Saturday, February 22, 2014

Steampunk fans ejected from San Diego area mall

Just as it did before I wrote Fukushima radiation being monitored in U.S. kelp beds, the universe is sending me signals again.  Today, two news items appeared on my feed that tie into my series of conversations with John Michael Greer the Archdruid.  That reminded me that I had another tab open that also tied into that series as well as a link and excerpt that I had included in an Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos.  Since listening to what the universe is trying to tell me is often inspiring, I decided to go along.

As I mentioned in The importance of high-speed Internet for work and play, I’m in a “I can’t be all DOOM all the time” mood, I’ll start with one of the less serious items.  In this case, it’s KPBS, which reported a couple of days ago Steampunk Carousel Outing Cut Short By Security Guards by Kim Keeline.  This ties into I inspired The Archdruid to write about Steampunk.
When I chose my long floral skirt and the matching puff sleeved Victorian top, and put the green feather in my hair, I didn't realize I would be seen as a threatening figure. I just chose the outfit because I thought it was pretty. With my husband, in his brand new top hat, and the rest of my family, I was looking forward to a fun and slightly whimsical day, with a short ride on a carousel and what I hoped would be some flattering photos. It didn't have to turn into a run-in with police.

A group of people in Steampunk clothes gathered to ride the carousel at the Westfield Plaza Camino Real...

Before 1pm, as a few of the Steampunk fans were walking the mall to shop and eat lunch before the carousel ride, security stopped them and insisted that they leave because of their “costumes.” They also called the Oceanside Police, who sent two cars.
Follow over the jump for more from this article, which is currently among the most shared and commented among at KPBS’s site.

Here are the details of the incident itself.
My family (four of us, three dressed in Victorian clothing) arrived early to eat lunch before riding the carousel. We parked near the entrance with the carousel and began walking down the mall to find a restaurant. We saw two other people from the group walking the other way. We found a McDonald’s and since the choices at the mall seemed rather limited and 1pm would come up soon, we ordered our food and sat down to eat. It was only a minute or so later when we were approached by a security guard who said we had to leave. You can imagine our surprise.
We asked to see the policy and were told we could not. We asked to see the manager (either go to him or have him brought to us) and were told no. We were also told that they were calling the police. We were allowed to finish our lunch but the guard had to stand over us and escort us out.

While we were finishing, the other two people whom we had passed earlier returned, followed by their own security guard. They had gone through the same procedure and had asked the guard if they could come see us before leaving. Having now finished eating, we all left for the door by the carousel.

When we got there, we found more people had arrived, and a guard at the door was not letting them beyond the entrance to the mall. The security guards said we had to wait outside for the police.

The next twenty minutes were spent outside, waiting to see who else in our group would arrive so we could tell them the carousel ride was cancelled and arranging to meet at a location where we would be welcomed, Oceanside’s steampunk shop Dr. Watson’s Odditorium. It had been part of the plan to go there after the ride so now we were letting people know as they arrived that we would go straight there.

The Oceanside Police did show up while we were waiting. We explained what we were doing and, while the police officer was very nice, there was nothing that could be done.

Malls are private property. They have the right to determine who shops there. We are not denying this. However, state law also restricts how they can determine who can or cannot shop on their property.
This last is a major point in Edge City, a book about how suburbs started to cut themselves free from the central city for shopping and employment.  Malls are a major part of that infrastructure.  Policies like the one described in the article is one reason why shopping malls are a poor substitute for the public square.  I haven’t read Kunstler rant about malls much on his blog, but I’m sure that he doesn’t like them, in part for this reason.

I’ve also posted the link to this article over at unfunny_fandom on JournalFen.  I expect at least a few comments.  I’ll be sure to pass them along to you.

That’s enough for tonight.  I’ll be back with at least two more entries about the other three links and the conversations they tie into in the morning.

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