Sunday, August 29, 2004

Did I say fun? Maybe not so much...

A first hand account of one of those arrested during Critical Mass here. (Thanks to Ursus for the link.)

I'm torn.

I totally, absolutely empathize with the frustration and indignation expressed by miserychick. What a horrible, humiliating way to go - and, as she so aptly observes, "All for riding my bike." It sucks that these bicyclists had to see the Tombs; it sucks that our city civil servants can be so blase about "just doing their jobs"; it sucks that hanging a banner or blocking traffic or merely being in the way of the blockers of traffic becomes an arrestable offense when politicos decide to use your city as the backdrop for their week-long "W Has the Biggest Dick in the Free World!" festival of fat-cats.

At the same time, when you participate in dissent, you consent to putting yourself in the line of fire. You know that these things are a possibility, right or wrong, and (innocent bystanders excepted) are conscious of the possibility of detainment. As terrible as that is, it's naive to think that a city cop is going to risk her job for your ass, no matter how articulate or well reasoned your plea. They are, after all, just doing their jobs.

Which leads me to this: There are hundreds of thousands of really well-intentioned people out there right now, maybe rallying in the park, maybe celebrating today's success, maybe resting up and planning for tomorrow - I don't know. I'm heartened and even touched by how many people have come from so far to exercise their rights, and with such creativity and passion. That's incredibly brave.

There are also tens of thousands of cops and security and medical personnel on call right now, and they are also incredible. They don't want to shut anyone up or fuck anyone over. They just want to keep everybody safe and intact in the face of an overblown, self-indulgent, highly controversial event (and yes, I'd say the same thing about the DNC - if hundreds of thousands of people had wanted to protest the DNC) held in a city that's already been marked as an international target.

Even if they make some questionable calls (and don't think for a minute that I consider locking up hundreds of bicyclists for "parading without a permit" an example of excellent judgment) I'm exceedingly grateful they're out there doing their jobs, trying to do the right thing for everybody, getting rid of the bad guys with bombs while simultaneously trying to maintain some semblance of order amongst the rest of us.

Thank you.


At 11:44 PM, Blogger Jen(nifer) said...

This happened in lil ol Buffalo last year too...


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