What a crazy week this has been. After writing about my unlawful arrest at Circuit City last Saturday, I’ve been inundated with emails, phone calls and donations. I would like to thank everybody who sent me a message of support. In the last four days I’ve received over one thousand emails and blog responses. I knew this story would get some attention, but I had no idea that it would receive as large an outcry as it has. If I haven’t responded to your message yet I apologize. I read every single message that I received, and I have done my best to respond to as many as I can. I still have about 300 emails to respond to and I will try to get back to every one.
I would also like to thank everybody who contributed to my legal defense fund. As of September 5th, 2007 at 6:00PM EST, I received donations from 195 people committed to seeing civil rights maintained in this country. The total raised so far is $3,225.55. (This amount represents the total after PayPal took their cut.) I will use this money to fight the charges brought against me by the Brooklyn, Ohio Police Department. If any money remains after paying my attorney I will donate the excess money to the ACLU so that they may fight to prevent this from happening to others in the future. September 6th, 2007 @ 7:53PMEST Update: The money raised through donations is now up to $3,550.56, although my legal fees have already exceeded $7,500 and I haven’t even gone to trial yet. It’s apparently more expensive to defend your rights than I anticipated.
In the last few days I’ve received a number of media requests which I’m afraid I have to turn down. As much as I want to discuss what happened and further explain my thoughts on consumer and civil rights, I’ve been advised by my attorney to remain silent until after my September 20th hearing.September 6th, 2007 @ 7:53PMEST Update: I am now referring all media to my attorney. Please contact me for my attorney’s information at michael dot righi at field expert dot com.
I hope that my story has made some people think twice about giving up their rights to businesses and law enforcement alike. The line between civil rights and consumer rights has become blurred in this country, and I believe it’s just as important to stand up for yourself whether it’s in a courthouse or a Circuit City parking lot. You don’t have to stand in front of a tank or refuse to move to the back of the bus to make a difference in the world. If everybody just asserted themselves a little bit more and better understood the consequences of blindly giving into authority this world would be a much better place.
I wanted to leave you with a few comments that I received. The purpose of showing you the first two comments is to highlight how much work needs to be done to educate people about their civil liberties. I’m disheartened at how many Americans think that asserting your rights and questioning authority make you a bad citizen. The purpose of showing you the third comment is to hopefully inspire you the way that it inspired me.
I don’t understand why you had to make a big deal, they do this to make sure thieves don’t steal their expensive equipment. Jesus, it’s 10 seconds of your time, and you get the feeling of being a good citizen after they thank you and bid you good day afterward.
I feel I have to ask – instead of being uppity about the whole thing, why not show them your receipt and be done with it? The reasons you provided on your page are based on slippery-slope fallacies and the strange praise of principles over the practical.
Basically, I’m looking for a practical, concrete reason why “making a scene, calling the police, not obeying the police officer, and getting arrested” is better than “here’s the receipt, have a nice day”, without using the term
[I'm] depressed that kids these days don’t learn to respect and obey authority.
To the people here who only care about status quo, about don’t rock the boat and d-d-d-do right, about a few tears in a moment of stress – you are cows. Myers-Briggs normal junkies; play along law-fodder, don’t stand out, homogenised, be sensible, inch deep, cattle.
You deserve nothing you have lost, or will lose, as you cling to the illusory prairie you only wish you inhabited. There are mountains to be climbed in this existence, and eluding the grasp of people, who presume to own your individuality, counts as one of them. “Being Adult” must not include domestication. Adult cattle are still herded and fed to their masters. “Adult” must mean something more, a self-possessed state of independence and freedom of movement.
Pragmatic passivity has become the modern life drug of choice; the one no wars will be fought against, if we leave it to you – because you love being hooked on indulgent expediency, because the authorities need your addiction and will never jail you for being a compliance junkie, and because you have an appointment somewhere more comfortably familiar, and apparently self-seving, than the realm of individuals.
You see it as virtue, as maturity, but you dream. Michael Righi has stirred you from your dream and you resent it as you would if every day were Saturday and, inexplicably, your alarm just went off.
If anybody is still confused about why I choose to live my life based on principles, I recommend that you read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. If only this world had more Howard Roarks…