October 23, 2011
The entire sidewalk chalking incident was a clusterfuck of a situation in which cops were allowed to impose a law which they could not name from a code violation they did not know. This situation is intolerable. The police were allowed to effectively deny free expression of a form they allow in the bar district without complaint.
The fact that the group gave up without getting names, badge numbers and code violations cited is deplorable. Though they answer to higher authorities, they are required to give such information. (If you were pulled over on the street, any citation would have to cite the code violated and the officer's name.)
We are a protest group. Unfortunately that means you sometimes say NO emphatically even in small situations so you can survive to say NO on larger issues.
What we have effectively told the WPD and the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department is that they can nitpick and piddled us to death with impunity.
This must stop or we will be mortally wounded as an effective protest organization. Talk about a laughing stock: every time we roll over for them, they laugh all the harder.
November 11, 2011
I appreciate your point of view, Joe…and I believe I understand your frustration. Yesterday's General Assembly spent a lot of time reviewing the situation, including lessons learned and planning for any future incidents like this. I believe it was a learning experience for all, and am confident that we will be able to move forward from this.
I also personally believe that we need to pick our battles, and this (for me) wasn't one worth fighting. Yes it was chalk, that would wash away at the next rain, but the defacement of the building had been discussed earlier in the night and the people involved were told that would cause the movement more grief than it was worth, yet they chose to do it anyway. So, when one willfully does something that they know has consequences, they must accept the consequences, in my opinion.
I also think that face-to-face discussion on topics of frustration can accomplish so much more than written ones. Nuances, attitudes and meanings get lost in the translation of written words, and things can get away from us quickly. Hopefully we can get together and chat over coffee or something…I think we all want what's best for this movement, and sometimes it's the "getting there" that is the hard part.
With love and solidarity,
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