC is more reliable than the silly right wing site. that said, both should be approached with the same critical thinking as any other source- seeing as major news networks tend to sensationalize stories, catering to what what they think scared, reactionary americans want to hear in order to keep up ratings/web traffic.
    sadly, they often fail to report on ‘the bigger picture’ (see also above) fairly and accurately.

  • 14 The Joker // Aug 5, 2003 at 2:38 pm

    I assume the mall is private property and the owners reserve the right to ask anyone to leave. Nothing wrong with free speech in a free forum or place. However as the owner of my property I reserve the right to tell anybody I want to leave. Apparently the men were imposing their views on the owners and their customers and refused to leave when asked.

    Give War a Chance