Sunday, August 25, 2013

Peaceful Protest #5

From time to time a business will do something stupid, offensive, stupid AND offensive or just plain wrong - leaving us with CHOICES!

We can just ignore it, blowing the situation off. We can call/write/fax/e-mail and express our dismay, either individually or as a group. Or we can take more direct actions, often with significant economic impact, to show our displeasure.

The thirty fifty some businesses that have publicly declared their intent to discriminate against and harass gun owners lawfully going about their business, in my opinion, merit the application of whatever lawful responses as might discomfit or economically impact them. Bigotry is evil.

The Bigoted Thirty Fifty(ish) are mostly on Capitol Hill in Seattle, several are bars where carry is unlawful per se, and while there are certainly gun owners on Capitol Hill - it's not really a bastion of organized and enthused gun owners. Regrettably, both stupidity and bigotry are contagious and need to be deterred whenever possible.

Remember, when considering action, that I am not a lawyer and I do not pretend to be a lawyer. If you have legal concerns, you should speak with a lawyer. I simply document what has worked (or folks have tried to *make* work) and in some instances extrapolate an improvement here and there.

I'm reviewing a variety of options in this series of articles.

The Joys of Bureaucracy

A lot of activists fail to think of the role government plays in all of our lives. This tactic requires great care, honesty, and precision - but is potentially one of the most devastating.

Inviting government agencies to play with your opponent may be cruel, but it can level a business engaging in bigotry or other socially undesirable behavior. The key is to target accurately (don't call the health department about suspected tax violations, or the IRS about state tax issues), honestly (don't report either what isn't there or what you don't have a reasonable belief is there*), and in a timely fashion.

On the other hand if you see, or reasonably suspect, a violation or unsafe condition (and as many laws and regulations as there are today, we ALL are probably in violation of SOMETHING) in an establishment to which you object - don't bother staff or management with it. You have other things to bother *them* with - for a regulatory complaint, contact the regulatory agency... and many of those have easy to complete on-line reporting forms. If you are particularly concerned, anonymity can be your friend though it likely undermines the believability of the complaint.

It's important to remember that false reporting is frequently a legal or regulatory violation all by itself and even if your target suffers great unhappiness, it is far less amusing to either be watching from your jail cell or as your lawyer informs you about the fun ways you are about to be sued into oblivion.

If in doubt, don't be stupid - talk to an attorney FIRST.


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