Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
NOV 29 - If I live to be a one hundred year old left wing liberal, tree-hugging, spotted owl loving, peacenik activist I will never forget this night. For of all of the tactics that OSD attempted, this was my favorite from a purely morale boosting perspective. OSD put out a press release stating they would attempt to reoccupy the plaza with tents that evening. For obvious reasons the local media immediately jumped on the story. This was promising the violence that news outlets rely on to enthrall voters. When OSD battles for justice in the courts as with the Free Speech Ballot Proposal they are ignored by the media but when they engage in direct action and the violence that so often accompanies such human behavior they trip over themselves to get a sound bite. It is a tragedy that the local media doesn't understand that without freedom you cannot have democracy. One allows the other. They act as if democracy is freedom. Just because your told you live in a democratic society doesn't mean it's free or democratic. Actions speak louder than words. Of all people the 'fourth estate' should know better. When I arrived at Freedom Plaza it was filled with people and tension. Cameras were setting up, OSDers and lookie loos milling about. SDPD personel pulled their black leather gloves on tighter and glared at it all. I wasn't feeling that happy-happy-love-love vibe that abounded three weeks ago in Childrens Park. For awhile I wandered around with the others. Not really knowing what was going on. Then I was approached by someone who pulled me aside and explained to me how Operation 'March of the Mini Tents' was going to go down. The sheer geniusness of the plan brought a smile to my gloomy mug. I was asked if I wanted in on the operation. "Hell yes!" I chuckled. "Go to 3rd and Ash,"I was told. A group of OSD people were there. We waited a little while for some more people to arrive and then clustered around the trunk of a car. Out came the mini tents. These little cloth and wire tents were about the right size for a Barbie doll or the original GI JOE's. Little American flags were passed around. I stuck mine into the top of my tent and felt the smile on my face grow wider. One of the members reminded us that by setting down the mini tents in Freedom Plaza we would be breaking the law and we could be arrested. Some people shrugged, one lady said she had to pick her daughter up from school later that evening and I thought that I couldn't afford to miss a day of work. However nobody backed down from fear of arrest. We marched to the plaza chanting aloud and holding mini tents aloft. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Black and white patrol cars were everywhere. The media wanted violence because one of the first things you're taught in journalism school is 'If it Bleeds it Leads.' The atmosphere was static with apprehension. A line of SDPD storm troopers awaited us. Most of them tried to maintain their grim stares but a few of them broke out into smiles. 'Maybe there are a few cops on the SDPD force who don't like stomping the crap out of their fellow San Diegans,' I thought to myself. Some of them made comments. As I passed one officer he smiled at me and said, "I like the flag. Nice touch." OSD people and supporters surged around us as we marched into the plaza. My throat was already going hoarse from all the chanting I'd already done and all I could do was enjoy it all in silence. It was a propaganda coup for OSD but would never be known because even as OSDers were setting down the mini tents amidst joyous exultation, the local news channels were rolling up their gear. No blood meant no film at eleven. NOV 29 - The euphoria over the 'March of the Mini Tents' was short lived as the next day, local political activist/candidate Ray Lutz was arrested for trying to set up a registration table in front of the Civic Center Plaza building. This left a bitter taste in the mouths of many OSDers. As those who'd been at the plaza for any length of time knew that the Republican and Democratic parties routinely set up registration booths in the plaza on days when citizenship ceremonies are taking place. They are allowed to set up so that the exiting 'new voters' must pass right by their tables. Tables adorned with American flags. The same flag OSDers were constantly struggling to fly. NOV 30 - Following the arrest of Lutz the day before, a group of OSDers and Lutz supporters attempted to do the same thing. A stand off ensued with the SDPD. On this day, someone told me that the husband of US Sen. Fienstein as well as the corporation Goldman Sachs both had 'skin' in the Civic Center Plaza building. I watched the 'Mexican Standoff' between the OSDers and the SDPD over the registration table from a distance and felt really sad. DEC 1 - A dozen patrol cars and an empty plaza greeted my arrival this day. Later on I was invited by a group of OSDers to attend a speech by Susan Davis at a SWAT conference at the Marriot. We talked politics at Seaport Village for awhile while waiting for others to arrive. DEC 2 - This was the day that I first learned about Bill HZ - 1540. The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, NDAA and other 'laws' that were being enacted by the tiny ruling elite of this nation to stifle, smother and eventually silence free speech by Americans in our own country. I started learning about FEMA camps with barbed wire and railroad cars with shackles. Peaceful protest in the USA seemed to be going well on its way from batons and pepper spray to gulags and water boards. This was when the shine started to come off the OSD experience and the seriousness of what this struggle is all about finally hit home. "Coffee's Ready, Gotta Go...!!!"