Florida Sheriff distributes terroristic t-shirts
St. Augustine People for Peace and Justice wrote the following letter to the Sheriff of St Johns County about his distribution of t-shirts advocating the shooting of anti-war protesters. According to Glenda Allen, the group has encountered other problems with the sheriff's department in the recent past.
30 June 2008
Dear Sheriff Shoar,
As citizens of St. Johns County and members of St. Augustine People for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, and Grandparents for Peace, numbering over 500 strong, we are very concerned and dismayed about the "sniper" t-shirts that you recently distributed at a veterans' meeting. The shirts have a silhouette of a sniper on the front, and on the back the following script: "If you can't stand behind our troops, do us all a favor and stand in front of them." These shirts appear to advocate violence (i.e., sniper fire) on anyone who disagrees with the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East (currently about 70% of the US population).
We understand that you were previously contacted about these shirts on Wednesday, June 18th, by Mr. Ed Slavin. He asked you a number of questions in his e-mail, none of which were actually answered in your response to him on June 19th.
In your reply to Mr. Slavin you stated that you "chuckled" when you read the script on the shirts and also that you found the shirts "amusing." The fact that you, the County's top law enforcement officer who took an oath "to serve and protect", found the prospect of sniper fire on civilians who disagree with the war in Iraq to be "amusing" and worthy of a "chuckle" is, frankly, appalling, particularly for a person in your position. The phrase "do us all a favor" (emphasis added) in particular implies that you support the killing/maiming of anyone who disagrees with the war in Iraq.
The following is a list of the options we are considering in response to your distribution of the shirt:
You may think that these shirts are just a joke. However, to those of us who speak out publicly, who put our faces, bodies, and reputations on the line to protest the illegal, unjust war in Iraq, these shirts suggest that the Sheriff of St. Johns County advocates violence against peaceful, unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional right to free speech. This is completely unacceptable. Given the culture of violence and the suppression of constitutional rights our society is already suffering, the last thing we need is this kind of message coming from our County Sheriff.
We look forward to your response.
Members of St. Augustine People for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, and Grandparents for Peace. Info: 904-540-3575.
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