Employees from the Alaska Human Rights Commission threatened a private citizen over a pro-gun bumper sticker.
Several days ago employees at the Alaska Human Rights Commission and the Department of Corrections, government agencies, engaged a private citizen in what many are calling an abuse of power.
Here is reportedly what happened:
Brenton Linegar of Anchorage, Alaska, had parked his truck outside a multi-tenant building. Linegar, owner of Sage Mechanical, a plumbing and refrigeration company, was meeting with one of his clients, who happened to be the owner of the building.
Upon returning to his truck after the meeting Linegar found two business cards attached to his truck.
Both cards were from government employees, one from Marti Buscaglia, Executive Director of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, and the other from Kendall Rhyne, a Probation/Parole Officer with the Alaska Department of Corrections. It appears that these individuals took issue with a bumper sticker that was attached to the back of Linegar's truck.
The sticker showed a silhouette of what appears to be an AR-15 and the words "Black Rifles Matter," an overtly pro-Second Amendment message.
On the back of Buscaglia's business card was a handwritten note stating, "Please do not park this truck with that offensive sticker in this parking lot."
About an hour after Linegar discovered the business cards, he received a call from the client he met at the building. Buscaglia had sent the man an email further expressing her outrage that the truck with the offensive sticker was parked in the lot and requesting that the building owner "please do something" about it.
The client expressed his concern to Linegar that, as reported by The Alaska Landmine, he might also potentially lose the Human Rights Commission and Department of Corrections as tenants because of the situation. He asked Linegar if he could avoid parking in the building parking lot in the future.
A few hours after speaking with his client, a friend of Linegar told him that the Human Rights Commission had actually made a Facebook post about the offending truck and bumper sticker.
Linegar then took photos and posted images of the cards on his Facebook page. This resulted in a flurry of comments and reactions from people angered by what many called an "abuse of power" by the government employees.
***UPDATED***Sooooo......got this gem on one of my trucks today. Am I missing something?! I thought this sticker was a...
Thus far Linegar's Facebook post has received nearly 4,000 comments and more than 3,000 shares.
The Human Rights Commission initially posted on their own Facebook page, suggesting that their offense with the bumper sticker was racially based. "This statement can certanily be construed as racist given the Black Lives Matter campaign," read the comment, as quoted and recorded via screen shots by The Alaska Landmine.
There was also an image of the truck's bumper sticker, with a caption reading "In what world is this ok?" according to The Alaska Landmine.
They deleted the post and images soon after. They then made another Facebook post, attempting to explain their actions:
Earlier today we posted a sticker that we read as racist that read "Black Rifles Matter." It offended many gun owners...
This post also received an onslaught of negative comments from people upset that the agency has tried to use the force of its office to "punish" a private citizen for expressing his First Amendment rights in displaying a bumper sticker.
Relatively few people acknowledged or supported the notion that the sticker had anything to do with race or racial discrimination.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy subsequently got involved in the situation, posting the following on his own Facebook page:
After review of a post made on the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights social media page yesterday, my office has...
At this time there are no new developments to report in the Governor's request for an investigation.
Linegar told The Alaska Landmine that his intention with putting the bumper sticker on his vehicle was to promote Second Amendment rights and the safe and appropriate handling of firearms. He told the reporter that he got the sticker from a veteran's event that his company sponsored, and that Sage Mechanical employs several veterans and minorities.
Answering the charge of racism levied against him by the state employees, Linegar said, "We are all extremely close, like a family. We are not racists. We employ minorities and women. We are hard workers and proud of the work we do. To be publicly called out like this by State employees is nothing more than bullying."
He also stated that he was very concerned that the complaint was initiated by government employees in the name of state agencies, ones that could ostensibly adversely affect his business, which it seems is precisely what they intended to do.
Linegar made an edit to his statement on his Facebook page, declaring that the treatment he received was unjust and unAmerican, but desiring a return to American values of neighborliness and tolerance. You can read it by expanding the caption on his photos above.
What do you think of this situation? Did the government employees overstep their bounds and act inappropriately? Should they be praised for calling out something they deemed to be offensive, or should they be reprimanded or fired for inappropriately representing their state agencies? Do you find the bumper sticker offensive or a legitimate expression of Second Amendment rights?
I can guess what the majority of our readers will say to these questions. But we'd like to hear your opinions on it.
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