this story in the NY Times illustrates once again why we Occupy.
I arrived at Zuccotti Park yesterday about 3:30pm to help celebrate the return of the Guitarmy after their 99 mile march to benefit school music programs and honor the great singer/songwriter, Woody Guthrie. I admit I have been absent from the movement much of the spring and early summer due to some personal problems. My latest doctor said last week, I need to get out more, Mr. Spock (in a facebook meme) told me the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few or the one and I really missed the musicality of the park so with a trifecta like that, I had to go. As I had done in the past, I loaded up my shopping cart with knitting and my folding lawn chair (the one I have had since I was a chaperone at my kids band camp 20 yrs ago).
There I sat, all afternoon and into the evening knitting, and under the watchful eyes of Brookfield Properties and the NYPD. After it got dark I heard some people start to get wary about the sudden increase in numbers of officers around the park. This has been a tactic of the department for a long time, use the darkness to cover up anything they might do that is illegal. In the amount of time that it takes to take a single breath, I was surrounded by many men in white shirts, BP security and NYPD alike. I was asked to leave. I inquired about being shown the rules, in writing, while I put away my knitting, stood up, folded my chair and put in on my shopping cart. I was trying to comply (clearly shown in this video) with their "request" to exit the park (hampered by my bad night vision with all the flashbulbs) when an officer grabbed my cart and tried to take it from me. I said, that's private property. That was when I felt a leather gloved (now known to be Lombardo) hand grab my wrist and I panicked.
I think some deeply hidden childhood training must have taken over my body because I did a "duck and cover" maneuver. I also heard myself screaming, but couldn't see what was going on because I couldn't open my eyes due to the panic attack. Fortunately there are many in the OWS family that film the police. I became aware of the voice of an angel (OWS medic and angel) telling me that it will be okay. She helped me to the other side of the street and stayed with me until I stopped shaking. Many more of my fellow human beings came over to offer water and comfort.
Here is where things in my head get confused. I was brought up to ask "Police Officers" for help if I was distressed. They were supposed to be the knights in shining armor that come to your rescue when you are in trouble. THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THE CAUSE OF THE TROUBLE. I was doing nothing wrong or even illegal. I was even trying to comply with their commands even though there was no legal basis for them to ask me to leave that public park. You must be asking yourself why did they feel the need to do this? Surely the woman must have done something. Now I don't want to get all "conspiracy theory" on you but, the thoughts of some of my fellow occupiers was that they were trying to incite violence by attacking "the knitter" (my handle in the park). They have been filming us as well and I'm sure they want the same kind of evidence that we have against them. They didn't get it last night. They did however get my knitting which was not returned to me. I never intended on becoming an icon of the movement but I guess that is what happens when you show up peacefully knitting things everyday that you give away to people.