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May 5, 2012 - 12:15am

Anti-U.N. residents plan protest during peace garden dedication Sunday

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden.

The dedication of the peace garden in Batavia on Sunday will draw a quiet protest from some local residents, according to Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett's Batavia Marine.

The problem, Barrett said, is that the peace garden is a little too closely linked with the United Nations and Barrett and others are no fan of the U.N.

One of Barrett's current concerns is a U.N. push to create an international treaty on the trade of guns, and while supporters of the treaty say it merely deals with the illicit sale of guns, groups such as the NRA fear it's really an attempt to circumvent the 2nd Amendment (Wikipedia).

"(The peace garden is) a noble effort," Barrett said, "but when one of the principles of the peace garden gets an award from the United Nations and they're going to have a torch run via the U.N. from Buffalo to Albany, that concerns us. We don't want anything to do with the U.N."

Barrett is referring to Paula Savage, a Batavia native who organized the first peace garden in Ottawa and is now part of the International Peace Garden Foundation.

Savage was recently honored by the U.N. for her peace garden efforts.

The Batavia garden is adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum on West Main Street and the protest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on the opposite side of the street.

"It will be peaceful. There will be no bullhorns," Barrett said. "We're going to have an informational protest to show that the the peace garden is associated with the United Nations and that we're dead set against what the U.N. does."

Mark Brudz
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Dan, by your definition, it realy is a matter of what foot a shoe is on, think about that as you sleep tonight please.

Daniel Jones
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Mark - I sleep just fine knowing that I can spend my money where I choose. I wish Mr. Barrett well, but I will not spend money at his store after he is engaging in the sort of extremism that makes this area look terrible.

Mark Brudz
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I respect that you choose not to shop there, something tells me that you wouldn't have anyway. That said, you said that he should be boycotted, that is calling for harm to his business, there is a diferrence, If you can not see that, then I guess there isn't much left to say

Daniel Jones
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Mark - I actually was looking to buy a shotgun and I was considering shopping there, but since this happened, I'll take my business somewhere else. I will not shop at Wal-Mart and I will find another locally owned gun store in Buffalo or Batavia.

By the way, Howard, you've been advocating more or less a boycott of Wal-Mart for years. I hope you can sleep at night knowing that you've taken a swing at Sam Walton's kids noses.

Howard B. Owens
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Dan, I'm not even discussing any particular business nor any particular speech.

In concept, the idea of boycotting a business because of the speech of an owner or anybody else associated with that business is odious on its face.

The singular goal of a boycott is to cause economic harm to that business. The economic harm of a boycott (if successful, and they rarely are) might result in the owner missing a car payment, or canceling a vacation, or no longer affording to send a child to college, or laying off an employee, or shutting the business down completely.

Some of those consequences are far more serious than a bloody nose.

There may be legitimate reasons to boycott a business -- I largely boycott Walmart, for example, because I believe the business does more economic harm to local communities than economic help. So in that degree, you're right, a boycott is a legitimate form of protest. But any time you engage in activity designed to cause harm, whether physical, emotional or economic, because you don't like what the other person had to say, you are doing something quite wrong, maliciously wrong, both to the person and to the concept of individual liberty.

I'm sure, Dan, nothing will come of your threat to boycott Mr. Barrett's business, and I suspect he won't even miss your business if he ever even had it in the first place. I'm not the least concerned that your call for a boycott will have any effect whatsoever. My statements merely go to the morally reprehensible action of trying to use economic sanction to try and shut up another person merely because you disagree with their speech. That's really quite odious.

Daniel Jones
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Howard - If you're trying to spin this argument to me thinking I'm some big-shot, then you're mistaken, I'm just a guy. Secondly, I, as just a guy, said that reasonable people should consider not shopping at said establishment either because he espoused extreme views that cause this community to be looked upon unfavorably. I doubt that it'll make a dent either, but as one who has had my speech held accountable in legitimate and under-handed ways, I see no reason why Mr. Barrett should be the exception. I work on political campaigns, some campaigns will not hire me because of my views, that's the risk one takes when one makes them self a public person. I didn't delve into his personal life, I didn't say I wished him physical damage, I just said that I won't shop at his store and other people should consider doing the same because of the views he expressed in the public sphere. Nothing dirty about that, Howard.

Mark Brudz
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You said Dan,

"I also think that reasonable people should boycott Mr. Barrett's shop, I wouldn't want to support someone who thinks like him."

Daniel Jones
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Mark - I was going to post something, but I'll just refer you to my response to Howard, I think it sums it up.

