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News ::
An open question about harrassment. (english)
21 Apr 2003
Modified: 23 Apr 2003
What to do what to do?
First, some back-up info, I am generally very outspoken about this being an unjust war and my car is very much a "nonprofit" car with stickers and things all over it. Most notably for this story, a sticker that says "make jobs not war" and my protest sign in the rear window that says "war is not the answer" - none of the other stickers are particularly related or hostile.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving my friend home (I accept this hipocracy of needing a car to get to work and would rather not analyze it - it was my only option if I wanted to keep my job) and I parked in front of her neighbors house and ran upstairs for about ten minutes to grab some things I had left.

So, upon returning to my car I found a note scrawled on a piece of paper and attached to my windshield. It read "Freedom is the answer, asshole!" I read the note and left it on the sidewalk next to the car in front of what I presumed to be the prowar contingents house (judging by the obscene use of flags). As I went around to get in the car an older, very angry man (i am a twenty something woman) came out of the house with his wife in tow. He said "How'd you like that? How'd you like that note?" I didnt reply and walked around my car. An overly aggressive note is frightening enough, let alone the fact that they were apparently watching me and waiting for me to leave their neighbors house and read the note. He continued... "Its just like yours, on your car..." I yelled back "I didnt leave them on your windows though did I?" and got in my car and drove off. He kept screaming at me as I left.

Now my question, addressed to others who have had similar situations - I know there must be others. What to do? Legally do people have a right to leave things on your car if it isnt directly vandalizing them or releated to parking violations? Is something like that considered a threat? An invasion of privacy? If so, or if it was taken further (breaking windows, etc), it doesnt seem like the police can be trusted to react favorably in a situation like that...

As a pacifist, I feel sworn not to react in any sort of hostile way even if it is a civil disobediace type hostile way - anywhere from chalking his sidewalk with peace signs to emptying his tires. And I dont feel adiquate to protect myself singley against, what could amount to an entire family. I dont even feel like I could safely park on that streeet again.

What have other people done? Do I have to sit idly by while I get the finger almost every day? What are my rights, especially if I dont trust the police?
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good questions (english)
22 Apr 2003
I am sorry that happened to you, but it's not an uncommon type of thing. It demonstrates the rise of fascism in the superpatriotism that is rising. I don't know about the legality of the note but I don't even think it matters because most people in the justice system (cops, judges) would not take action against someone like that. But it's definitely intimidation. But be strong and don't feel intimidated, as much as possible. Fight back by being more vocal. That's my advice. I am sorry I don't have concrete advice in legal terms, but I wanted to offer some support in human terms.
What to do What to do (english)
22 Apr 2003
Here is what you do. Grow up, and stop whinning! Accept responsibility for your own actions. The stickers on your car are meant to incite a reaction, and you got one. What did you expect? Protest, speak out, dissent, and all the other things you want to do, just don't cry about it when someone calls you on it. Concerning the violation of your automobile: I doubt your car's feelings were hurt.
pattern of intimidation (english)
22 Apr 2003
Jack is right, although harshly put. It is the fear of initimidation that keeps a lot of people on the fence (and they certainly know this). Sadly we cannot turn to the police for this type of situation e.g. a man wearing a "Peace" T-shirt was arrested in N.Y. for refusing to remove his shirt or leave the mall.

This pattern of initimidation is as much a violation of free speech as any form of censorship or prior restraint.

Just because it doesn't involve a meat grinder doesn't mean it's not intimidating.

Keep the faith and know that these acts of courage helps draw some people off the fence.
Bck to jack (english)
22 Apr 2003
THAT, jack, is the same as saying rape victims "ask for it" with short skirts.

I have no doubt that had i put something in that angry man's windows, he would have called the cops AND his lawyer to "ask for advice". I was not whining, I was asking for grown-up advice, that I, for a number of reasons, cannot get from lawyers OR cops - namely because they are shits like you, JACK.

Now run along and beat your wife jackie boy, I'm sure she's doing something to "ask for it."
Jack is fucking wrong (english)
22 Apr 2003
You don't deserve that shit that happened to you and while it may be smallish in the big picture, compared to what happens to other people, it ain't right and it shouldn't happen.

It's people's superpatriotic pigness running way overboard and it is ugly. And then here it is again on this board.

You're speaking out against violence in the first place and then it comes right back to you in the form of intimidation... and then here on this IMC too.

Well please know that at least some people understand the injustice of that incident. I have had my share of similar things too.

You just feel powerless, but then you divert that feeling into something else when the idea strikes you. Like writing about it on the IMC as you did. There's a good action! You got us talking and noticing this form of intimidation.
it's an open question (english)
22 Apr 2003
You titled your original post as an open question. I gave you an answer. So What? Here is another point that will probably cause an emotinal response in you. Until you can read a response like mine and honestly say to yourself, "hmm, that may be so" you will continue to bounce from one knee jerk reaction to another. You react from a center. Not the political center, but a center of belief. In your case as, I understand it, a pacifist center. Hence, you react according to your beliefs. Beliefs can never be based on the truth because they are based on half truths from past experiences, most of which are not even original to your own experience. You read alot of books don't you? You will continue to react from beliefs and consequently you will make yourself and probaly those around you emotionally disturbed. You will then seek to assuage your hurt ego amongst a sympathetic audience. Why do you suffer emotoinally at the ignorance of others unless you too are are ignorant in some aspect yourself? The only problem in life are reactions to one's existence. Life just is, free of judgement, moving forward as evolution must. Examine that.
Strange way to agree (english)
23 Apr 2003
It doesn't appear anyone on this thread believed anonymous pacifist was in the wrong. They had every right to express their anti-war sentiment, and the hostile approach by the self proclaimed freedom loving troglodytes was inappropriate. The legitimacy of the war doesn't seem to be in question here either.

So why the hostility in the thread? A misguided analogy of rape and the use of profanity is as much an attempt at intimidation as calling someone an a-hole in a note. Let's not sink to their level.

The sad truth is that if you come out publicly against the war, you will be harrassed. That is historically been the tactic. It's not right and it is frightening and it is why so many sit on the sidelines. It is also the only tool available when one is clearly wrong.

What needs to come out of this discussion is what to do about it when it inevitably happens. My opinion is have your facts ready, be calm, know that you are in the right, and tell them you will be more than happy to discuss it with them if they can keep it civil.

I am sorry what happened to anonymous pacifist, but you have to realize what you're dealing with here. You showed more courage than most by putting the stickers on your car. But if there were no risk, it wouldn't take much courage at all, now would it?