A few weeks ago I wrote a bit I considered ‘less crappy than usual’ about the inanity of various U.S. cities’ “Occupy Wall Street” protesters being extremely annoyed about not getting arrested despite their best efforts. I found it pathetic and discrediting, and elaborated on why I felt as such.
Time has passed (as it tends to do) and with the more recent turn of events, I now have that most interesting combination of assessment AND hindsight, and I have to tell you…I’m sticking to my first impression: The movement is full of damn idiots sullying what should be a fairly self-explanatory and self-sustaining ethos.
While I’m not allowed to have this opinion as a cop, “they” are at least less likely to have me lynched this time, because, as one who doesn’t agree with “getting arrested to achieve a resolution”, it obviously makes me a complete clod and brainless cell of “The 1%” since I disagree with their methods (therefore making me the enemy, despite my by-and-large agreement with their issues). That, and they are also now fairly preoccupied with how to stay awake and avoid hypothermia in 35 degree rainy weather, but I’ll admit that’s just an assumption.
On November 1, at the Chattanooga City Council meeting, Councilperson Sally Robinson opened the conversation by politely requesting citizens not ask the council to break its own laws, and they wouldn’t bend on that, no matter what.The 99%’rs responded in kind by opening with the statement that they would be breaking the law, basically “no matter what”.
A preconditioned refusal on both sides always plays hell with Robert’s Rules of Order, and there were no exceptions that night. The “Occupy” group boldly declared that they would be occupying “the green space by Ross’s Landing effective immediately”, and seemed almost surprised to find that the same space was also reserved for one of the country’s largest regattas, which was why they couldn’t plant a flag just anywhere they wanted and effectively take local parks hostage from the rest of the public (as stated by the city attorney). The group they would be displacing? High school and college-age boys and girls…their target demographic.
After the meeting, a hundred or so concerned parties held a general assembly in a nearby park to discuss their options (which I assume consisted of “Where would we prefer most to be arrested at, further from or closer to the jail?” and “Is this appropriate prison-wear, or should I slum it?”), where an even more interesting thing happened than in the council meeting: The police chief joined them and had a talk.
While obligated to say that he didn’t agree with one of their apparently necessary demands to “legalize marijuana” among other obviously pertinent goals, he empathized with them on many of their concerns (as most cops do) and point-blank asked they NOT put themselves in an intentional position to be arrested, and even went over the exceptions the city attorney provided to circumvent the local park curfew ordinance they would be violating.
Like a Christmas made-for-TV special, the crowd agreed and peace was achieved.
For roughly one hour.
It was discovered that two of these local activists felt that a vigil wasn’t enough for them, and alerted the media they would, by golly, be showing their radicalism and dedication by sleeping on grass, consequences be damned! And just as radical as their plan, the C.P.D. came up with their own by not arresting them.
As in the prior column…imagine their annoyance in not even rating an arrest for their dedication. (Well played, boys.)
This topic isn’t just important, but important to them—a police chief can prove that you don’t have to martyr yourself (with the heavy scars from a paper citation) to change the system.