Friday, November 04, 2005

Is There A Riot Goin' On?

I'm sure everyone's asking why I wasn't down at the anti- war rally by the old Federal Courthouse in Eureka the other day. Actually, I forgot all about it, besides having to work.

Would have liked to go, though, to get my own impression of what happened. Some are saying the police over- reacted. Some even suggest the relatively heavy show of force was an attempt to intimidate the protestors. As usual, I take the middle of the road view, at least from what I've read in the papers.

I suspect there were a few protestors in the "I'm doing God's work, so I can do no wrong..." crowd. The same kind of folks that act all shocked and imposed upon when they're forceably removed from their tree sitting perches in the local forests. These are likely some of the ones who were arrested for refusing to follow police directions to stay in the bicycle lane of U.S. 101 and various infractions on the streets of Eureka. I can understand the police dealing with them as they did, assuming my view of what happened is correct.

Was it a overly large police presence? I suppose so as I don't recall hearing of that large a presence at the real big peace rally in Eureka years ago with a lot more people. No problems that I know of developed at that rally, so what would give police the idea that such a strong presence was warranted at this, much smaller, demonstration?

Well, seems to me they had problems with bicyclists on the freeway at a previous demonstration, so they were right to anticipate that. Nothing would explain the presence of U.S. Marshalls, and the rest in Eureka at this latest one, though. But I'll go out on a limb and suggest what might have happened. One of two things:

(1)Either someone new in charge, locally, decided on a higher profile approach for whatever reason.

(2)More likely, someone at the state or even federal level- perhaps one of the Homeland Security type agencies, sent out memos warning of possible violence related to the demonstrations and urged local agencies to prepare accordingly. I'm talking about the same agencies we owe all these wonderful color coded terror alerts to that never seem to amount to anything.

I think that's probably more along the line of reasoning for the large police presence. It wasn't so much to intimidate the protestors, it was just another overreaction to some Homeland Security alert system broadcast, as we've all seen in one form or another before. No way I can prove it, though.


At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is the whole biking along 101 deal. Critial Mass should be rename Critial Dumbasses, those guys ride all over the place, out of control and don't follow the bicycle laws. They went to cause problems then brag about how many cars they "critially massed"

Just read a quote from here:

Bart critical masses the slow lane of the bridge, claiming the right of bicyclists to be there and focusing attention on the fact that the Mad River Bridge should be retrofitted with safer bike lanes! His curent critical mass record is 35 cars, a big-rigg truck, a logging truck, a dump truck and a U-HAUL van, all following behind him at 20mph for the length of the bridge.

Doesn't say anything about how this guy also likes to just jam in his powercord to anybody's socket without permission, Bart's a jerk.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Jeff Kelley said...

Police frustration resulting in bullying of critical mass participants in nothing new. Check out this photo essay:

I'm guessing there's blame on both sides. The critical mass participants can be pretty beligerant and confrontational, blocking traffic, acting smug and self righteous. The officers, especially here in timber war country, are not big fans of protesters, to put it nicely. Add the social elements revealed by the Stanford Prison Experiment, and and it's easy to conclude any excuse will serve to justify attacking the protesters.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh god, please bring up the 30 year old study again. PLEASE.

Also, when riding a bicycle, you are to follow all laws. Which also include, stop being slow, stop blocking traffic, and pull over when the police tell you too.

Critical Mass is a bunch of jerks that give us NORMAL bicycle riders a bad name.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Jeff Kelley said...

Two questions anonymous:

1) What makes you NORMAL?

2) Why mention the age of the study?

Ok, 4 questions.

3) Are you attempting to have dialogue, or are you just name calling?

4) Are you the same anonymous as the other anonymous, or are you a new anonymous?

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) I follow the rules of the road when I ride my bicycle.

2) Because it is old, outdated, and was poorly run the first time.

3) If you speak about me calling critial mass jerks, then yes, I am calling them jerks.

4) COULD BE. Guessing is fun and keeps you on your toes.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Jeff Kelley said...

Ah, if only I could muster the energy to make it to my toes. I tend to stay on my part that a chair holds up.

The assertion that it was poorly run is worth debating. It would only be outdated if newer research negated it. The age of an experiment has no bearing on its validity.

Miserably run indeed, and I believe it led to changes in the ethics of experiments, which is why there isn't much to compare it to. But it's an interesting study and lends credence to the old cliche, power corrupts.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "experiment" was about as well run as an alchemist's attempt to make gold out of alligator feces.


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