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Implements of Urban Destruction: Black Blockers Took Over Seattle May Day Protest
On the radio...
I was in the midst of picking up my son from school when the radio started rambling on excitedly about some "may day riot" going on downtown at that very moment. It all sounded very scandalous as the announcer spoke of windows being smashed, people being arrested and anarchy reigning free. This was all hot news for Seattlites, as we rarely ever see true violence rise up in our city of hippies, though when it does, it's usually big, bold and leaves lasting destruction in it's wake.
Mean while in downtown Seattle...
It appeared that things were not as bad, nor even as dramatic as the radio had made it out to be (thanks news at 11!). It turns out that what was happening, was that a peaceful Occupy Seattle protest had been going on all morning. When the clock struck NOON, several dozen protestors dressed all in black with their faces covered, came out of the crowds with big sticks, which they preceded to use to smash up some businesses, financial institutions and federal buildings. The SPD was there pretty quickly, which added an element of thrill to it all, though thanks to Mayor McGinn's quick thinking, the police were ordered only to remove any potential weapons from anyone in the area and to arrest only those vandalizing the city. From there, most of the frays of "black blockers" fled into the crowds of protestors, removed their black uniforms and then walked off into the sunset. 12 of their ranks were arrested and several innocent by standers were pepper sprayed or had to allow their signs to be confiscated.
All in all, it was a lot of hot water splashing around Seattle. A lot of heated emotions took place, but thankfully it didn't get as obscene as it could have been. The real concern, is that people are getting impatient with the lack of positive changes taking place in our state and federal government. If things don't start turning around, I'd imagine the next surprise rise of the Black Blockers will be larger and fiercer. Not something I'm sure downtown Seattle is looking forward to any time soon.
Black Ninja's of Liberty? Or just hoodlems with sticks?
I have seen so many sides to this issue that sometimes I feel like a rubics cube. There is no easy answer that can explain, condemn or acquit the behavior of the self proclaimed "Black Blockers". The largest issues, are the concerns of innocent people being hurt and/or arrested, and the smashing of business and personal property. These are the issues that generally paint the anarchistic protestors in the worst light. When you smash up a random persons car, that person now has to pay for those inflictions to be repaired. Did they have anything to do with what angered the protestors? Probably not, and that's the bottom line. The same goes for smashing small business windows or even federal buildings. Though the federal buildings is where things get sticky and subjective.
Some feel that it is the Federal Government we should be focusing on, and there are plenty of otherwise logical citizens who feel that a small bit of iron fisting is necessary to gain the right sort of attention. There are several problems with this view, but the largest flaw is that it is we, that tax payers, who have to pay for those buildings to be repaired - NOT the government. This is because the government is funded on our hard earned dollars. So while beating up federal buildings might make a seen that gathers attention, it does nothing but run up our bill. It takes us backwards instead of forward.
I've got a little bit of anarchist in me as well, and it is from that point of view that we need to encourage people to stop paying into the system, before we go smashing up public property. Until we get those inner issues handled, actions like the ones presented by the black blockers, only aides in making it look like some hoodlems with big sticks had a bit too much to drink.
Seattle Not Alone - May Day Mischeif
It appears that the mischief being made this 2012 May Day, didn't just happen in Seattle. At least a handle full of states across the country had a few cities where black blockers stomped into sight. Oregon and New York were the most prominent, with at least 20 arrested in each.
Mean while in Port Orchard...
A terrifying and ultra scary group of protestors took over! Bwahahahaha! No really, I have to give Port Orchard the award for most peaceful, and CUTE protest on May Day. The median age at the protest had to be 55, and as you know when you put a few decades under your belt, it's always nicer to hear the photographer yell, "say cheese!" than "Turn right, no left..."