I am second to no one in my public disgust for Cindy Sheehan. She has, in my opinion, brokered her legitimate grief over the loss of her son for more than her fair share of limelight, which she has used to galavant across the globe spreading her idiotic political beliefs while trashing this country at every opportunity, all the while shmoozing with every odious scumbag and dictator who will embrace her. Suffice it to say, I am not a fan.
Regardless of my opinion of Sheehan, this really honks me off:
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.
Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.
Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.
It was one thing when I thought she was arrested for unfurling a banner in the Capitol or some sort of civil disobedience. But arrested for wearing a t-shirt? WTF? What the hell is going on? Someone fill me in on why an anti-war t-shirt is a criminal offense.
*** Update ***
From the comments:
any and all kinds of sloganeering or demonstrating is strictly forbidden in the Capitol. A few of my friends and I once tried to have take a group picture (after a rally that had a permit ended) with the building in the background and were shooed away by the Capital Police for violating the rule merely by havign signs in our possession on the steps. As that happened in 1988 (when the other party controlled the Congress), I doubt George W. Bush had anything to do with it.
The fact is, Cindy knew perfectly well she was violating the law – why cover the shirt until she was seated otherwise? The career Capitol Police officers … tried to warn her, but she ignored them. So they arrested her which was, I have not the slightest doubt, precisely what she wanted.
OK. Makes sense, although some history on why sloganeering is banned and why a t-shirt would be considered ‘sloganeering’ woul be appreciated. Learn something every day.
*** Update ***
Two comments would seem to indicate that t-shirts are not conisdered a protest:
However, there is a section which probably does specifically apply (again, I’m not an attorney and cannot claim certain knowledge either way): 40 USC 5104 (e) (2) ( C)
(e) Capitol Grounds and Buildings Security. – …
(2) Violent entry and disorderly conduct. – An individual or group of individuals may not willfully and knowingly – …
( C) with the intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business, enter or remain in a room in any of the Capitol Buildings set aside or designated for the use of either House of Congress or a Member, committee, officer, or employee of Congress or either House of Congress;
The hard part (to my understanding) is proving “with intent to disrupt”. “She’s done it in the past” isn’t sufficient, else any bank robber who came near a bank could be arrested. Still, this seems the most applicable to the situation.
And more here from the Pete Stark thread above:
Except it did not violate any law as t-shirts are specifically excluded (.pdf warning):
Believing that the Capitol Police needed guidance in determining what behavior constitutes a demonstration,” the United States Capitol Police Board issued a regulation that interprets “demonstration activity” to include: parading, picketing, speechmaking, holding vigils, sit-ins, or other expressive conduct that convey[s] a message supporting or opposing a point of view or has the intent, effect or propensity to attract a crowd of onlookers, but does not include merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message.”
More as it trickles in.