RIPTA bus stop arm since removed (courtesy providencejournal.com)

“Ads for a new security company featuring bullets and two men in flak jackets pointing assault rifles at viewers were removed Friday from 10 RIPTA bus shelters in Providence and other cities,” providencejournal.com reports, “after some Elmwood residents complained that the ads glorified gun violence in a neighborhood suffering from shootings.” Seriously? Seriously . . .

The complaints began Thursday evening with a Facebook post by Rachel Newman Greene, director of partnerships at the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, that the ads showed an “appalling normalization of violence, an assault on our neighborhoods and a reprehensible assault weapons-based ‘service’.”

H. Philip West, former executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island and an Elmwood resident, immediately took the cause to RIPTA and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which has a contract for the bus shelters, and urged their removal. In emails, West wrote about hearing volleys of gunfire near his home on Stanwood Street, seeing a motorist gunned down near Calvary Baptist Church on Broad Street, and how a tenant, who was a graduate student from India, was terrified when a bullet shot through his window.

Sure. An ad for a security firm’s gonna amp-up gang banger violence in the Ocean State. Anyway, our pal Alan Korwin fought against a similar ban in Phoenix and won. The guys behind Brothers & Armed are not inclined to purse this matter further.

Brian Paige, owner of Brothers and Armed, said an advertising representative at Lamar designed the ad, which he liked. “I didn’t promote any violence,” he added. “I thought it looked nice because it had my name on it and my business.”

When a Journal reporter asked about his company, Paige repeatedly asked “Are you a cop?” and “Is this the Providence police?” before saying questions about Brothers and Armed were “none of your business.”

Paige formed Brothers and Armed Security LLC in June, according to incorporation papers. While the company website is scant, its WEBSTA Instagram page shows videos of Paige wearing a security badge, displaying guns and shooting targets, while offering armed and unarmed security for special events, businesses, malls, banks and celebrities.

Paige said he paid $300 for the ads, which went up on Sept. 7 and were supposed to run for a month. Murphy, at Lamar, said his company will design a new ad for Brothers and Armed.

I wonder if RIPTA bans ads for movies with posters depicting characters with guns . . .

33 Responses to Incendiary Image of the Day: Appalling Normalization of Violence Edition

  1. I don’t see any violence. Only two guys trying to prevent it… If the people of that neighborhood want to be victims, let them be… I’m done trying to help these idiots learn the easy way. Let them learn the hard way.

  2. “In emails, West wrote about hearing volleys of gunfire near his home on Stanwood Street, seeing a motorist gunned down near Calvary Baptist Church on Broad Street, and how a tenant, who was a graduate student from India, was terrified when a bullet shot through his window.”

    Sounds like their ads were in the correct market… depending on price.

    • Uhh, yeah. We kinda are?!?
      The three northern New England states have reasonable gun laws. The three southern ones not so much!

    • The 5.15% income tax versus 5.99? Sorry but I’d rather live in RI any day.

      I personally just think the ad is stupid. Getting a Rhode Island carry permit is definitely cheaper than hiring armed security. The cost is $40 + two or three boxes of .45ACP. Plus a business owner doesn’t even need a carry permit to carry on his business’s own property.

      The funny thing is there’s a bullet hole at the top of the RIPTA Ocean Wave logo.

      • “I personally just think the ad is stupid. Getting a Rhode Island carry permit is definitely cheaper than hiring armed security. The cost is $40 + two or three boxes of .45ACP. Plus a business owner doesn’t even need a carry permit to carry on his business’s own property.”

        Don’t think so one dimensionally.

        They are not marketing their services to individuals, for crying out loud.

        That’s a mostly a B2B type service.

        “offering armed and unarmed security for special events, businesses, malls, banks and celebrities.

        For “celebrities,” think visiting VIP’s that might not have the option for their own (legal) self protection where they are from (CA, NY, Europe, etc).

        None of the target clients they mention in their marketing copy fits your solution.

  3. Can you say civil-rights lawsuit based on first amendment freedom of speech?

    The city is going to have itself ripped a new one….

  4. “appalling normalization of violence, an assault on our neighborhoods and a reprehensible assault weapons-based ‘service’.”

    Welcome to the culture of outrage. Sigh.

  5. “When a Journal reporter asked about his company, Paige repeatedly asked “Are you a cop?” and “Is this the Providence police?” before saying questions about Brothers and Armed were “none of your business.”

    This is why these brothers won’t stay in business too long. Zero PR skills.