Howard B. Owens
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Dan, you flatter yourself to read into anything I've written some sort of thought that I view you as a big shot.

Further, you're right that there are consequences for speech and any business owner who speaks out knows he risks losing business, and any employee-type knows he risks future employment for holding an opinion.

While those consequences may or may not have merit, it's really an unrelated topic. There's something quite different from discussing consequences vs. actively seeking economic harm for another person.

It would be as if you went to a political event in Attica, saw a person whom you didn't like seeing at that event, and so you called that person's employer and complained, leading, predictably, to that person being fired. It isn't causing physical harm, but the result is quite the same ... the person is out of a job, and it was your doing for no other reason than you wanted to push a political agenda.

The person may or may not have been willing to accept the consequences of his or her political actions or speech, but that still didn't make it right of you to cause economic harm to that person by tattling on him or her. (Note: I use "you" for the sake of argument, not to denote you actually doing such a thing.)

"I didn't say I wished him physical damage" But you did and do wish him damage. Why you can't see that is wrong is beyond me.

I can only chalk it up to lack of life experience, particularly lack of private sector business experience.

Howard B. Owens
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And to be clear, I'm not arguing against your personal right to shop or not shop where you want, merely the political agenda of advocating a boycott to try and prevent somebody from exercising free speech rights. There is something very much dirty about that.

carol grasso
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well said Phil!!!Carol:)

Mark Brudz
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In any event, I stopped by the ceremony this afternoon and I must say it was a nice, vibrant display and a very well intentioned and noble event. Batavia should be proud. Now I must rest, in morning I will be heading to barrets to buy a couple of boxes of .22 LR so I can do some target shooting later in the week.

Daniel Jones
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Howard - You seriously equate me saying that I won't shop at his business and saying that others shouldn't as well as direct physical damage, and compare it to the firing of a public employee for their political activities. I chalk that up to you being incorrigible and ridiculous, but hey, that's just me.

Howard B. Owens
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Dan, I think I just won the argument. Good night.

carol grasso
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well well well Our Peace Garden seems to be getting alot of attention!! Maybe we all should go to the garden and have a peaceful chat! Dan and Howard you guys need to come to the garden and chill out it is very peaceful there!!! Remember Paula Savage didn't get the award from the UN she got it from Ireland!!!! The people who gave her the "PEACE" medal came here from Ireland and started their race in front of the UN. For smart guys you can't read very well! Go back and read the article! I hope you don't boycott Barretts, my sons Nick and Mike would be very upset over something as stupid as this whole thing turned out to be. I sure would miss my speedies if they couldn't hunt anymore. Thank God my boys are good Christians and love hunting and love the Peace Garden!!!And they love me how lucky am I.As long as they don't hunt in the garden I will be happy!cAROL:)

John Woodworth JR
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Daniel, I do not see how this owner is harming this community's image? Oh I know how, because again you are under the assumption that, MR Barrett is attacking the Peace Garden and its symbolic presence! Again you perceive that the Peace Garden is against Gun Rights.

MR Barrett is doing nothing different than the Wall Street protestors. Example the protestor in Buffalo camped out in front of the City Hall to protest Wall Street Corruption. So, do you agree with their protest? If yes, why? What does the City of Buffalo have to do with Wall Street?

Yes, MR Barrett does not like the United Nations' Treaty on Firearm Trade. So what! Maybe, there is something in the treaty that affects his ability to buy international firearms. This may put higher cost to his customers. In his eyes the Peace Garden is supported by the UN and in his eyes what better place to let his voice be heard. Did you go to the Peace Garden Ceremony? Did he ruin the moment? I am guessing not.

One last question for you. Do you believe people have the right to protest war outside service member's funeral services?

John Woodworth JR
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Once again Charlie where do Dan and you get MR Barrett is protesting the "PEACE GARDEN!" Talk about blowing things out of context, geez!

Charlie Mallow
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John actually I was the only one keeping this in context. My comments are solely directed at the protest of the garden. That came from the story above as well as the quote "Barrett said. "We're going to have an informational protest to show that the the peace garden is associated with the United Nations and that we're dead set against what the U.N. does."".

As Carrol Grasso has said, the garden has nothing to do with the UN, guns or Mr Barrett's business.

Rich Richmond
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Below are some of the insulting despicable comments and/or implied innuendos; in whole or in part directed at Michael Barrett by some in regard to the Peace Garden; the Peace Garden, a symbol of good intentions and tolerance?

“Wow, this is the kind of regressive garbage that makes this area look like a reactionary outpost for insanity.”

“Another taking marching orders from the NRA. The paranoia is stunning.”

