News The Watchmen on the Walls: The Mayor of Lynnwood Weighs In
posted by October 15 at 11:46 AMon
This morning brings another chapter in the ongoing drama of the Watchmen on the Walls, the international anti-gay group bringing their Taliban-esque mission to the Lynnwood Convention Center this weekend.
The latest: An official statement from Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough:
Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough Statement: Lynnwood Proudly Promotes Diversity While Respecting the First Amendment
Our American society and culture revere those First Amendment Constitutional rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble Peacefully. There are many passionate issues which stir citizens of our national community to take strong stands. Likewise, there are many racial and ethnic dynamics which stir passions on many sides of many issues.
The City of Lynnwood has over the last several years actively stated its policy, and acted to engage in promoting, through our Neighborhoods & Diversity Commission “mutual understanding” and respect amongst and between all sectors of our community. We as a city, and I as a councilmember and now as mayor, have all worked hard to foster an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance.
“While we must also value and respect the constitutional rights of everyone to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble our city will not tolerate the actions of any person or group which violate the personal safety or constitutional rights of any other person or group,” said City of Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough.
Mayor Gough also stated, “The City of Lynnwood wishes to make it also perfectly clear that it does not reflect, nor endorse the views and opinions of those who use the convention center and who may seek to polarize citizens through their own exercise of free speech and right to assemble peacefully.”
In regard to the specific event of “Watchmen on the Walls,” we wish to make perfectly clear that:
• The City of Lynnwood does not make decisions as to who rents or uses the convention center.
• The City of Lynnwood did not have advance knowledge, nor has it “approved,” nor does it support, nor is it “hosting,” the “Watchmen on the Wall” Event.
Respecting and valuing everyone’s peaceful exercise of their constitutional rights is a fundamental tenant upon which our community is based.
It’s good to know the mayor and Lynnwood law enforcement officials are aware of the risk they’ve invited into their city. The problem for me remains the violent extremism of past Watchmen events, and the Taliban-esque quality of their stated mission. Jerry Falwell and his ilk are pricks, but at least they know the difference between a culture war and a WAR war.
If there were any goal to this weekend’s Watchmen event—the repeal of gay-rights protections, the passage of an anti-gay ballot initiative—that would be one thing. Instead, the Watchmen seem to be all about stoking anti-gay hatred (see here for specifics) while offering their stoked masses no legal outlet for their fury, leaving them with what? Fists? Tire irons?
The Watchmen’s determination to vanquish the Evil Gay Enemy is far too close to Taliban/terrorist talk for my comfort, and the “holy warrior” rhetoric is scary shit—when extremists see violent crimes in this life as a path to eternal glory in the next, ordinary citizens have a right to be afraid. Here’s hoping the City of Lynnwood keeps close tabs on what they’ve gotten themselves into.