Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jefferson Memorial Dishonored....By Capital Police

Reading the news at lunch today, I came across this story about a group of libertarians who sought to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's birthday with an i-Pod dance session at the Jefferson Memorial in DC.

They were asked to leave by park police and one of them ended up arrested. The Ars article links to a YouTube video of the arrest. Now, by the poster's own admission it doesn't show the incident immediately leading to the arrest. Still, this is the video of them dancing (ends with the guards breaking it up):

Videos of the arrest and reaction here.

Why was this activity a crime? Why did the Capital Police consider it disruptive at ALL? These people were, as far as I can tell in all three videos, taking a moment to acknowledge Jefferson's memory in their own unique (and totally legal) way.

The cops mention noise but that's BS. "Normal" tourists on a crowded day surely engage in talking, clicking of cameras, wrangling of small children and other activities equally "disruptive" equal to or greater than what's shown in the above video. This group even took to care to got late at night so they wouldn't get in people's way. For all the good it did them...

While your personal tastes may vary, these people just wanted to dance in freedom to remember a man partly responsible for that very freedom. What the hell is wrong with that?!

The camera-guy said it best: "Read these walls you guard!" The Capital Police would better serve the American people by broadening their focus from protecting merely the physical reminders of our country's founding to developing some respect and guardianship for the philosophical, cultural and legal traditions that give meaning to these memorials.

PS - I'm glad these guys were able to take their friend being arrest so calmly. They were joking a little and pretty relaxed considering how ridiculous the guards were being. Also, kudos to whomever cracked the best joke...."I thought 'Footloose' was just a movie!" :)

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