Alaska State Agency Head Quits After Shaming Gun Owner Over ‘Black Rifles Matter’ Sticker

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2019/04/09/alaska-state-agency-head-quits-after-shaming-gun-owner-over-black-rifles-matter-sticker/

The executive director of Alaska’s state agency that tries to prevent discrimination has resigned after using the agency’s Facebook page to try to shame a gun owner who had a “Black Rifles Matter” sticker on his pickup truck.

The gun owner, Brent Linegar, owns a plumbing and heating business and had his pickup truck parked near the building that houses the Alaska Human Rights Commission because he was working on the building. That’s when the commission’s executive director, Marti Buscaglia, saw the sticker.

When Linegar got back to his truck, he found a handwritten note telling him “Please do not park this truck with that offensive sticker in this parking lot” and two business cards, one from a probation officer named Kendall Rhyne and one from Buscaglia, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

But Buscaglia didn’t stop there. She also posted a photo of the pickup truck and sticker on the state agency’s Facebook page along with a comment “In what world is this O.K.?”

The owner of the building also got an email message asking him to fire Linegar, according to KTUU-TV Channel 2 in Anchorage.

The ‘Black Rifles Matter’ sticker, circled in this image from Brent Linegar’s Facebook page, is what led to the ruckus.

After she got a strong negative reaction, Buscaglia later explained that she saw the sticker as taking a shot at Black Lives Matter in racist terms and not as merely expressing support for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

But Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, called for the state’s Department of Law to investigate the incident, which took place Thursday, March 14.

Linegar told KTUU his sticker has no racial connotations, and is only meant to defend the right to gun rights. He said he got the sticker at an event supporting veterans in which his company, SAGE Mechanical, participated.

Linegar also told KTUU that if someone had simply written him a nasty note and left it on his pickup truck he would have chalked it up to personal expression, but that posting the note and a photo of his truck on a state agency’s Facebook page was uncalled for.

Linegar said on his Facebook page that the public attack took him aback.

“This anger and angst that has been on display is not the Alaska or Anchorage I grew up in. When someone was broken down on the road, you pulled over to help them and it didn’t matter who they were or their ideology displayed on their car,” Linegar wrote. “Tragedy happens here and the community checks on their neighbors and helps them out no matter who they are. To Marti Buscaglia and Kendall Rhyne, if you were in need, I would be there, and if it was too much for myself alone to handle alone, I’d call my friends and they’d be there no questions asked. This is Alaska and we are Americans.”

On Friday, April 5, members of the commission voted 5-2 to suspend Buscaglia from her job as executive director for 15 working days.

On Monday, April 8, 25 days after the incident, she announced her resignation, effective Friday, April 26, according to Must Read Alaska, which posted an image of the letter.

“I have been contemplating retirement for a while now and I believe the time has come. I truly believe it will be in the best interest of the Commission for me to leave now so that the Black Rifles Matter controversy can be put behind us and the Commission can continue to do their excellent work,” Buscaglia wrote in a resignation letter to the seven commission members.

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