Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 11
- Community Blog
- TJ from PB
The OSD Chronicles - Part 2
OCT 14 - This was the day of the first SDPD assault on the Occupy Camp. The one done in daylight under third party scrutiny (observers wearing bright green caps). Unlike the second two assaults, which were cloaked in darkness. This confrontation I witnessed in it's entirety. Of the other two I have only eyewitness testimony. When I arrived at the plaza it was still dark. About thirty people, four tents and a couple of sun tarps were all that remained of the Occupy camp from the previous days. The SDPD had already been telling Occupiers that they had to leave. Those wishing to avoid a confrontation with authorities had left. Only the hardcore militants remained. This schism had been ascerbated by a rift that had developed over the moving of a lemonade stand from the sidewalk outside the plaza to a spot inside. From the beginning mistakes have been made on both sides of the line. I firmly believe that one of those mistakes that the Occupiers made was in not accepting the SDPD's offer to allow one tent to remain. They should have agreed then draped that tent in an American flag and made it ground zero for Occupy SD. But I'm probably wrong because in the end it worked out for the Occupiers. Their intransigence caused Lansdowne to grow ever more Nazi like and public sympathy shifted to the Occupiers. Another mistake that I felt was made, was the paranoia that some Occupiers had about sub groups within the Occupy umbrella 'co opting' the movement. I remember the pro marijuana peiople being treated rather harshly by some Occupiers. This mistake took on greater weight because soon after, the Feds started the crackdown on the medical dispensaries. I watched the October 14th clash between Occupiers and Landsdowne's SDPD from the edge of the water fountain where the media had set up their cameras. The shouting and posturing, the taunting and insults rose and subsided in its fury as the two sides attempted to impose their will on the other. I was astounded at the level of rage exhibited by the Occupiers. These were some pissed off people. When the two groups first started squaring off, the fountain area was almost centered between them. However, as the SDPD started amassing its forces in preparation fior the take down of the remaining tents, the media found themselves behind the SDPD lines. A symbolic moment that I will comment upon later. The result of this shifting gave me an up close look at the faces of the SDPD. It was amazing the different reactions being displayed. Most showed grim determination. Like mechanical Roman soldiers dutifully preparing to slaughter Germanic hordes. Some looked like they were enjoying the hatred directed toward them. While a few, just plain looked like they didn't comprehend it all. Lansdowne, safely surrounded by his closest syncophants, grinned and directed from the rear. Of all the rights and wrongs that happened on that day, the one that shook me hardest of all were the reactions of four women who I have come to refer to as 'the shrews.' These women work in the civic center building. During the confrontation they were very vociferous about where their sympathy lay. Because they were behind me at the spot between the top of the steps and the entrance to the building I couldn't help but overhear there comments. They made me sick to my stomache. Their complete lack of sympathy, much less empathy, for their fellow human beings left me saddened and disgusted beyond belief. These vile women actually clapped as the bedding of homeless people was being thrown away in front of those people's very eyes! I have eight pages of notes in my notepad chronicling that morning in detail. Names, faces, actions. But every time I reviewed them for this story all I saw were the faces of those four shrews. OCT 15 - Only a few anarchists and other diehards remained at the plaza and maybe a half dozen cops. I'm sure that somewhere within the halls of power that backs were being slapped and chuckles flowing at a job well done. I strolled around the wish trees that had been created by hanging little colrful bits of paper with wishes written on them from branches in front of Downtown Johnny Brown's. Somebody should have wished that the Occupy movement would last longer in San Diego cause it was looking pretty dead right about then. Of course I was wrong again and as the days wore on Occupiers began returning to the plaza. Lansdowne's assault, though successful at first had backfired on him. The sympathy of the general public now lay firmly with the Occupiers. I could tell by the type of people who were in the plaza area. While the authorities and their allies in the mainstream media have attempted to portray the Occupiers as lower class and homeless I came to realize that this wasn't true at all. A large part of this revolt was coming from the middle class. This was my favorite time of the Occupy movement. Because this was when it came closest to achieving something that San Diego badly needs - Hope. Of all the emotions that have surged through my soul in the weeks that I've been here, that feeling of hope during this phase of the Occupy movement was the best high I've ever felt in my life. I saw nurses volunteering to care for those who couldn't afford it. I saw certified food handlers feeding the neediest of our society from donations that were piling up. On more than one occasion I spoke with Occupiers who lamented their inability to deal with the food coming in (there was no place to store it). Most of all I heard laughter and saw smiles on the faces of homeless people like I have never seen before in San Diego. Especially those most active in the Occupy movement. There life once again had some semblance of meaning. They weren't just receiving a handout from the government. As they were the government since anyone could sit in on a General Assembly (GA). I noticed this amongst all types of homeless people. From those who'd lost their jobs to those who for whatever pharmacuetical or psychological reason could not look for work. During this period I spent most of my time observing the Occupiers from the cluster of concrete picnic tables that sit under trees just off the theater entrance. From there I had a good view of the camp and the cops around it. The faces of many Occupiers began to grow familiar to me but not of the cops. At first it seemed like the same police officers were around but then the faces changed. This happened around the time that I noticed some Occupiers and SDPD personel engaging in civilized conversations. It's a shame that more of this dialogue was not allowed to continue. "Coffee's Ready, Gotta Go...!!!"