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Unwelcome on a bench?

Has the political unrest we see in many U.S. cities reached our corner of the nation?

On Friday, Sept. 11, I and two other men were requested to leave one of the benches in front of our local Walmart store by the manager plus an officer of the Northeast Police Department. We gathered there to have a cup of coffee and visit with one another before doing our usual shopping. We had been meeting there for several weeks for about an hour and a half starting at 8 a.m. each Friday.

The unifying factor amongst us that we are old (75-plus), and we each had “Trump 2020” hats. Obviously, our age was not a factor. It was the hats we were wearing. We had no political signs, and there was no waving down of vehicles that passed — just three old guys with matching hats.

I don’t understand what the problem was (it seems that you could dress any way you want in the store from all the “People of Walmart” emails I used to get). Could we have not entered the store together and shopped together? Is it likely that we would have been trespassed from the store?

It is Walmart’s store and bench, but why are they there if you cannot use them peaceably and unoffensively? I am not a lawyer, but I feel our civil rights have been violated by the store’s general manager and Walmart.

What do you think?

John Okonski,

Providence Village

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