In a now deleted Facebook post, the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights called out a private citizen on their official Facebook page for a bumper sticker on the back of his truck. Not long after, they deleted the post and made another post explaining why they did. The comments are something else.
But that is just a small part of this story. The owner of the truck, Brenton Linegar, was parked at the building to visit a client. He owns Sage Mechanical, a plumbing and refrigeration company. When he returned to his truck, he found two business cards. One of them had a message telling him not to park there any longer. This was written on the back of the card of Marti Buscaglia, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission. Linegar posted pictures of the business cards, the note, and a picture of the bumper sticker in a Facebook post. In just six hours the post has almost 1,000 comments and 655 shares.
However, it did not end there. I spoke with Linegar about what happened. He said about an hour after he found the cards and note he got a call from his client, who owns the building. The client had received an email from Marti Buscaglia, the Executive Director of the Commission. According to Linegar, the email implied Linegar was a racist and asked the client to “please do something” about Sage Mechanical. The email also accused Sage Mechanical of performing substandard work and exercising poor judgement.
The State Human Rights Commission and the State Probation and Parole Division both rent space in the building. The business cards were from the Executive Director of the Commission and the Chief Parole Officer.
The client, and owner of the building, was understandably worried about losing them as tenants. There is no shortage of commercial real estate available in Anchorage. He asked if Linegar could maybe park somewhere else next time he comes out. At this point, Linegar had not yet seen the Facebook post. A few hours later a friend told him about it. That is when he made the Facebook post.
Linegar told me if the note was from a passerby or private citizen he would not have been as concerned. But the fact it came from government employees, one who could potentially cause problems for his business and the other who is in law enforcement, was very concerning.
Linegar told me his business has long supported veterans. He said he got the bumper sticker at a veterans event his company sponsored. The event was also promoting second amendment rights and the safe and appropriate handling of firearms.
He said of the 11 people they employ, not including him and his wife, a third are minorities and nearly a quarter are veterans. Linegar told me, “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.”
We are all familiar with the outrage culture. Public shaming on social media by out of control social justice warriors is one thing. But when it’s the government doing it it’s an entirely different story. The First Amendment guarantees the protection of freedom of speech. Whether or not you like the bumper sticker, it is completely inappropriate for the way Linegar has been treated by government employees.