“Your Mommy was wrong, you aren't special.”

“There has to be some environmental cause of this stupidity. Was there another toxic train derailment?

******************************************************************

Michael Barrett, his father David, and mother Mary have provided hundreds of jobs for members of “this Community” since approximately 1954; well over fifty-eight years.

Fifty eight years of wages for people to provide for their families including all the taxes, fees and surcharges that go with it; paying into people’s Social Security, unemployment benefits or workmen’s compensation for example.
Dinner on the table, money for rent or mortgages; Christmas presents underneath the tree for children; fifty eight years.

Fifty-eight years of donations of money and merchandise given to Community Organizations, Service Organizations and Churches to help with their good works in our Community.

There is symbolism and there is substance.

I for one am proud to call Michael Barrett my friend.

Jason Crater
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Anyone else finding it oddly amusing/ironic that they had a 21 gun salute at this thing?

Howard B. Owens
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Great post, Richard. Thank you. I think you prove my point about how wrong it is to attack somebody for their opinion.

Again, civil debate that respects the rights of the other person means responding with facts and reason, not attacks.

Mark Brudz
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Richard, this is one of the best post that I have seen in awhile. Well said, very well said!

John Roach
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After the name calling, I hope more people buy their firearms and other hunting/fishing gear there.

Charlie Mallow
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Richard, I stand by my comment you quoted, defense by diversion isn't going to work. Not one person has chosen to answer the simple question as to why someone would be protesting at an event that has absolutely nothing to do with the proclaimed cause. The garden has nothing to do with the UN.

Did the stunt even take place????

Charlie Mallow
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I just got to ask, during the PR stunt, who was throwing the Turkeys out the window? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf3mgmEdfwg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Howard B. Owens
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Charlie, Paula Savage received an award at the UN, as in GCC's headline:

"GCC Alum Lauded at United Nations for International Peace Garden"
http://www.genesee.edu/news/articles/dspArticle/3899/

For a person who is vehemently anti-UN, why does there need to be any more connection than that to want to stage a protest?

If you want a chance to voice your anti-UN sentiment, you shouldn't have to defend the reason for making a statement. It's rather ludicrous to demand any further explanation. Nobody owes anybody an explanation for why they want to express their political views.

As for the protest, I know the turn out wasn't what Mike hoped ... many people who said they would be there decided to enjoy the sunshine, or something, which is rather the way of America these days.

Charlie Mallow
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Howard, the answer is simple. A cause needs to have merit and a leader needs to explain why it makes sence to follow. Without those two things no one shows up on a sunny day.

Rich Richmond
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Hello Charlie,

I need a clarification?

You stated in part in post #75 in reply to my post #70, “Richard, I stand by my comment you quoted.”

To refresh your memory you said, “There has to be some environmental cause of this stupidity. Was there another toxic train derailment?”

If not contaminated ground water, what other environmental causes may come into play with people to whom you don’t agree?

Charlie Mallow
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John, rest easy with the turnout Howard described, thankfully there is very little chance of a toxic connection.

Daniel Jones
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Rick and Howard- Yes, I said those things and yes I said that I will not shop there and said that others who think that protesting a peace garden is asinine shouldn't either. I'm glad that he's been in business for that long and employs people, but that is no excuse for protesting a garden dedicated to peace because the UN gave the organizer of it an award. It's extremism, we should not coddle extremism and it's based on logical fallacies. I think that Charlie may have been right, it might have been a publicity stunt to stoke the fires of the fear of 'outsiders'. The whole protest is based on a treaty that doesn't exist, it has nothing to do with gun control, it has to do with the fact that Mr. Barrett chose to attack the peace garden for it's association with the UN....and those are his words not mine.

When you choose to enter the public square to voice your opinion, the government should not shut you down nor should you be attacked for your personal life, but you should not be immune to criticism and non-violent responses to your opinions. Mr. Barrett runs a business that is a public business, a public response of not shopping at his business is not an unfair attack. To equate a boycott with violence really requires the suspension of disbelief, and to say that he's immune from criticism because he's a local employer doesn't make any sense.

Daniel Jones
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What name calling? I'm arguing with three conservatives and a libertarian, I thought that conservatives and libertarians despised political correctness.

Howard B. Owens
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"To equate a boycott with violence really requires the suspension of disbelief ..."

Dan, you're just wrong.

Both a punch in a nose and depriving people of money from people they might otherwise get is coercion.

Daniel Jones
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Howard - No, you are, not shopping at a place is not physical damage or violence, it's taking peaceful action as a response to something said or done. Someone is not wrong because you say they are.