      • They have a non-functioning website. Thier facebook page is just the same post over and over and over and over. Then when the get free press they can’t craft a message that says hire us, they basically default to F off. Oh, and they advertise on bus shelters where people who ride the bus hang out. If those people had any money they wouldn’t be riding the bus.

        Thier business model seems to be one of aggression and “we have guns”. I wonder what their day jobs are?

        If these guys are trolling, then they get a 9.2/10

  6. I understand why y’all aren’t bothered by this, but it just isn’t a very good ad.

    My first impression from the picture is that they are a mercenary or other assault service. If you are having the kind of event that requires taking cover and firing Black Guns, you probably want something more than the guys with posters at the bus stop.

    Is it worth getting up in arms over, with news stories, etc., talking about the assault on the city or whatever? Not really. But I’m not bothered with a community group asking to have it removed either.

  7. I have lived in Providence (very close to the ad area of mention) since 2002 … Being here is what prompted me to tool up… That said, the rent is cheap & the food is good and we can still get hi-cap unlike our neighboring police states. I hear shots regularly, I joke with my GF because she always thinks they are fireworks … “Nope that was not a firework”

    That ad is terrible though and the owners seem to be equally corny. Probably some ex-cheese ball night club bouncers with a bright? idea… Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely pro 2nd amendment etc, but I’m sorry I disagree with blatant brandishing of your gun hobby (stickers on your car) or heavy handed use of firearms in your business’s advertising (even if technically your dumb and you let the Jr. Designer at Lamar do the work and ignorantly approved it because you have zero marketing sensibility and thought the black guns looked cool) only gives the grabbers more ammo. <<< That sounds like something that gets repeated often here. Unless you actually sell … Guns! Which RIPTA states is the exception. 100% ad fail typical RI cheese balls if you ask me. My 3¢

  8. Sounds like violence is already normalized in that area. But don’t try to stop us from burying our head in the sand and going on believing “It won’t happen to me”.

    • Meh … That Broad st. neighborhood is the same area they found my stolen car … It’s populated with thugs and gang bangers — filtered in amongst public schools, hospitals and community centers. They don’t need to hide their heads in sand they’ve already learned to duck & cover … The ad is dumb and the geographic placement is even more idiotic.

  9. I remember the old mayor of providence Buddy Cianci who pistol whipped his wifes lover in the middle of a dowtown street in broad daylight…business as usual id say.

  10. What about ads for Halo, call of duty etc? I’m glad this new company got some free publicity. I hope they sue and get a nice big cash infusion from the city anti first amendment leaders.

    • That’s not really the point.

      What you are suggesting is a ‘free market’ solution. If their service stinks or their marketing stinks (*), they will not succeed.

      BUT…if they have a viable product and the skill to deliver it, AND there really IS a market for it in that area, who is some self appointed busy-body to step in, write some emails and get them PUSHED under.

      (*) Fair enough to argue that this ad is stinky marketing, but again, that’s not really what is going on here.

      Anyone that says a poster is “normalizing violence” is not living in the real world. Violence *IS* normal in the real world. “Violence” (as defined by William Aprill, at least) is all around us, and I don’t just mean the thuggery kind.

      How we deal with that reality is the real measure. Pretending we live in a world governed by unicorn fairies and that “safety” is an attainable goal is … well, the best word I can think of is childish.

  11. Damn! Only $300.00 for ten of those big-ass printed ads installed in ten bus shelters for thirty days?

    I’d be pissed about losing that deal.

  12. Would not hire these people to guard my nouns if I had to. How can they even operate without beards? Are those tactical pre-faded jeans or just pre-faded jeans?

  13. Violence is normal whether people believe that or not! It happens all the time, as the Libtard pansy can attest to.. Security is not so normal.. Great sign and I suppose if you put yourself at a certain angle, the two men could be pointing at you.. I suppose, but you did out yourself in that situation.. Sounds like the whinner is OK with where he lives and doesn’t want anyone to change it.. Gives him something to cry about at his victimhood meetings.

  14. From rhody- commute on ripta from the east bay and saw these, they didnt bother me or anyone else I was with. Some blowhard liberal fool from providence complained and the yellow cowards at ripta pulled the ad. Also the providence journal is a slanted rag of a paper that no one reads anymore because its shit. I called and asked if they’d be reimbursing Brothers and Arms and stated no one is offended by a damned PICTURE of a firearm. The guy who took my call was a gun owner and agreed btw.

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