Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Broken Window in Silver Spring

I understand American Apparel is a hip and happening clothing store, and that's good for them, I think I may not be their target demographic, you might say. Actually, now that I think about it, I did take my daughter there once in high school, to the one in Silver Spring. She didn't buy anything, chip off the old block. Apparently American Apparel has a line of clothing that says "Legalize Gay" on it. See their catalog page HERE. The text on the side says:
In the fall of 2008, Proposition 8 passed in California, striking down the legalization of same-sex marriage. Now the decision rests in the hands of California's Supreme Court, with state lawmakers declaring the vote unconstitutional.

Equal rights for all – repeal Prop 8.

It's bold of them to take a stand, and I think they know their market. "Legalize Gay" is going to sell clothes to cool young people.

But some people seem unwilling to let the free market flourish. They have to regulate commerce, illegally, by trying to interrupt the delivery of desired products to consumers.

Here's the City Paper telling you what happened in Silver Spring.
A local vandal may have found an antidote for the “Legalize Gay” T-shirts that have popped up in American Apparel window displays around the D.C. area—eliminate the window.

When Kassandra Powell arrived for work at the Silver Spring American Apparel store yesterday morning, she was met with a crowd, a police car, and a broken window. “I was told that the [security alarm] went off at 5:15 a.m.,” she says.

Powell, a store manager, had reason to believe that the early-morning glass-shattering was more than your average retail break-in. Nothing was stolen from the store—including the anti-Prop-8 t-shirts prominently displayed on the opposite side of the glass. Gay T-Shirts In Windows A Problem For American Apparel

It seems that lots of times I end up commenting on headlines. They're important. The headline puts the frame on the story, it tells you what the story is about, you look at the headline and decide whether to read further, and you read the text within the context of your expectations, as created by the headline.

"Gay T-Shirts" were NOT a problem for American Apparel. Morons throwing rocks were a problem. Vandalism is a problem, not t-shirts with messages on them.


There's a little bit of a twist to this:
This morning, the Georgetown American Apparel location experienced its own attack from an upset window shopper—this time, over the telephone. Around 10:30 a.m., visual merchandiser Walter Reed fielded a call from a male who was “enraged for no reason.”

“He was like, is this the Silver Spring location? And I said, ‘No, this is the Georgetown location, ‘” says Reed. “He said, ‘You have some Legalize Gay shirts in the window there.’ He said that he and his friends found it offensive, and that if we didn’t take them down, they were going to break it—the window,” said Reed. “I said, ‘Is that a threat, Sir?’ And then he hung up.”

So a smart guy called the wrong store to complain, and by the time they got the message to the Silver Spring store it was too late.

We have been talking about hate crimes. I don't know if this would count as a hate crime, but it is interesting to compare this act to, say, a kid with a slingshot shooting out a window at a school. Do you think there is a difference between those two acts? In both cases, somebody broke a window, that's all. In one case they were trying to stop the dissemination of printed language that supported a group of people, in the other case a kid would rather play outside than sit in class. I doubt this will be prosecuted as a hate crime, well actually I doubt there is any way to catch the idiot who broke this window and I doubt the police will put much effort into it. But it does seem to me that the actor's intent has something to do with the way we interpret their actions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was no window involved, should it be illegal "trying to stop the dissemination of printed language that supported a group of people"?

July 22, 2009 9:58 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

That depends on what the opponents do to try to stop the dissemination. Anything that is purely speech is protected from government interference by the First Amendment, as it should be.

July 22, 2009 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

July 22) -- President Obama insists the nation is "closer than ever" to health care reform as he presses for speedy congressional agreement on a bill.

Obama will do a prime time news conference tonight in hopes of closing the deal with the American people.

Judging from some videos of town hall meetings circulating on websites, the president has his work cut out for him.

In one, the crowd laughs out loud at Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) when he says the Obama plan will save money.

In another, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius looks stricken as she gets jeered.

In suburban Washington, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) also gets an earful during an emotional Q&A session.

Fueling the Obamacare opposition are op-ed pieces like the one by Gov. Bobby Jindal in the Wall Street Journal.

The Louisiana Republican accuses "the left in Washington" of resorting to "a fundamentally dishonest approach to reform" and urges the president to slow down.

July 22, 2009 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

As I understand the proposed law, this would not qualify as a hate crime. To continue on the Anonymoidal themes of hypotheticals, if they were to write on the wall: "We'll throw stones at people who wear these shirts," that would be a hate crime. Am I mistaken?

As for the health care post:
To take over the content of a message thread by changing the subject of discourse to a topic outside the purview of the original subject and/orforum, while maintaining the subject line. A form of amusement for trolls. Threadjacking is distinguished from flaming, as flames are a quasi-personal attack on a poster or on a poster's style of discourse, where threadjacking is deliberatly steering the discussion offtopic.

Now, since we're just Threadjacking away, I'll do it. I saw a post elsewhere about a book by a Brown student who spends his 'semester abroad at Liberty University: The Unlikely Disciple

It comes highly recommended, and I think I'll buy it.


July 22, 2009 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a criminal act but is hate necessarily the motive.

Maybe it's a political crime.

Point is, it probably is better to make breaking windows against the law and not legislate different penalties for different motives.

"I saw a post elsewhere about a book by a Brown student who spends his 'semester abroad at Liberty University"

Brown is in Rhode Island, Liberty in Virginia. How is that "going abroad"?

Liberty is in Virginia, Brown's in Rhode Island.

July 22, 2009 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Interesting study about HIV infection rates in states where gay marriage is legal/illegal:

Emory University • Press Release

Study Links Gay Marriage Bans to Rise in HIV Rate

June 4, 2009
Bans on same-sex marriage can be tied to a rise in the rate of HIV infection, a new study by two Emory economists has found.

