Just a few almost level-headed thoughts this morning…
We (and when I say “we” I actually do mean all of us including me) need to remember that for every Seattle G8 or London G20 there are dozens of G meetings and other major protest events that go off without major catastrophe.
Clearly there are going to be chaotic traffic problems, but that should be mitigated by the number of people who don’t bother going downtown today. Local news and police have done a good job of instilling fear in the local public. Fear of inconvenience, and fear of these mysterious and nefarious outsiders who have come to squirt pee and fling poo.
I have a healthy skepticism of these reports of “dangerous” anarchists and revolutionaries. After all, the same news outlets which propagate these rumors are the same doom and chaos purveyors that used to call any crime involving a vehicle and a weapon a “drive by shooting”, which scared the bejeebers of Pittsburgh suburbanites who are notorious for not going anywhere that involves crossing a river. They want the general public to stay home and watch more news. Remember – local TV stations make more money when people are afraid and stay home… watching more TV.
The police and other security play this game too, and I don’t necessarily fault them for that. It makes their job much easier if there are fewer people to manage. The average Pittsburgh cop is probably just as annoyed with the whole G20 thing as any other Pittsburgher. Hopefully their job will be easy today and they won’t be arresting anybody and everybody who is just roaming around. That reminds me, I should write all my emergency contact (bail maker) phone numbers somewhere since they don’t let you use cell phones in jail – just in case.
I also hope I am wrong about the pee and poop. I plan on getting into the middle of things, get some video footage of protests, some interviews with protestors, business owners /employees and maybe if I can get a friendly cop or two that would be pretty cool too. If trouble should arise, I intend to be there too, to try to provide some unbiased, non-fear-mongering coverage and I would like to stay clean. It is far to common to see both sides spin these things pretty far away from what really happened when things do get ugly and that is why it is a great thing that everyone has camera phones or some other means of capturing the moment.
I am about to head downtown. As much as I don’t like the needless fear mongering, I hope enough people are convinced to stay away so the drive isn’t too bad and maybe I can even park within a reasonable distance of downtown. So, yeah… be afraid. Be very afraid. Stay home… and read my blog.