Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Broken Glass, Everywhere...

Wondering why the American Apparel is sporting a boarded up window today? Apparently not happy with the "Legalize Gay" window display at the store, someone decided early this morning to terminate the window itself.

When Kassandra Powell arrived for work at the Silver Spring American Apparel store yesterday morning, she was met with a crowd, a police car, and a broken window. “I was told that the [security alarm] went off at 5:15 a.m.,” she says.

Powell, a store manager, had reason to believe that the early-morning glass-shattering was more than your average retail break-in. Nothing was stolen from the store—including the anti-Prop-8 t-shirts prominently displayed on the opposite side of the glass.
A like-minded individual, too stupid to recognize the difference between a 301 and 202 area code, called the Georgetown store this morning asking if it was the Silver Spring location and bitching about the window display (which at that point was gone, along with the window). Probably some wingnut from God-knows-where who read about it on some blog or message board. This is what you get from all these rural Internet initiatives.

Can you imagine what the perp would have thought of this t-shirt, displayed in the window of the Pyramid Atlantic store last year?

It's not the first time an American Apparel display threatened the sensitivities of our neighbors. The store managed to offend people before it even opened, as some claimed that their advertising was tantamount to kiddie porn. Hell, the American Apparel here is tame. Try the one in Hollywood. That one has actual porn in the store.

UPDATE: American Apparel has responded on their website.


Anonymous said...

The more I learn about this, the more I think it was an out-of-towner who did it. The store is on the same block as the Hilton, which houses a lot of injured vets and their families, as it's one of the closest hotels to Walter Reed.

I've seen a lot of the vets and their families in downtown SS, and let's just say they tend to look very rural and often are from the deep South. It would not come as a shock to find they hate gay people, leaving aside the fact that the military is one of the country's most homophobic institutions. (Side note: the last time I hung out in a bar on Barracks Row, there was a group of marines there that were getting very drunk and loud, screaming about "fags" - to the point that we were afraid there was about to be violence, and we left without finishing our drinks.)

My guess is some military types staying at the hotel passed by the store earlier in the day and got pissed off. They probably were up all night getting shitfaced drunk (note the liquor store in between AA and the hotel) and decided to break the window after they were wasted. That would explain the odd hour.

Also, I think the call to the Georgetown store seals it. Obviously, anyone from here would know the difference between the 202 and 301 area codes. They probably just looked online and called the first American Apparel store that popped up under Washington, DC, not realizing there would be more than one.

So that's my Jessica Fletcher-style theory, anyway. I hope the cops are in contact with the hotel and looking over the guest list and the hotel security cameras.

Bowie Mike said...

Anonymous, Interesting theory. I personally think it was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick. I heard he is a real homophobe.

Anonymous said...

I respect our military people fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But every time I see a military guy from Walter Reed coming down the street, I see a dark cloud rolling in.

My friends and I have been harassed by military patients from Walter Reed in Silver Spring bars. I have witnessed military dudes get sexually aggressive with the local women in public spaces. The alcohol just compounds the problem even more. Not fucking cool.

Many of these guys do not have physical wounds as much as serious psychological problems. When you see your comrades get blown up to pieces in Iraq or Afghanistan, that shit sticks in your head. Furthermore, your life is in total disarray as you have to be shuttled between war in the Middle East and the world back home. It is an endless loop that would drive any person nuts. I am sure Walter Reed is treating many PSTD cases and these dudes are living in Silver Spring apartments and hotels during the rehabilitation process.

Silver Spring is an ethnically and racially diverse area. Not to mention, we are in a very strong liberal-Democratic bastion of the region. For the Walter Reed patients who hail from the South or the Midwest, this is extreme culture shock on top of everything else.

I overheard a military vet guy from North Carolina who said he can't wait to get out of Silver Spring and the DC area. I should have interjected and said, "I can't wait for you to leave either".

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I'm shocked here.

First, that some half wit broke the window in Silver Spring. We're the cross roads of the world here. A bit earthy,a bit funky, and a whole lot of tolerant. People go about their business.

I'm also shocked by the anonymous commenter. I'm out in DTSS restaurants and bars regularly and have met vets and their families. I've never seen the kind of behavior you're talking about. Your guess is worth nothing and stop hiding behind those anonymous posts.

Springvale Roader said...

Sad to see this kind of virulent homophobia in Silver Spring. I can only imagine what the perpetrator might have done had he (and his knucklehead pals) come across two men holding hands or kissing.

