It’s been awhile since we last heard of someone getting arrested for the heinous crime of wearing a controversial and anti-American t-shirt advocating peace over war, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still happening. Mike Ferner is a former Navy corpsman who served in Vietnam and he was recently enjoying a cup of coffee while wearing the offending t-shirt at a Chicago V.A. Medical Center when he was approached by a V.A. police officer and told that, because of his t-shirt being a form of protest, he had to leave or be arrested. He called their bluff, but they weren’t kidding:
The officer who did the formalities, Eric Ousley, was professional in his duties. When I asked him if he was a vet, it turned out he had been a hospital corpsman in the Navy. We exchanged a couple sea stories. He uncuffed me early. And he allowed as to how he would only charge me with disorderly conduct, letting me go on charges of criminal trespass and weapons possession—a pocket knife—which he said would have to be destroyed (something I rather doubt since it was a nifty Swiss Army knife with not only a bottle opener, but a tweezers and a toothpick).
After informing me I could either pay the $275 fine on the citation or appear in court, Ousley escorted me off the premises, warning me if I returned with “that shirt” on, I’d be arrested and booked into jail.
I’m sure I could go back to officers Adkins’ and Ousleys’ fiefdom with a shirt that said, “Nuke all the hajis,” or “Show us your tits,” or any number of truly obscene things and no one would care. Just so it’s not “that shirt” again.
Bush’s America: Where wearing a peace t-shirt can get you arrested.