Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shoe-throwers proliferate

This is sort of like reinventing the pet rock:
When President Bush ducked an Iraqi reporter's footwear, a man in Queens got an idea. The transit rider wanted to grab the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's attention.

He did, but he got more than he bargained for.

"And one more thing, where is Elliot Sanders?" Stephen Millies said during an MTA public hearing on Wednesday.

Then, just as he said, "Mr. Sanders, this is for you," Millies was tackled.

Millies said he was just trying to show the MTA his shoe -- when he got the boot. The 54-year-old was hauled away in handcuffs and cited for intending to cause "public annoyance."

"What's the point of having one of these public hearings unless you can annoy some of these $300,000 bureaucrats? Annoyance is not a crime," Millies said.

Whether or not it's a crime, he appears to be facing an unexpected punishment.

Millie's protest got him thrown out of the meeting. It got him into the headlines. But when he showed up for work the next day at Sunnyside Yard in Queens, his employer, Amtrak, told him to go home.

"I have no idea why because I was just exercising my first amendment rights of freedom of speech," Millies said.
The NY Times reports concerning Millies' denial that he meant to throw the shoe:
Bill Morange, the authority’s security director, was standing beside the speaker’s podium and was one of the first to grab Mr. Millies. He said it appeared Mr. Millies was going to throw the shoe. "You can say anything you want," Mr. Morange said. "Just don’t throw your shoes."

Reached later by telephone, Mr. Millies said he had no intention of doing that.

"I wanted to show the sole of the shoe as a sign of contempt for someone who makes so much money and yet wants to raise fares on the disabled," he said.
Millie's explained, according to the Times, "I was very much inspired by that courageous Iraqi journalist who was protesting the occupation of his country by the American and British oil companies and their governments." Well, the "courageous Iraqi journalist" actually threw his shoe. I'd consider that an admission of criminal intent having nothing to do with free speech. It wasn't the most momentous crime of all time and he was thwarted before he got to commit it, but I don't see why it shouldn't lose him his job. Employing morons can't be good for business. (Hat Tip: VosIzNeias)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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