Observations on the world today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Postcards From the Edge of the Fringe 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a protest that I'd stumbled upon the day that Bush appeared with Arlen Spector at the Convention Center. In that post I said in part:
Then suddenly, right in front of me, it was 1969 all over again. I saw a policeman grab a protester by the arm, and another protester jumped in and grabbed the first protester’s free arm and engaged in a human tug-of-war.

Now here’s the thing. When protesting, and agitating, at least have the strength of conviction to go to jail. It’s fine to lay down and be dead-weight so that you are not participating in your arrest. But resisting arrest and struggling is an actual crime separate and independent from free expression. It’s the stuff of bad Cops episodes.
I then quoted the article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describing the protest. The article said that the protesters were a group that protests all authority, and that one protester said that her friend Nina Trimbath had been arrested simply for asking why one of her friends had been arrested. To this, I said:
If these were the Ninjas I saw playing push-me-pull-you; no, she didn’t just ask why.

Kids, do us all a favor. Leave the protesting to the professionals.
As it happens, Miss Trimbath saw my comments and she wrote me about it. What follows is our correspondence to date.
Comments on the Blog:

Hi. This is Nina Trimbath, one of the women arrested at the protest in Pittsburgh. I stumbled on your page after I was looking for the news link to my arrest and I saw some things on your page and curiously set upon reading it.
My feelings were extremely hurt by your presumptuous language and lack of support for what had happened. You really have no idea about why we were there and who we are and why I was arrested. I am so hurt to see the things that you wrote. If you would like to know who I am, what had happened, and the amazing aftermath of the story.. I would be very open to an e-mail dialog.


My reply in the Comments:

Ms Trimbath,

I would be glad to have a dialog with you on this topic. I am interested to know what your side is. However, having just re-read my words, I don't see it as especially presumptive. Unless I am wrong to presume that the PG quoted your friends accurately. If you were not the young protester I witnessed pulling on an associate's free arm, then you weren't the one resisting arrest. However, since I used the word "if" in my essay, my observation was sufficiently couched.

The fact is that somebody was resisting arrest. And it is also a fact that it was reported that your group protests authority. Perhaps you can convince me that either of those is a worthwhile enterprise, but I doubt it.

Protest Bush to your heart's content, you'll get no criticism from me. But I cannot be supportive of a protest of authority for its own sake.

Anarchy is not a philosophy. It's a result of failed philosophy.
Continue reading Postcards From the Edge of the Fringe.


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