This is misleading. Pete was not "arrested for wearing a hat". He was arrested for refusing to leave, when asked. There are at least two separate issues, here:1. TRESPASS
In a very real sense, his crime was one of trespass -- which is actually an "initiation of force" (albeit a very mild instance) against PROPERTY.
The true OWNER of land or a building has the absolute right to eject persons who do not comply with whatever rules the owner sees fit to impose. By refusing to leave, the person becomes an intruder and commits an act of trespass -- which is an initiation of force against property.
If an invited guest insists on attending your wedding in a bathing suit, you have every right to ask him to leave (or to take off your own clothes, if you prefer!) His refusal to leave becomes an act of trespass, and therefore an initiation of force against property.
The fact that the owner of the property is the state, or a local government, is immaterial and irrelevant. There is nothing wrong with the government owning property upon which to conduct legitimate government business (such as legislative chambers, courts, etc.)
As libertarians, we must defend ALL property rights -- regardless of what we may think of the owner (or caretaker) of the property.
Libertarians should firmly reject the current, "progressive" statist notions that PROPERTY is somehow exempt from protection (or that ownership of property has become meaningless).
Libertarians also defend the free exercise of certain basic rights, such as free speech, right to assemble peacefully, etc. (and even most forms of dress, non-disruptive worship, etc.) in "public areas" such as Times Square, Central Park, sidewalks, open fields, etc.
However, a courtroom is no more a "public place" than is a legislative chamber, a police station, Bethesda Hospital, the Jefferson Memorial, West Point Military College, the steps of the Capitol, etc., etc. Each of these places may be open to the public, to some extent, but there are rules and limitations on those who enter, and the property OWNER has the absolute right to eject anyone who refuses to comply. Everyone has the same privileges and immunities on "public" property, and it is not up to the guest to insist on changing the rules set down by the owner for conduct of those who use its property.
(As a special case, consider the conflict between the 2nd and 6th Amendments: your Right to Keep & Bear Arms and your right to Public Trial do not combine to mean that you may bring your rifle into the courtroom. You are free to leave it at the door, along with your hat!)
Even in public places, there are modes of dress or behavior that can reasonably be prohibited (e.g. singing in the library, nakedness on a non-nude beach, driving on the left side of the road), and it is not unreasonable to request those refuse to comply to leave the premises. If they refuse, then they commit trespass, regardless of whether it is a public courthouse or your living room!
Therefore, I reject the notion that this incident is some sort of cause celebre for all libertarians. I was actually starting to call the number to complain about the event (after inquiring to get news for my show). Fortunately, I hesitated, and studied the matter further, and read all of the sources. I finally realized that this was not a matter of individual liberty, at all! It was a violation of property rights (regardless of who owned the property) and the proper libertarian response was to defend property rights (even those of legitimate government entities), rather than to support individuals who choose to violate them.
Pete was NOT "arrested for wearing a hat" any more than the bank robber was arrested for "incivility when speaking to a teller". He was arrested for refusing to leave when asked (and for remaining and willfully violating the rules under which his presence was allowed). Libertarians must not not be in position of defending even such minor initiations of force against PROPERTY of any kind.
Yours, in Liberty, -/bam/- Bruce Alan Martin "Long Island Liberty, with BAM" P.S. I plan to discuss this issue (briefly) on my Tuesday show, and would welcome any comments or opinions on the subject. Please indicate clearly whether or not attribution is desired, if I quote your comment on the air, and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
--- In email@example.com, mark axinn
wrote: > > > > From Julian: > > Hi Tyranny Fughters: > > > On January 25, 2011, one of our members was arrested in a Keene, NH courthouse for wearing a hat. Details are given at www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/082630-2011-01-25-keene-cops-assault-kidnap-man-for-wearing-hat.htm. > . . . > > > Sincerely yours—Julian Heicklen, Organizer, Tyranny Fighters > > > P. S. I know who Mr. John Doe is. He is a member of Tyranny Fighters. We are taking this matter very seriously. > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed] >