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Furthering our right to annoy

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I’m sure the First Amendment protects your right to be obnoxious. It’s not spelled out specifically, but somewhere in the Constitution there must be a clause protecting the rights of intentionally unpleasant and confrontational egotists. You or anybody else can walk into a courthouse talking about guns and see if the security guys get a little jumpy, and then shoot videos as they get thoroughly ticked off. They can’t arrest you for that. That’s what liberty is all about. Our ancestors fought to protect our YouTube posts of irritated police officers. You can quote Thomas Jefferson.

So I got the email press release from 4th Congressional District candidate Gavin Seim, with a link to his video of his confrontation at the Grant County Courthouse. And I watched the video Phil Bentz shot as he asked the edgy security officers at the Chelan County Courthouse for a place to stash a weapon, and my immediate reaction as liberty-loving law-abiding citizen is that I don’t like these people much. Not the officers they videoed, but the video shooters. Then the newspaper columnist in me kicked in, and I tried to think what these video shooters did wrong, and how courthouse security officers have a right to keep order and all that. But the truth is Seim and Bentz were right about the basic guns-in-courthouses law, which in Paragraph B says “Local legislative authority shall provide either a stationary locked box sufficient in size for pistols and key to a weapon owner for weapon storage, or shall designate an official to receive weapons for safekeeping, during the owner’s visit to restricted areas of the building.” They also may have realized that the low-level officials they confronted wouldn’t know anything about it, and that when you stand in a courthouse foyer asking the receptionist for a place to lock up a gun that it might cause a certain amount of befuddlement. Handled properly it can lead to a truly entertaining video that will get you a lot of attention. Obscure laws rarely invoked are great for that. Back in the old days TV journalists used to do a lot of that gotcha stuff. I think Geraldo Rivera made a career of it.

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