Fortunately, Occupy Broad Ripple with Guns ended not with a bang. I was out early, engaged in field research after we did Saturday’s show of "Civil Discourse Now." I felt my perception of the evening would be best served if I remained in one place. There were several bars with signs outside advising customers were not allowed to enter armed. As I said in at least one previous post, I do not stay up late. At 8:00 I was home.
One news report said dozens showed up for the "event." A post to that report said it really was more like dozen. The only effect I noticed was fewer patrons of the establishment where we had set up our observation post. Usually on a Saturday evening—and consider that IU and Purdue, suck though they may this year in football, played for their trophy on TV—the place would be fairly packed. It was not. Thanksgiving weekend is a busy weekend for bars. In Broad Ripple, the Butler students who go home for break are replaced by college students home to Indy for the holiday. They, understandably, want to see old high school friends (and get out of the ‘rents home for however many hours they can). So Broad Ripple should have been hopping. When we departed (by cab), Broad Ripple was not hopping.
So the merchants of Broad Ripple probably thank John Hallgarth, for hurting business on what usually would be a good night in an otherwise down economy.
A last comment in reply to Roberta Ecks, and her example:
"But first, imagine a park with a lot of soap-box orators holding forth. All have audiences. Only a few are saying things you think need said and you have to work your way through the crowds to hear them. Is your freedom of speech (and hearing) abridged by this? Would freedom in general be increased or decreased if all but your favorites are silenced? You wrote, ‘It is interesting that when I Google variations on the term "ban guns" I come up with pro-gun websites, usually efforts at sarcasm, that block my attempt to find places where people advocate that guns should be banned. Those websites serve the purpose of blocking free speech.’ No, they don't. They are free speech, same as the ant-gun sites. Those are your fellow citizens, speaking their minds, and the good people who make search engines provide a way to page through them rapidly."
It is "free speech" when items are placed with the intent to block others’ speech. However, in the example of soap-box orators, presumably everyone speaks to express him or herself. But if the speakers hold forth only to drown out those who oppose them, then, yes, it is the exercise of free speech, but a cowardly exercise. Let them have their say. Let them have their websites. The use of search engines to block someone else’s message from being heard is strategic cowardice.