Thursday, March 13, 2008


Walking downtown came upon about a dozen kids protesting in front of the, what do you call it, "sign up for the Military" place. They're holding cardboard box signs, with black marker words reading, things like "Draft the Rich", "Stop Bush". A couple of the young men are playing drums, some of the girls boogie in place to the music. (me too!) Cars going by the 6th St and Pine Ave Intersection, beep their approval.

A man on my side of the Ave, hands me a picture of a young boy, "Is This Your Enemy?". A pleasant smiling faced child, not like the photo's on my "War" page. We chat for a moment before I continue on to the store. Finished I cross the Ave to continue on to another store. Perhaps 9 Police Officers are on that side of the road; police cruiser, motorcycle's and their drivers, are blocking traffic.

Walking back along 5th Street, there's nowhere to go. The Protesters have moved down Pine, standing on the corner still chanting. One man is waving a black flag on a long pole. The Police are in formation, lined up on Pine between the 4 corners. "Unlawful protest. Subject to Arrest. For the people of the State of California, we're asking you to Disperse." Something like that. Had noticed one of the young man, walking away from the line of Police Officers, but turned to watch the protesters. POP! I turn to see an officer, rifle aimed & smoking, the boy on the ground. A quick look back at the crowd, to see reaction, look back, the boy is on the corner on his knees being handcuffed by several officers.

After a few more moments, the Police, start to fan out in a semi-circle. The bystanders, next to me take off. I back into a corner by a store to continue watching. I was on my way to use the 25¢ Phone Booth, which is midway between 5th & 6th Streets on Pine. Sigh. The police start marching on the group, swinging nightsticks, as the young people back up the street.

Cops won this round! Of course, I want to watch some more, but asked to move along by motorcyle cop at the corner. As I pass the Alley leading to the phone booth, notice some guys walking, that turn left onto Pine; perhaps I can go make the call after all? Don't want to chance it, so continue walking. Take a walk back to 6th & Pine, to see what's happening with the "Riot Squad" and the kids. They're all gone. Down Pine a 1/2 dozen of the police are still in the road in a line. There's two unmarked cars, and men, parked in my path along the sidewalk. A police car takes off up Pine Ave, so I look. The next street is blocked off, so take a walk to look. A quick glance down the block shows about 6 young men loitering. No Riot Squad.

Don't want to go back the way I came, so continue on to 8th St. From there, I go West to Pacific. Count 17 Officers going East on 7th towards where the few guys were standing. Another 14 Officers are standing on the corner. Does this make any sense? There are probably over 50 armed men, dealing with a dozen unarmed young adults. No one's out stealing? No drug dealers dealing? No child or woman is being abused?

The man that gave me the photocopy, said, "the anarchists are already out". Don't think he was with that group. The Constitution did give the people the right to "redress", but now-a-days the law requires "permits" to do so. Permits can be denied, or a Constitutional right is taken from the people. What if the Police left them alone? Would any harm have been done? Probably not. So Cal is a pretty mellow place with room for all kinds of people and attitudes. The sun is shining, people are shopping, not concerned about the protest.

I did mention to the man I spoke to that, "You can't expect to antagonize people and influence them at the same time". The "Puck the Draft" sign, probably riled the government people. Will probably read more about this in the Press Telegram tomorrow. Heard the sirens as I typed.

Posted on Friday, Dec 8, 2006

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