Last Friday Michael Weinstein sponsored a protest/picketing a few miles from one of the US Air Force Academy entrance gates. Ostensibly, the objective was to make USAFA pull down a link to a website Weinstein had called “homophobic” and “misogynistic.” This protest and the accompanying billboard (now a trend) were apparently the “action” he had ominously threatened.
The protest misfired on several counts, though the most entertaining by far was Weinstein’s entourage.
First, by the time Weinstein grabbed his bullhorn Friday, the link in question was already gone. It was part of a monthly distribution, and the February page had been replaced by the March page. Of course, the turning of the calendar allowed Weinstein to claim “victory,” according to one news report. (This is not the first time Weinstein has claimed credit for something he had nothing to do with.)
Second, Weinstein — of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation — was calling a set of religious beliefs “homophobic” and “misogynistic.” It seems Weinstein is choosing to acknowledge the self-contradiction that is the name of his charity.
The website in question did nothing more than discuss, in a fairly neutral tone, tenets of the Orthodox Jewish faith. Weinstein apparently thinks the US Air Force should not be permitted to acknowledge or allow the practice of what he deems are “homophobic” religious beliefs.
This particular point inspired the local paper, the Colorado Springs Gazette, to call Weinstein’s protest a “new attack on academic freedom.”
Those who advocate tolerance, while denouncing others on a basis of their perceived intolerance, are not tolerant…These enemies of truth take their intolerance to an absurd level by suggesting others should not even learn about that which offends them…
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation claims to advocate tolerance, yet appears intolerant of Jewish teachings when the organization’s leadership finds them objectionable…
(The Gazette probably remembers when they last criticized Weinstein, he threatened legal action — because despite being a vocal critic, Weinstein has a delicate disposition and can’t stand criticism himself.)
Once again, Weinstein reveals he supports “religious freedom” only for those who meet his definition of the right kind of religion.
Third, and finally, Weinstein frequently puffs up his chest and proclaims he has nearly 40,000 “clients,” including several hundred at USAFA itself. Yet despite this groundswell of broad support, his protest attracted a mere 40 people (50, by one more generous count) — a significant portion of whom were actually MRFF “staff.” About 10% of the group was Weinstein’s own security detail, which seems to rival that assigned to the President or the Pope:
Weinstein flanked by two guards. (Weinstein is the diminutive one on the left)
Two more bodyguards to the rear, with an apparent escape car.
Reasonable security precautions in the face of a legitimate threat are one thing. Four (visible) bodyguards — including one never more than 2 feet away who shadowed his every step, and an open-door getaway car — is revealing, particularly since there was no historical reason to believe there was any threat. It shows either Weinstein’s paranoia or his astoundingly-inflated perception of his own self-importance — or maybe its just part and parcel of being a drama queen. (Weinstein once had a tiff with the Air Force Academy because of its restrictions on his personal (presumably armed) security. Apparently, Weinstein also has a fear of 20-year-old cadets on secure military facilities.)
Weinstein couldn’t attract many people who liked him, and he attracted zero people who even disagreed with him, nevermind anyone who might actually try to physically harm him (something, by the way, that has never happened, according to public information). Weinstein wants nothing more in the world than for people to think he’s important — but few even know (or care) who he is. If people won’t treat him like he’s important, it seems he’s content to make-believe the part.
In most organizations, the specter (and expense) of a multi-person, cross-state security detail — amidst no evident threat — would likely generate a strict review. Since Weinstein is his own boss, he apparently decides what security to pay for and also reimburses himself out of charitable donations. Besides, Weinstein shares his hate mail like some do pictures of their grandchildren, so it only makes sense he would show off his many bodyguards as well.
After all, if the threat is such he must have personal security more elaborate than Justin Bieber, it must validate what he’s doing…right?
Edit: Apparently “celebrity bodyguard” Anthony Burnside eschews privacy — publicizing photos of his employers* — and was rather proud of this particular event. (Burnside takes issue with the term “employers”, which was intended to refer to the subjects who hire his protection services.)