I read a story blurb, reported by CNN Online, that a New England man was eating at the food court of a shopping mall, when two security guards told him to remove his T-shirt sporting the logo “Give Peace a Chance”, which, incidentally, he had bought at the same mall, or else leave the premises. The man refused, and local police were brought in to arrest him. Now, wait a minute, are we truly living under marshal law already, and I was just too wrapped up in myself to notice? Or is this story just a factoid? (Here I’m using the original meaning of factoid as something that didn’t exist until reported by the media.) At the very least, I suspect some details must be missing. I hope someone out there can deliver the straight dope.
We look upon this as unfair because the sentiment expressed is seen as benign. Whether to declare war on Iraq is a hot topic and not everyone has the same views on the subject. Interestingly enough, the mall had a previous problem with anti-war protestors -
“An incident last December, then, when two dozen protesters carrying anti-war signs were asked to leave the Guilderland mall was bad enough, we suppose. It’s what happened Monday that strains even the pro-mall laws, and defies all common sense.”
This is obviously the basis upon which the mall has been asking people wearing anti-war clothing to vacate the premises. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say. Two protestors can easily grow into more and I guess the mall did not want to chance dealing with another incident like the one in December.
When visiting private property - even private property which is open to the public - it is incumbent upon you to leave if and when asked. If you refuse, you are trespassing, which is what the guy was charged with. Charges were later dropped, I understand.
Here is the actual complaint filed against Downs, followed by reports from the Guilderland police.
Downs has asserted the complaint was a work of fiction in that they never tried stopping other shoppers about this.