The New Hampshire Republican Party promoted a few people today. Michael Zona is the new communications director. I knew I’d heard his name before, but I couldn’t place him until suddenly it popped into my head: he was The Chicken! Not just any chicken, either. Last year, he accidentally highlighted the absolute non-necessity for a Granite State buffer zone law.
When Jeanne Shaheen was running for re-election last year, someone in a chicken costume kept following her at public events. The idea, as I recall, was to draw attention to Shaheen’s reluctance to hold town halls. Reporter John DiStaso captured a good picture of the Senator and her shadow at a Londonderry parade, just before the guy in the chicken suit – Mr. Zona, as it happened – was arrested for disorderly conduct
— John DiStaso (@jdistaso) August 18, 2014
I wrote about the incident at the time, noting how the town of Londonderry appropriately responded to someone trying to keep a woman from going about her business.
Here’s a summary: On the mean streets of Londonderry over the weekend, a man attempted to interfere with two women who were going about their business. He was trying to contact them with an important message. They didn’t want to hear it. He persisted. He was warned to cease and desist. Being a young idealist, he kept on keepin’ on. Finally the cops saw him yelling at the women. That did it: he was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Police used existing law to deal with the situation. Perfect. No need to “buffer” the First Amendment to protect those women.
The women were Governor Hassan and Senator Shaheen. They were walking in a parade, not walking into an abortion facility. They were entitled to safety, as are clients and workers at abortion facilities. The man arrested for disorderly conduct was wearing a chicken suit (you can’t make this up), not carrying a “choose life” sign. The Londonderry police didn’t need a special law to be passed in the name of “safety and balance” in order to do their job. Chicken Man was cited for disorderly conduct, and the parade went on without further incident.
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against Mr. Zona. Even so, on the day of the parade, police were able to protect the Senator by using statutes that existed long before anyone knew about buffer zones.