Friday, October 29, 2010

Signs of the Times

We talked the other day about that guy who got caught in Anne Arundel County, allegedly tearing down signs that had been paid for and put up by proponents of a measure that would allow slot machine gambling at a certain mall.

The commercials are on all the time, and as Peggy pointed out to me, sometimes you'll be watching the news and there will be a pro-slot commercial and then an anti-slot commercial right afterwards, followed by the two men vying for the governor's mansion.  In the NFL, they say the penalties offset, so if all candidates would just agree to refrain from running tv spots, we would be able to enjoy our regular commercials, with car dealers getting dunked in bozo booths while burbling out their slogans, and free Thanksgiving turkeys if you spend enough on groceries at the Bi-So-Lo.

And please, diction, people, diction!  There is one announcer who does not enunciate all that well on a radio ad, and I keep hearing him say that we should all oppose "sluts at the mall." 

I should say so! They take up all the good parking spots!

But here's something from the SUN about the guy who was arrested for ripping down pro-slot signs:

With a Glen Burnie resident charged with stealing dozens of pro-slots signs last weekend, each side in the slots question says it has lost countless signs to vandals in the tight ballot fight over whether to allow a slots parlor by Arundel Mills mall. Experts say emotions rarely run high over ballot questions.

David Scott Corrigan, 50, who told court officials that he is a $160,000-a-year manager with Northrop Grumman in Glen Burnie, is not affiliated with No Slots at the Mall, the group against slots at the shopping mecca, or similar interests, according to his lawyer, the organization and the Maryland Jockey Club, which hopes to steer the project to the
Laurel Park race course.
Corrigan was released on personal recognizance Saturday by a District Court commissioner after Anne Arundel County police charged him with property destruction and theft of between $1,000 and $10,000. No trial date has been set and police said the investigation is continuing.

"Apparently, he is about as low-key and mainstream as people come," said Corrigan's attorney, Byron L. Warnken.

"I know that he is a religious man, and I can tell you he is not supportive of gambling," said the University of Baltimore law professor, who also is in private practice. His client "would never do something that he thought was illegal," Warnken said.

David Jones, chairman of the No Slots at the Mall Coalition, said at least 4,000 of his group's signs have vanished in the past two months. Todd Lamb, campaign manager of the Jobs & Revenue groups, said they are out 700 signs in the past few weeks, which prompted them to put a camera on their property. The video that was captured, which is on
YouTube, purports to show Corrigan's arrest.

"It's rare that you will get somebody so energized about an issue that they will tear down the signs," said Dan Nataf, director of the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College.

In court documents, police said that shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday they saw a man who at first look could have been taken for a State Highway Administration worker, outfitted in a reflective shirt and yellow hard hat, by the headquarters of Jobs & Revenue Corp. on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.

They saw the person cutting a "Vote for Question A" from a wood frame, charging documents said. When asked what he was doing, "he then answered, 'I am taking down the sign,'" according to the documents. Asked why, "he stated because I am against it," police wrote.

They also wrote that they returned 70 signs from the suspect's Toyota Tacoma to Jobs & Revenue.

A Northrop Grumman spokesman said the company had no comment.
Now I'm not saying the man is guilty, and I could not care any less about the outcome of this vote down in AA Co, but I have about as much interest in going to a slots parlor as I would going to see a musical based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer. There are plenty of sanctimonious types who a) don't want to play slot machines themselves  and b) have decided that you shouldn't - and can't - play them either.   
But I pointed this out because this statement from his lawyer  - his client "would never do something that he thought was illegal" - what the hill of beans does that mean?  Are we setting him up for an insanity defense here?  Does the attorney really wish for us to understand that his client sees no problem in stealing other people's property because he is "against" what the signs say?

Uh...what if I decided that I oppose everything about cigarettes: their manufacture, sale or possession...  Could I just dart around smashing cigarette machines and 7-Eleven cash register areas and any other place where smokes might be sold? 

Are we becoming a society that will be ruled by those with the heaviest sledge hammers and cardboard cutters?

Sometimes I just really have to wonder.

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