Daniel Jones
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Consumers in a free society make choices on where to shop, boycotts are encouraging consumers to make a choice to do their shopping somewhere else because of what they perceive as a wrong on the part of the owner. That's hardly 'punching someone in the nose'.

John Woodworth JR
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Really Dan? You do not think your cry for people to boycott a local business does not hurt that business? Your sole purpose to boycott is because; you have different belief than MR Barrett? Why boycott when you stated, "I'd make my own sign that says "Please Don't Think We're All Like This" and stand next to them." Why not leave it at that? No, instead you go further and state, "I also think that reasonable people should boycott Mr. Barrett's shop, I wouldn't want to support someone who thinks like him." What makes you anymore reasonable than him? Your own statements showed you could be reasonable but, you decided differently. I believe MR Barrett is protesting the principle of the UN support.

Like I asked Dan. Do you agree with protestors gathering outside a fallen service member's funeral to protest "WAR?" They are protesting the principle of war but, not the service member. I find it highly despicable that these protestors would cause such ill regard for the grieving family! I myself would not stand beside MR Barrett's protest. My dislke for the UN is not based on gun treaties.

Daniel Jones
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John - Blowing things out of proportion much? I support Mr. Barrett's right to protest, I do not support what he is protesting and suggesting a boycott, which is a counter-protest is not infringing upon his rights. I didn't call for the government to ban his protest, I said I disagreed with it and suggested a boycott as a protest in a response to it. I'm pretty amazed that a strong libertarian like Howard would confuse the two.

I support anyone's right to protest, and anyone's right to counter-protest. Instead of calling for the ban of Westboro Baptist's protests, counter-organizers have set up a response where they stand around the nutjobs from Westboro so the families will not have to see them. That's responding in an American way. Meet them yourselves and non-violently tell them to shove it. So is a boycott. Encouraging consumers to not shop at an establishment because the owner has engaged in expressing an extreme view in a way that hurts the image of the community is no different.

John Woodworth JR
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Funny I could say the same for your boycott! I do not agree with Howard much but, in this case I can see what he is saying. Boycott vs. Protest!

The Protest in this case is against the United Nations and it principles on Firearm Trade. Does the treaty hurt the ability for gun owners to purchase international weapons such as SKS, AK-74, etc...? Does it make it expensive and difficult to purchase which means it will add a higher price tag to purchase here in the USA? Granted he protest the UN at a "Peace Garden" ceremony offending you and some others for whatever reason you want. Did it hurt you financially, physically or mentally? I can probably with all certainty say it did not! Did it harm the outcome for the Peace Garden event? No! Did it keep people from enjoying the event? No! Did it take away the meaning of the event? No! Not many paid any mind to it but, a select few!

Now let’s compare this with your cry for a boycott. Would a boycott of MR Barrett's business harm him financially? Yes or No depending on the unreasonable people out there. It does present the possibility though. Would it harm him physically? Safe to say, NO! Would it harm him mentally? There is a slight possibility depending on his state of mind and how it would affect his livelihood. Your input about Westboro shows nothing about a boycott or a ban but, how they created a barrier between the two fractions. An amazing concept don't you think? So, why cry for a boycott when you could just provide a barrier. I liked your idea about holding signs in support of the UN/Peace garden and standing along MR Barrett.

John Roach
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Dan,
You will soon be working for the City of Buffalo. If I don't agree with your call for a boycott here, should we call for a boycott against shopping in Buffalo? Is that your position?

Charlie Mallow
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This was an ill-conceived stunt pure and simple, it should have never happened. This thread is becoming lost in personal friendship and business relationships. There is nothing more American than a boycott. It's freedom of speach at its purist. Americans have always voted with their dollars. Just stop trying to defend a position without firm ground under your feet.

No one wants a local business to be hurt because of this. There was no protest. Put it to rest.

Howard B. Owens
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Notice that Dan keeps trying to say there is no physical harm in a boycott, which nobody has ever said was the case. There was simply an analogy to punching somebody in the nose, which in Dan's mind somehow became more than an analogy.

Yet he has not once addressed the fact that a boycott causes financial harm. He blithely ignores that fact.

The whole point of a boycott is to cause financial harm, isn't it? If it doesn't cause financial harm, what good is it?

If I were more partisan, I might make the point that a certain class of political belief never sees harm in taking money from the people who earn it. Dan seems to be of a mind that taking money from somebody is quite an acceptable thing to do, that there is no harm in hurting a person financially. Interesting mindset.

