Kind of a follow-up to yesterday's post, based on my work today.
I spent the majority of my normal day off working - a relatively unpopular group was doing some protests in town, so we had to both pre-screen the areas as well as stand by throughout the event. The folks in question aren't "bad", but their ideas tend to raise a lot of controversy, counter-protesters, media reports etc.; all of which works in the protesters favor as more publicity and a chance of a stink. So, I was up at 5:45 this morning and didn't get home til the afternoon.
I will also add, as way of reference, that this is certainly one of those groups I am adamantly against - I don't agree with either their message or their frequent venues to argue it in. I can also fairly say my opinion was shared by the majority of the officers and citizens present at the event. But I am also a professional, and all that stayed at home.
I did a little count of the resources assigned to this event - just with my agency we had 60 officers, to include road units, EOD, SWAT, riot team, traffic control, an aircraft overhead etc. This isn't counting the few State police units I know were floating about, or anyone else who may have dropped by. The little gathering had attention all the way up to the Chief of Police.
For five protesters - that's it. A couple of counter-protesters showed up, but heck even the media outnumbered the two groups combined. There were no incidents, nothing more than pickets and discussion, and everyone went home at the end of the day with nothing more than a few more hours on the paycheck.
And I'm proud to live in this country because of things just like this.
Think about it - this is a place where today alone one agency spent thousands of dollars and man-hours to ensure that a small group of people, whose message was unpopular and unwanted in the communities chosen, were able to peaceably assemble and have their say. We didn't spend our time looking for ways to lock them up, or looking the other way as folks beat on or harassed them, or even worse, doing so ourselves. They weren't hounded out of town, denied their opportunities or disappeared into some dark hole somewhere.
All things I have seen happen in other countries throughout the "modern" world.
We are fortunate enough to live in a place where this can be - where people can share their opinions, grievances and beliefs in a public forum; and where that right will not only be observed it will be protected with the utmost promises. Because that's what all of us out their today showed by our very presence - the continuation of the premise that while I may not agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.
60 officers today were on that line to defend that right - even for those they did not agree with - and for that I am proud.
We may not always like the words others have to say, we may find them offensive, hurtful or simply in poor taste. But before you judge and try to prohibit such things, remember that next time it may be someone who doesn't like what you have to say.
Just a few ramblings from a confused guy. Former military, former cop. Husband. Father. Student. Role playing gamer, on intermittent weeks. Avid reader. Internet addict. Small "l" libertarian. Too many others to mention. The views and opinions expressed herein are my own, and do not reflect those of any official agency or government or species. Names have been changed to protect the guilty; God protects the innocent as a matter of course.
“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”
"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds
Sunday, September 26, 2010
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Thank you for being there and doing such a fine job. You're one of the good ones and I'm glad to have you, and the others like you, in this awesome country.
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