Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ya Think?

The Portland Tribune reports that Commissioner Randy Leonard's advice to a fur business asking for police help because it was being harassed by anti-fur demonstrators included closing the business one day a week.

After receiving Benson’s reply, Leonard e-mailed Linda Schumacher back to say he believes she and Gregg are partly to blame for the situation. According to Benson’s e-mail to Leonard, the Schumachers have disregarded police advice to temporarily close their store on Saturday — and have instead argued with the protesters and mocked them with signs posted in their store windows.

“Neither the police bureau nor my office can assist you if you are not willing to accept our advice on a strategy that helps us help you cause the protesters to lose interest in targeting your business,” Leonard wrote.
[emphasis mine]

Ya think if a group of protestors target City Council, we can get them to shut down one day a week? And if they keep it up the Council will close down more and more days until the protesters lose interest. Hmm.


Torrid said...

Leonard didn't make that suggestion; Benson did. It's in the first line of the article you cite. Furthermore, why isn't he right? If the Schumachers can't handle lawful 1st Amendment protests without threatening and baiting them in return, maybe they should find somewhere where they can insulate themselves and their business from public scrutiny.

For the record, I think protesting fur at the retail level is a little silly. But silly doesn't have to = wrong. If the Schumachers can't stand the heat their business has stoked, they should back out of the kitchen.

terrance said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

I know that Benson originally gave the advice, but Leonard gave it too. Why else would he fault the Schumachers for not being willing to accept "our advice"?

As to handling 1st Amendment protests, one of the issues in question is whether the protesters were acting legally. It's sort of like driving or biking. When a police car is around one is careful to obey the laws. When not, well . . . .

Don't the Schumachers have a 1st Amendment right to state their views? How is that baiting? If stating one's views in trenchant terms is "baiting", then the 1st Amendment doesn't mean much.

You say that the Schumachers were "threatening" the protesters. I didn't read that in the article. Can I ask where you get your information?

I read the reverse. The protesters were supposedly threatening the Schumachers with bodily injury and death and threatening their customers. Those kind of threats are not protected under the 1st Amendment. And the police should investigate and take action--maybe using undercover cops.

I think the protesters have every right to picket in front of the store. But, they don't have a right to do it in a threatening manner. If threats are okay, practically that means that 1st Amendment rights will only be guaranteed to the strong and to bullies.

That's the problem with the "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" theory as applied to people being able to live in their homes and go to work peacefully as long as they are obeying the law. Otherwise, any group of bullies (or competitors) under the guise of free speech and assembly can force any family or business to move or close down. Not my idea of a free society.