And, Dan, I can think of nothing more libertarian than defending one's right to free speech, and whether I agree with that speech or not (Charlie) is completely immaterial. This isn't about the content of the speech, but the idea that somebody would advocated harm to another person to shut them up.

Charlie Mallow
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Dan didn't say a boycott wouldn't cause financial harm, of course it would. All his statements are defending this idea that a boycott was the same as physical harm. He's not going to allow you to suggest there is a link.

Let me be real clear, I personally think if your looking for sporting goods you should shop locally. One press release isn't a reason to avoid that shop, one mistake doesn't justify a boycott.

Howard B. Owens
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Dan has never admitted that it would cause financial harm, because once he does, he loses the argument.

Once you admit that it causes financial harm, then you are admitting that it's the same as punching somebody in the nose for exercising free speech.

Harm is harm, whether it comes in the form of a bloody nose or reducing a business's profits.

If harm is harm -- are you seriously, Charlie, going to argue otherwise -- then harm is coercion.

Do you really believe it is right to use coercion to force somebody to shut up because you disagree with the content of his or her speech?

Is it really OK to harm somebody because you don't like their speech?

If that's OK ... next time you say something I disagree with, can I come over to your house at take your TV? Or perhaps I should call your boss and complain that you're spending too much time on the computer while on the clock? After all, I didn't punch you in the nose. It's not physical violence, so it must be OK, right? Anything to get you to shut up because I don't like your speech is OK, so long as it's just financial harm, right?

Howard B. Owens
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And let's be clear -- my position isn't about the UN, the peace garden, Barrett's, Dan Jones, Charlie Mallow, or any of those specifics. It's about defending free speech.

Charlie Mallow
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First off, I’m not commenting regarding this business or the topic of this post anymore. I also don’t like the idea of a local business taking a financial hit for a mistake. But, I will respond to you in general terms about boycotts.

Boycotts are non- violent means of protest. There is a huge difference between physical harm (punching someone in the face) and depriving them of financial support. Customers are a result of good business practices. When you’re in business you have to understand that you shouldn’t offend you customers. Politics and good business don’t mix and when you cross the line you will lose customers. There is no moral imperative to give your dollars to anyone you do not wish too. What you call coercion is really just public reaction to a bad business practice. No one owes you a dime just because you open your doors. No one can steal something from you that you didn’t earn. Customers are earned everyday.

Rich Richmond
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Howard,

Charlie’s position is perfectly clear and he stands by his original comment.

“THERE HAS TO BE SOME ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSE OF THIS STUPIDTY.”

I'll take him at his word.

Charlie Mallow
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Richard, without question. If you had more than two people show up to protest a Peace Garden, test the soil. It’s toxic.

Mark Brudz
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Boycotting because of Bad Business practices is one thing

Boycotting because someone's political views or actions is coercion

Failing to see the difference is puzzling

Howard B. Owens
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Ditto, Mark.

And I'm not even addressing the idea that one Mr. John Doe decides not to go Acme Dine and Shine any longer because he doesn't like the politics of the owner. This is about calling for others to boycott an establishment over politics. Not only is it morally reprehensible, it's immature and toxic to good democracy.

We had a situation come up one time where a business owner made a comment here that one of his customers found offensive and she said she would probably never go to that business again. I can't fault her for that. But you didn't see her on this site suggesting others do the same. I don't even think she told her friends.

Howard B. Owens
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Charlie, btw, just want to be clear -- to be logically consistent, you also wouldn't have a problem if one reader of The Batavian called up the employer of another reader and said, "I'm not going to do business with you any longer because John Doe said he supported Obama." You'd be OK with that?

I mean, it is a non-violent form of protest, correct? It's only money, after all. What harm is there in causing somebody to lose money over their politics, right? Whatever it takes to shut up people with disagreeable opinions as long as it's non-violent, correct?

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What is the difference in boycotting a big box store in the hopes that they will close down? Doesn't that deprive local residents a job, if you are successful?
I've stayed out of this because I didn't believe that many would join in the protest. From what I read, not many did.
Am I to understand the underlying cause of the protest was NOT about money? If it wasn't then it certainly had to be about the Peace Garden and the War of 1812. How many people are still protesting that war? By the way, the War of 1812 has a rich firearms history.
This entire topic seem to get out of hand many threads ago.
Those who wished to protest had a right to do so, even if I can't quite figure out why (other than the money aspect of selling guns).
Those who went to the Peace Garden didn't seem to be bothered by those across the street. They also didn't really connect our Peace Garden with the UN. What they did understand is Batavia and her early settlers had a part in the history of the War of 1812. A war that occurred many years before the UN was a twinkle in anyone's eye.

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