“I thought it was great, I loved it. The shirts fit my personality perfectly. They’re military and they’re patriotic. That’s my thing. I wore them to all over the place, to my kids’ baseball games – everywhere. And I got nothing but compliments about how great they were. No one ever said they were offensive, because it’s obvious that they’re in support of the military and the United States.” That’s Marine Mario Alejandro describing shirts his family had given him that they’d bought from The Marine Reconnaissance Foundation which supports Marine recon operators like him and their families. There’s only one thing the leatherneck didn’t take into account. He was in New Jersey . . .
The Garden State, of course, has always been known as a bastion of tolerance, decorum and…gun control. Which might be why Alejandro told nj.com he was grabbed as soon as he entered the park with a star-spangled AR screen printed on his chest.
“I was walking in through the gate with my wife and kids, who were in front of me, when a security guard grabbed me and said: ‘I can’t let you into the park with that shirt on. That shirt’s offensive,’” Alejandro said on Tuesday. “I said that it’s not offensive, it’s a military shirt. I told him that I am an Iraq veteran… I served in the war. But he said: ‘I don’t care, you have to take that off… or you need to buy another shirt to put over it.’”
Appealing to supervisors didn’t change the ruling, so Alejandro left with his wife and son in tears. As you might expect, Six Flags’ local spokesnoid, Kristin B. Siebeneicher, said they were just following company policy.
“Our goal is to maintain a fun, safe and family-friendly environment. Our dress code does not permit clothing with vulgar, offensive or violent language or images,” she wrote. “If a guest is wearing such attire, we ask them to remove and replace it with another item of clothing; and if they do not have one, they are able to purchase a replacement item at a gift shop.”
God only knows the carnage and mayhem that might have ensued had Alejandro been allowed to blithely stroll through the park, wife and son in tow, with the image of a rifle on his shirt, right out there in the open for anyone to see.
But then it was time for Siebeneicher to burnish the company’s ‘We support our troops and veterans!’ bona fides.
Siebeneicher added that Six Flags is extremely proud of its longstanding relationship with the U.S. military.
“We work closely with them throughout the season to offer special events that honor our service men and women and their families, including a recent July 4th tribute, and an upcoming ‘Salute the Troops’ event over the Labor Day weekend,” she said. “In addition, active members of the Army, Navy and Air Force helped open our new thrill ride this summer.”
Yep, Six Flags loves them some military types as long as they don’t look to vulgar, offensive or violent. The mind boggles at what would happen if a vet they let in had gnawed a pizza slice into the shape of an M9 and shouted, “Pew, pew!” while pointing it at someone. It’s probably no fun at all being escorted out of the park at the point of Elmer Fudd’s shotgun.