On a related note, American Apparel's owner, Dov Charney, is facing several lawsuits from ex-employees who accused him of sexual harassment.

Anonymous said...

I'm Jessica Fletcher (comment #1! Woo hoo!)

Terry, you're off base in several ways here. In the first place, the other anonymous poster is not me.

Second, your position seems to be: I haven't seen the behavior that anonymous #2 documents, so therefore it doesn't exist and it's somehow unseemly for him/her to bring it up.

Let me say that I know many people who are currently soldiers or who have served in Iraq/Afghanistan. Many of them have issues with gay people and see nothing wrong making anti-gay comments even among strangers. I went to grad school with some of them, and I was really quite surprised to hear these things. Obviously they come from an environment where this is commonplace.

I also know some really cool vets, and some of the stories they tell (not about the war, but just about the military lifestyle) are chilling. Things like how fundamentalist christians have really taken over, how the Left Behind series is sold prominently on base, how there's an open effort to push fundamentalist religion onto the soldiers.

As I mentioned in my post, I've been in bars in DC where I actually worried that military guys were going to start fights, and where they were screaming anti-gay epithets (mostly at each other.) In no way am I saying that every person in the military is like that - believe me, the nicest guy I've ever met from DC (who grew up in SS) is a vet. But you simply can't deny that homophobia is a big part of military culture.

I have a theory about what happened. It's absolutely speculation. It may or may not be worth anything, and it may not be accurate, but why does it bother you so much?

And, yes, I'm an anonymous poster. Would it make you somehow happier if I had a handle like "Fenton Village Rulz"?

Anonymous said...

A new "Anon" person here:

Hmm. If the "outsiders" walking down our streets spoke with non-Southern accents, and wore t-shirts that said "Pennsylvania" or "Vermont," would we assume that they could not possibly be prejudiced?

This is what riles me about this "inclusive and tolerant" community. Many of its residents have their owns sets of hard-core prejudices (against Southerners, the military, Republicans, religious people of all stripes, etc.) and they know damn well they are right and that everybody who matches the "profile" they have in mind is an intolerant bigot.

Perhaps we should have housing covenants to keep "the wrong people" out. And the rules should be based on political views, religious views and so forth. That way, we could have the "purity" that some seem to need.

Anonymous said...


I was anonymous poster #2. Surprise, surprise.

As a whole, the military vets coming out the Walter Reed treatment center are good people. But you didn't read my post carefully. They are many guys who are mentally fucked up from combat duty and the never-ending military tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The constant tours remove military men and women from their families and communities. Think about what this does to someone.

I have seen military patients from Walter Reed start trouble in Silver Spring bars. They harass customers and give bar staff a hard time. This behavior is not acceptable from anyone--including active military personnel and veterans. I wonder if Walter Reed and military psychiatrists are really taking good care of their patients.

Anyway, just because you served in the military, this doesn't give you the right to be a dick towards other people. People in this country put members of the military on a golden pedestal. This is extremely dangerous to the health of our civilian-run democracy.


Terry in Silver Spring said...

You're right, I shouldn't have assumed both anonymous commentors were the same person.

I will still maintain that it's wrong to jump to conclusions about the injured vets and their families, despite the fact that some of them have PTSD and neurological conditions.

The odds are that it's some local dumb@#$ or a group of kids. Let the cops work it out and don't start pointing fingers based on a few random observations.

I'm also standing by my comment on anonymous responses. If it's important enough to say/post in public, put your name to it.

Anonymous said...

So wait IHY, the military guys acting like jackasses = not good...

But the local flavor who here live here acting like jackasses = ok...

My head is going to explode.

Anonymous said...

PG County kids get blamed in 3... 2...

Sligo said...

PG county kids wouldn't have been hanging out in Silver Spring at 5 AM on a weekday.

Anonymous said...

Sligo's totally right. That's where I think the "gang of kids" hypothesis falls flat. The only kids who have the discipline to get their sorry asses out of bed so they could even *be* in DTSS at 5:15 on a Monday morning are, in all likelihood, not the type of kids to break a store window.

Anonymous #1 (Fenton Village Rulz!!)

Falkland said...

