Masty a bit too hasty

Washington Times Letter to the Editor, published August 16, 1985

I was arrested by columnist S.J. Masty's satirical July 5 article, "Poster war rocks Lafayette Square" about the Young Americans for Freedom's commando-like attempt to clear the park of anti- nuclear and other protest signs at 4 a.m., July 4 -- a government-sanctioned "liberation" of it.

Why was the hasty Mr. Masty in the park at 4 a.m., by unusual coincidence or in collusion?

Why did he describe a group of hammer-wielding vigilantes as "lanky college kids" and "whimsical young men" and fail to mention that they had threatened, crowded, and terrorized long-term anti-nuclear vigil keeper Concepcion Picciotto as they attempted to remove her signs?

Why did he make it appear the YAF's "Captain Zero," Jay Young, and crew had succeeded in dismantling the vigil keepers' anti-nuclear, pro-peace signs with Interior Department go-ahead, when in fact - in Mr. Masty's presence - two U.S. Park Police interceded and informed YAF that the signs were under National Park Service permit and could be taken away only by the owners or the park police.

Mr. Masty distorted reality in such a way as to once again defame these dedicated anti-nuclear demonstrators. He irresponsibly imagined that there were signs in Lafayette Square protesting the law of gravity. Instead, the signs that line the park, each unique and each with a message worth thinking about, are basically reminding us all of the gravity of God's laws and offering us the pressing choice between life and death. And that's the minimiracle that happened Independence Day 1985.

After several hours of peaceful coexistence the YAFers walked away, if not friends at least not enemies. I heard one vigil keeper say, "Too bad they didn't leave their sign."

"Yeah," another sighed, "Too bad they didn't stay. We could have learned from each other."