In the first study of the impact of social tolerance levels toward gays in the United States on the HIV transmission rate, the researchers estimated that a constitutional ban on gay marriage raises the rate by four cases per 100,000 people.

"We found the effects of tolerance for gays on HIV to be statistically significant and robust -- they hold up under a range of empirical models," says Hugo Mialon, an assistant professor of economics.

"Laws on gay marriage are in flux and under debate," added Andrew Francis, also an assistant professor of economics, citing the recent decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold a ban on same-sex marriage. "It's a hot issue, and we are hoping that policymakers will take our findings into account."

The study used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), which has tracked the attitudes of Americans during the past four decades. The economists calculated that a rise in tolerance from the 1970s to the 1990s reduced HIV cases by one per 100,000 people, and that laws against same-sex marriage boosted cases by 4 per 100,000.

"Intolerance is deadly," Mialon said. "Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk."


July 22, 2009 3:32 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Whoever threw the stone its virtually certain it was an anti-gay Christian.

July 22, 2009 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Study Links Gay Marriage Bans to Rise in HIV Rate"

I think if homosexuality were made illegal, HIV rates would drop.

July 22, 2009 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Derrick, do you have a link? I'd like to look at their analysis of variables. It sounds to me as though they took a correlation and made a causal conclusion from that which may not be applicable.

As for the guy going to Liberty, the reviews spoke of Liberty being a 'different world' from Brown within the same time-zone. Does Brown actually call this a 'semester abroad?' Do they require that it be across an ocean? Did he have to get special dispensation? Who cares. I am intersted in how he presented himself to the admissions department at Liberty, whether he dissembled about his outlook, background and purposes, and what Brown thought of that.

An anonymous speculates above that 'making being gay illegal' would reduce in incidence of HIV infection. We have data on this:

UN/World Health Organization Data on Worldwide AIDS Epidemic

For example, look at Jamaica, notorious for its 'buggery' laws, amount of violence against gay people, and public, official indifference to and encouragement of such violence. Jamaica has, according to the above website, and adult HIV incidence of 15 per 1000 (compare US rate of 3 per 1000). Look at Sub-saharan Africa, another rabidly anti-gay place, with its country-by-country infection rates of 200 to 300 per 1000.

I'm assuming the above-mentioned anonymous person was speculating that HIV incidence among among men who have sex with men (MSM's) would decrease (I appreciate your concern for our health, I feel the love). In the Caribbean, where of course collecting data is made difficult by the draconian laws, WHO estimates an infection rate of 1 in 10.

Real-world data, as shown by the UNAIDS/WHO website and the article quoted by Derrick, indicate that intolerance of lgbt people degrades public health. Alas for the anti-queer people and their immoderate politics.


July 22, 2009 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I think if homosexuality were made illegal, HIV rates would drop.

You might want to think some more and even consider these facts before telling us what you think again.

US CDC reports:

To date, there are no confirmed cases of female-to-female sexual transmission of HIV in the United States database...A study of more than 1 million female blood donors found no HIV-infected women whose only risk factor was sex with women.

UNAIDS reports:

An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, bringing to 22 million the number of people living with HIV. Two thirds (67%) of the global total of 32.9 million people with HIV live in this region, and three quarters (75%) of all AIDS deaths in 2007 occurred there...

...Adult national HIV prevalence is below 2% in several countries of West and Central Africa, as well as in the horn of Africa, but in 2007 it exceeded 15% in seven southern African countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), and was above 5% in seven other countries, mostly in Central and East Africa (Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania)...

...Heterosexual intercourse remains the epidemic’s driving force in sub-Saharan Africa. The high rate of sexual transmission has also given rise to the world’s largest population of children living with HIV. has published a list of countries where homosexuality is illegal.

The seven countries with the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa are:

Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Having laws on the books to make "homosexuality" illegal has not dropped the rate of HIV/AIDS in five of the seven countries with the highest HIV/AIDS rates in Africa: Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The seven countries with the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Africa are:

Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania

Having laws on the books to make "homosexuality" illegal has not dropped the rate of HIV/AIDS in five of the seven countries with the second highest HIV/AIDS rates in Africa: Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania.

July 22, 2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The Christianity I learned as a child and young (and not-so-young) adult, while strenuously anti-gay (and anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic, etc.) did not encourage rock-throwing.

Then again, my Grandfather often boasted of his history of violence against Catholics, because of their religion.

July 22, 2009 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I see online that Concerned Women is bringing 30th Anniversary party to my neighborhood on Sunday. I could sponsor a table for only $2000 $1440 in tax deduction. I'm tempted to ride my bike down and oogle. But how does CWA rate that much of a tax deduction? Is that how it really works.

July 22, 2009 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for the guy going to Liberty, the reviews spoke of Liberty being a 'different world' from Brown within the same time-zone. Does Brown actually call this a 'semester abroad?'"

Actually, I read one of the reviews that used that term after I posted that.

Sounds like an interesting book. I'm putting it on my list.

"I'm assuming the above-mentioned anonymous person was speculating that HIV incidence among among men who have sex with men (MSM's) would decrease"

No, I think it would decrease in the general population. We don't have the widespread prostitution problem, driven by poverty, that they have in those country.

July 22, 2009 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a quote from Thomas Jefferson about the socialism of Sir B.O.:

"a government big enough to give us everything we need is a government big enough to take everything we have"

July 22, 2009 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, "Anonymous", that you should quote Jefferson to give credence to your funky thinking that we are becoming a socialist (or is that, "Christian") nation.

Jefferson also said the following: "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

And, Martin Luther King, Jr., that most noted "socialist" of all said: "We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

July 24, 2009 10:58 PM  

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