Do you also think that the vets and their families are responsible for the rash of auto break-ins this summer? (23 cars between June 25 – July 6!) I go out downtown often, and the only commotion I have ever witnessed (and read about) was from hood rats, not vets. I don’t have any thug friends to knowingly reference as homophobes, but I can imagine that they aren’t the most gay-friendly bunch.

S said...

Wow!!! Since when were all the yuppy, tree-hugging, liberals so close minded and prejudiced? Aren't you people all about not forming prejudiced opinions about an entire group of people, and living in equality, yada yada yada?...

First of all...I am a veteran. I am not at Walter Reed recovering, thank god, but I am a productive member of society, currently living in Downtown Silver Spring. I have a day job, am a full-time student at the University of Maryland, and dont make it a point to go downtown looking for fights...like all the Army guys do...right?

I will be the first to agree that the military men and women are not always the most tactful bunch of people, nor the most PC group you may run into, but SO WHAT??? We swear, spit, smoke, drink, try and release the stress, that the yuppies cant really comprehend, in any way that works. Who says that you have to be tolerant of another individuals sexual preference to be a good person? Even if jokes are made about it, they are usually made in jest, and dont proceed past the verbal jokes.

If you were cooped up in a city far away from your family and friends, far from where you grew up, far from everything you know to be "right" all the while recovering from mental/physical trauma from war, would you be a happy individual? I would venture to say that you may be a bit disgruntled, I know I would be.

Nonetheless, I am not making excuses for anyone's actions, but I am just trying to shed a little speck of light into some of your "oh so open minded brains".
Nobody that has posted on here actually knows who did it or why they did it. This is an extremely diverse area and there are many types of people that share many different views on common topics. As far as we know, anyone could have done it...kids, army guys, WANNA-be-thugs (its montgomery county people...not compton for fuck's sake), or even you liberal, tree-hugging yuppies that are so ready to pop a collar and point your Blackberries in the direction that would probably cause you the least static...i dare say you would never point your fingers at the fine youth that hang out around galaxy for fear of being called out a racist right...and if you are playing dumb im talking about the young black guys that congregate there...oh dear god no!

Basically in the end I'm just trying to say that its easy to point your fingers at a group based on your "avid experiences" with a few members of that group...there are always a few "shitbags" in every group, but that doesnt mean that you judge everyone based on that...because thats profiling, and profiling is wrong!

So...lets leave the speculating for the media, ok.

Springvale Roader said...


Your letter demonstrated a cliched and ignorant view, held by too many conservatives, of liberals.

To answer one of your questions, you do not need to be tolerant of another person's sexual preference (or their skin color or nationality or gender) to be a good person, but it does make you a better person.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"PG county kids wouldn't have been hanging out in Silver Spring at 5 AM on a weekday."

True. Let's start the rumor that it was a commuter from Ellicott City who saw the window from his seat on the express bus down Colesville.

Anonymous said...

"PG county kids wouldn't have been hanging out in Silver Spring at 5 AM on a weekday."

But the folks from Colonial Lane are!

Another Anon said...

I heard that it was either a yoga session that went awry upstairs at Willow Street Yoga or some dude that was protesting the closure of the nearby Jerry's Pizza (Monday Night Pizza Deal denied!).

S said...

Springvale Roader-

exactly what parts of my response showed ignorance or cliched ideas?...

wasnt trying to head down that road but if i did...oh well

anyhow...i think the liberals did it to cause a raucous and have people blame each other!

just kidding...but not really

Bowie Mike said...

NBC 4 picked up this story. Click here for the article. The story mentions that the store received threatening phone calls leading up to the event.

Anonymous said...

So did no one else get the title's reference? Or am I just really, really old? Or is Sligo an ancient oldhead?

....People p*issing on the stairs, you know they just dont care
I cant take the smell, I cant take the noise
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice

Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away, but I couldnt get far
Cause the man with the tow-truck repossessed my car

Sligo said...

I'm guessing you are the only one.

Anonymous said...

Don't push me cuz I'm close to the edge. I'm trying not to lose my head. Its like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under.

Ah ah aheh heh heh.

Dumbek said...

No - I got it. GMF rules. :)

Thomas Hardman said...

"Getting used and abused and served like hell
Til one day you was found
hangin' dead in your cell...

...and your eyes still sing that sad sad song
of how you lived so fast and died so young..."

Some do indeed claim that "the Message" was _the_ original rap song.

But back to topic...

Isn't this just the latest in a rash of out-of-control people smashing random windows for no rational reason?

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