Saturday, March 22, 2003
What is their goal?
"After 16 hours of fighting communists and anarchists, a Red Bull can help us go another 16 hours," said Sgt. Rene Laprevotte as he bought two cans of the energy drink at a Fifth Street market. "We're here as long as they are."
The protests in San Francisco on Thursday were an embarrassment. But what is difficult to understand is what exactly is the point of these people? The hypocrisy of these protests is amazing, and it's hard to get behind a group that has such a mob mentality. Try to engage any of them in a discussion about what they are allegedly protesting, and they go off on countless unrelated issues. These people are anti-capitalist, anti-police (what do you get on the other end of the spectrum from capitalism? Communism. Communist nations are police states, so what exactly are they seeking???), anti-Bush, anti-everything. They protest war with violence, and they have zero tolerance for any opinion that does not match their own. The police response has been admirable, and the people of San Francisco who have been trying to go about their business have been downright polite.
What makes even less sense is the damage and costs they are incurring to the city. The assistant police chief has said that the overtime costs for the SFPD to patrol these protests alone are $400 - 500K per day. This is in a city that is already running a deep deficit and does not see an end in sight. This will inevitably result in cuts in many of the social programs that are undoubtedly pet issues for many in the "anti-war" crowd. That's quite the productive action, no? They are taking police attention away from people who may really need it, plus creating a potential disaster if a major emergency were to arise. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles have been held up in the traffic jams, resulting in delays for those who need medical treatment. They are also costing businesses large and small the revenues they need to pay their bills and feed their families, plus the tax revenues of lost sales. But when you spend your days not working and just pissing people off, I wouldn't expect them to really think this through.
These protests are not a continuation of the "culture" in San Francisco. These are just law breaking, opportunistic punks who are causing incredible damage to a city that really doesn't need this. If anything, they are alienating a population that is historically against war. Keep it up, guys!
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