Monday, 28 November 2011

OWS Black Friday Protest Flops; Group Costs Taxpayers at Least $13 Million So Far

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The ballyhooed Black Friday protest suggested by the leaders at Occupy Wall Street failed, but OWS has succeeded on two counts.

Its members have committed or been involved in more than 330 crimes and other unsavory incidents, and the Associated Press reported last week, the movement has cost municipalities across the country about $13 million in police overtime and damage to public property.

OWS camps are dangerous places, as repeated reports show. But now we know they are also costly. Occupiers, of course, don’t pay the bill. Taxpayers who work for a living do.

Black Friday Flop

Occupiers staged protests across the country that shoppers largely ignored. Their most successful protest seem to have been the occupation of Union Square in San Francisco, a center of leftism.

According to AP, “protesters demonstrated in the streets near San Francisco's tony and touristy Union Square during the annual Macy's Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday evening, disrupting traffic but otherwise causing few other problems.”

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Lines of police officers in riot gear faced off with dozens of demonstrators who were trying to discourage shoppers from shopping at Macy's and other stores in the popular tourist area.

Some protesters sat down in the middle of intersections backing up traffic and causing massive traffic jams in the area during the evening commute. Commuter bus traffic in the area was also delayed.

Occupiers also used their children to peddle their anti-shopping message, AP reported. A nine-year-old boy held a sign that read as follows: “What is in your bag that’s more important than my education?”

Another protester, AP reported, echoed the boy’s remarks, “I wanted us both to be here for the children." “I see how the education deficit directly affects the schools; how the teachers struggle with so many kids in the classrooms and a lack of books. It’s not fair to this generation.”

OWS called its stunt “Buy Nothing Day,” but some shoppers didn’t want to to hear it, AP reported. A shopper in Union Square who paid off her student loans and actually works for a living called the group “a bunch of … crybabies.” An OWS demand is “forgiveness” of student loans, which means the young occupiers don’t want to repay.

At Green Hills Mall in Nashville, Tennessee, security officers kicked OWS protesters out of the mall, and at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove on Long Island, New York, 100 protesters gathered to protest Christmas shopping. “Show me what democracy looks like!” supporters shouted, the Long Island Press reported. “This is what democracy looks like!” they yelled, along with, “We are the ninety-nine percent!”

An occupier told the paper that “part of the Occupy message is to stop feeding the corporate beast. People come and spend all their money and ring up their credit cards, and then afterwards they’re suffering, because they can’t pay the bills. And they’re trying to decide whether they pay their rent or their health insurance.”

The woman told the paper, “This is a good time for us to be talking about it. [As] they’re beginning the holiday push.”

Shoppers, it seems didn’t much care, and indeed were fighting each other, in one case with pepper spray, to get Black Friday sales.

More Crimes

Two days before the Black Friday plan fizzled, Big Journalism’s John Nolte reported that OWS crimes and shenangians had reached 333, with eight of the leftists arrested in Toronto, Canada.

In Fort Meyers, Florida, police collared an occupier because he threatened to bomb the city police department. Reported WINK News, “Ryan Komosinski, 22, of Cape Coral, is the second local Occupy protester to be arrested in a week.”

According to Fort Myers Police, an anonymous tipster told them Komosinski had posted on Facebook “I’m bombing FMPD, [Expletive] them.”

Occupiers there issued the ritual denunciation of the would-be bomber.

In Pensacola, occupiers vandalized City Hall because the city cleaned up the occupy encampment.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, “City employees arriving at work Monday founds chains and padlocks put on City Hall’s front doors, air conditioning power boxes turned off on the outside of the building, and the north lawn ‘littered’ with plastic sheeting, said City Administrator Bill Reynolds.”

Unhappily, surveillance cameras at the building did not clearly identify the occupiers committing the vandalism.

The Cost

While occupiers continued their crime, the Associated Press surveyed government agencies in 18 cities to find out what the cost of the occupy movement has been. Reported AP, “During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services.”

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The persistence of occupiers in erecting encampments, which often become dangerous centers of drug-dealing and rape, is stretching police overtime budgets beyond the breaking point.

“The Occupy movement has intentionally never clarified its policy objectives,” AP reported, “relying instead on a broad message opposing corporate excess and income inequality."

Aside from policing, cleaning and repairing property at dozens of 24-hour encampments, cities have had to monitor frequent rallies and protests....

City officials say they have no choice but to bring in extra officers or hold officers past their shifts to handle gatherings and marches in a way that protects free speech rights and public safety. In some cities, officials say the spending is eating into their overtime budgets and leaving less money for other public services.

Occupiers in the United States are hardly unique, however. Occupiers in London have trashed one of the most important sites in London, the venerable St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Daily Mail reported last week.

A cathedral official told the Mail that occupiers are desecrating the hallowed church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and finished in 1710. “Graffiti have been scratched and painted on to the great west doors of the cathedral, the chapter house door and most notably a sacrilegious message painted on the restored pillars of the west portico,” he told the Mail.

“Human defecation has occurred in the west portico entrance and inside the cathedral on several occasions.”

[The official] also made reference to noisy interruptions during services, foul language directed at staff and the use of alcohol and "other stimulants" that appeared to "fuel the noise levels day and night."

Rape, Death

The most common heinous crime thus far seems to be rape. It has occurred in Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York, and Baltimore, where occupy authorities discouraged victims from going to police in a communiqué that claimed a “security committee,” led by a figure named “Koala,” would handle the problem.

That, naturally, never happened. As The New American reported last week, a woman in Baltimore reported that an occupier raped and robbed her and that she was afraid to return home because he had stolen her identification. The woman also said no one in the occupy movement helped her, including apparently, that intrepid gumshoe of Occupy Baltimore, Koala. The rapist seems to have eluded this long arm of occupier law.

At the Occupy camp in Glasgow, Scotland, a woman was gang raped.

At least six people have died in or around OWS camps, including a man shot to death in Oakland during a fight over a bag of marijuana.

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Photo: AP Images