“If you can’t stand behind our troops, do us all a favor and stand in front of them.”
–Text on t-shirt given away by Florida Sheriff. (See video.)
It is absolutely NO stretch whatsoever to say that this so-called public servant is advocating that misguided citizens kill peace activists.
Doug Zachary / The Rag Blog / July 4, 2008
Florida sheriff gives out shirts with violent message
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A T-shirt controversy in St. Johns County has prompted critics to question the actions of Sheriff David Shoar.
The controversy began when the sheriff donated several T-shirts at a gathering of military veterans. However, the slogan on the shirts upset some anti-war protesters.
Mary Lawrence won a shirt at the event, but she said she was upset by its message.
Lawrence said she never wins anything, so she was very happy when she won a gift bag at a veteran’s event.
“Later on, I won one of the raffle bags and took it home. That night, when I opened it, I discovered the shirt and my head just exploded. I couldn’t believe the sheriff was passing out this shirt,” Lawrence said.
On the front of T-shirt there is an image of a marksman aiming a rifle. The back of the shirt states, “If you can’t stand behind our troops, do us all a favor and stand in front of them.”
The sheriff said the intention of the shirts was not to upset people but to help veterans.
For Lawrence, the message was disturbing because she said she’s an anti-war protester. She told Channel 4 that she believes the message gives people permission to attack her and her friends.
Lawrence said she could not believe the sheriff had donated the shirts.
“To have that other concern of somebody maybe being trigger happy and being spurred by the message on that T-shirt is a real concern,” Lawrence said.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the sheriff purchased the shirts with his own money to support local veterans. He thought a veterans meeting was one way to pass out the shirts.
“The sheriff bought the shirts. He didn’t design the shirts. He hasn’t done anything to promote the shirts. He’s just handed a few out after he purchased them to help them raise money and support a local family,” said St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Chuck Mulligan.
The sheriff’s office said the sheriff is not supporting or promoting violence. They said he’s just supporting the troops.
Several members of St. Augustine’s People for Peace and Justice have written the sheriff to voice their concerns.
“He is advocating whatever the real message is. That could be interpreted a lot of ways — not all good. But, he is advocating this as the sheriff,” said Terry Buckenmeyer.
The sheriff said he has talked to several people on the phone and returned some e-mails about the shirts. He said he plans to meet with the people next week to discuss their concerns.
Source. / news4jax.com
The Rag Blog