Jefferson Memorial Outrage

This is a most unusual story and should make any lover of liberty's blood boil.

Apparently a group of about 20 self-identified  libertarians went to the Jefferson Memorial last night to mark the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.

They did it in an unusual way. Using their I-Pods and headphones, they began to dance on the steps of the memorial. Nothng kinky or wild according to the several accounts that have appeared on the internet. They were going to dance for about 10 minutes and then leave.

What happened next
is astonishing:

Courtney and I were about 10 minutes late, but by the time we arrived it was already over. The National Park Police broke the whole thing up just a few minutes in, punctuating their lack of a sense of humor by arresting one of the dancers (we’re keeping her name private at least until she’s released later this morning). She was cuffed, taken out to a paddy wagon, then booked and held at a Park Police station. Everyone I spoke with says there was no noise, there were no threats, and no laws broken (the park police I spoke with–including the arresting officer (who, oddly enough, denied to me that he was the arresting officer)–declined to say why she had been arrested).

The police refused to answer any questions, referring all calls to the communication number of the Park Police, which at this hour is closed. They also refused to give their badge numbers.

I’ll post some video tomorrow morning of two flash mobbers who say she was doing nothing at all–she was barely even dancing. Her crime was apparently to ask “why?” when the park police told the group they had to disperse. Note too that this was at around midnight. No one was bumping into tourists, or obstructing anyone’s way. I guess the only conclusion, here, is that it’s apparently illegal to dance on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial–even with headphones. You know, post 9-11 world and all. Harmless fun will be interpreted in the most threatening context imaginable. Whimsy and frivolity will not be tolerated
Arrested at the Jefferson Memorial? Just because she asked "why?" The threat of terrorism excuse doesn't wash here. If we have become so frightened of terrorism that such a harmless activity can be broken up on the steps of a memorial to the man who embodied American liberty then the terrorists have already won and we might as well give up.

This isn't the first incident I've read about like this. It is happening with alarming frequency across the country. Harmless activities delibertately interpreted by police as being threatening or hostile. Usually, you hear about it at protest rallies where there are dozens or even hundreds of people - citizens exercising their right of free speech and peaceable assembly being treated as if they were breaking the law - a response more appropriate in a dictatorship than the United States.

It's for things like this that blogs were invented. As it turns out, many of the revelers were journalists, bloggers, and Constitutional lawyers. Given the publicity this has already gotten, I think the lovers of Jefferson who were so wrongly prevented from exercising the freedom Jefferson so nobly espoused will have the last laugh in this case.
This is a most unusual story and should make any lover of liberty's blood boil.

Apparently a group of about 20 self-identified  libertarians went to the Jefferson Memorial last night to mark the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.

They did it in an unusual way. Using their I-Pods and headphones, they began to dance on the steps of the memorial. Nothng kinky or wild according to the several accounts that have appeared on the internet. They were going to dance for about 10 minutes and then leave.

What happened next
is astonishing:

Courtney and I were about 10 minutes late, but by the time we arrived it was already over. The National Park Police broke the whole thing up just a few minutes in, punctuating their lack of a sense of humor by arresting one of the dancers (we’re keeping her name private at least until she’s released later this morning). She was cuffed, taken out to a paddy wagon, then booked and held at a Park Police station. Everyone I spoke with says there was no noise, there were no threats, and no laws broken (the park police I spoke with–including the arresting officer (who, oddly enough, denied to me that he was the arresting officer)–declined to say why she had been arrested).

The police refused to answer any questions, referring all calls to the communication number of the Park Police, which at this hour is closed. They also refused to give their badge numbers.

I’ll post some video tomorrow morning of two flash mobbers who say she was doing nothing at all–she was barely even dancing. Her crime was apparently to ask “why?” when the park police told the group they had to disperse. Note too that this was at around midnight. No one was bumping into tourists, or obstructing anyone’s way. I guess the only conclusion, here, is that it’s apparently illegal to dance on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial–even with headphones. You know, post 9-11 world and all. Harmless fun will be interpreted in the most threatening context imaginable. Whimsy and frivolity will not be tolerated
Arrested at the Jefferson Memorial? Just because she asked "why?" The threat of terrorism excuse doesn't wash here. If we have become so frightened of terrorism that such a harmless activity can be broken up on the steps of a memorial to the man who embodied American liberty then the terrorists have already won and we might as well give up.

This isn't the first incident I've read about like this. It is happening with alarming frequency across the country. Harmless activities delibertately interpreted by police as being threatening or hostile. Usually, you hear about it at protest rallies where there are dozens or even hundreds of people - citizens exercising their right of free speech and peaceable assembly being treated as if they were breaking the law - a response more appropriate in a dictatorship than the United States.

It's for things like this that blogs were invented. As it turns out, many of the revelers were journalists, bloggers, and Constitutional lawyers. Given the publicity this has already gotten, I think the lovers of Jefferson who were so wrongly prevented from exercising the freedom Jefferson so nobly espoused will have the last laugh in this case.