Monday, December 24, 2012

Occupy Portland movement incredibily naive or ignorant

It is interesting that there are those that see anarchy as a path to a better society. The local band of malcontents leeching onto the Occupy movement did their best to get arrested; and when they did they were not ready for the consequences, whining and moaning because the society they railed against didn't cut them enough slack.

At a recent court hearing - one demanded by protesters - the judge fined one protester $220, after reducing the amount "by a few hundred dollars" from the prosecutor request. The court cut them a break, but that wasn't enough. [Occupy Portland movement losing steam -- at least in court].

The court didn't convict them of every charge. It meant nothing to this defendant and others that the court had "spent many hours poring over the details of their cases and dismissed charges she thinks weren't proven."

Apparently the protester expected to get off scot-free, he explained ("shouted") to the judge "that he works only part time and he's barely getting by as is. 'I don't have the means to pay this!'"  And a supporter "angrily chimed in: 'Don't do this to people!'"

Exercising what one considers a constitutional right of free speech comes at a price when that exercise is outside the well-established parameters. When pushing it pass the legally acceptable bounds one has to be prepared to pay for that risk.

As long as the protests are non-violent, the risk is to be arrested and cited for minor violation typically the worse case is community service. But when the protest is confrontational and violent - one should expect to suffer the risk of fines as well as the jail time that might come.

This protester and others like him could have admitted guilt resulting in community service. No - they determined to drag it out expecting the legal system to tire of them and dismiss their cases. One protester: "We were thinking they would get tired of wasting time." What many fail to realize is that the legal system is all about unending patience.

They had already made their point in the original protests. Dragging out their cases not  only taxed the legal system but also prevented them from doing something  possibly constructive. And they could have contributed to a better society with community service.

One of the attorneys representing the protesters had the balls to compare these protesters with "suffragettes who marched the streets of Washington, D.C., a century ago and of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when protesters organized sit-ins in businesses." Oh please.

Suffragettes demonstrated for women's right to vote, a right that one suspects many protesters don't exercise. And the civil rights advocates used peaceful sit-ins to protest against those businesses that, among other things, denied service to black people. The Portland protesters had none of the legitimate goals of these two movements.

The odd thing about the local 'movement' is that it apparently had no goal except to disrupt. Goals attributed to them came not from the protesters themselves but from the media and others taking from Occupy Wall Street.

And it wasn't really much of a movement. It attracted few, other than the disaffected. Their protests were more about attacking the police. Their only goal was to taunt the police into using their batons, pepper spray, etc. Spitting on the police never got the response I would have gladly sanctioned.

But come spring will we see these perennials?

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