Reader Mike Leonovich describes himself as a local Albany-area capitalist. Mike writes with an update on the aftermath of the Albany Occupation:
Thought you might be interested in the latest Occupy developments here in Albany, New York. First, this past Thursday, the City evicted the Occupiers from Academy Park, with police and sanitation workers descending on the encampment (after the permit expired, a deadline long announced). So, to elevate their tantrum, the Occupiers took to the streets, and began to block the flow of traffic in downtown Albany (carrying one of the encampment tents through the streets).
And why not, since the Albany County District Attorney has steadfastly refused to prosecute any of the trespassing violations issued to the protesters over the past two months, and publicly defended (read: trumpeted) this stance? Coddling is always the best approach to tantrums, right? I guess not.
When the protesters completed their hour-long tour through the busy streets on foot carrying a tent (endangering themselves, undoubtedly, and also the commuters with the distraction/confusion), they returned to Academy Park and were met by police looking to seize the tent (the eviction notice was clear about whether tents could be in the Park, but apparently not so clear about them being carried through the busy streets of Albany). A scuffle ensued, a direct result of the two months of coddling, and it resulted in pepper spray, arrests, and the injury of two police officers (and protesters, and a local cameraman hit by a protester).
Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be the end. Sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning (Christmas Eve morning), light displays and holiday signs at the 15th annual Hannaford Capital Holiday Lights event were vandalized. This event charges people to come and view the beautiful lights displays (with themed sections, including one titled “America’s Heroes”) with all proceeds to benefit the Albany Police Athletic League – see the following statement on their mission:
The Albany Police Athletic League (PAL), Inc. is a juvenile crime prevention program that brings kids and cops together in non-law enforcement settings. PAL accomplishes its goals by providing numerous educational, recreational, and athletic programs to more than 4,000 Albany youth each year. PAL seeks to provide a safe haven for the youth of Albany in their after school hours. PAL kids are offered mentoring and understanding through the help of Albany Police Officers, PAL Staff, Community Volunteers, and Interns. PAL is dedicated to providing kids, especially the most underserved, with the support and skills they will need to journey towards a brighter future. The kids need our help.
The only lights displays and signs that were vandalized were ones by corporate sponsors. Damages were estimated to exceed $30,000, and included wires being cut, company logos being “blacked out” with black spray paint, and other replacement signs/messages including “Corporate Greed”, “Stop Shopping”, and “Merry Christmas Capital-ists”. While the “leadership” of the Occupy Albany group denies any involvement, it’s quite clear who is responsible for the upsetting the children who viewed the displays on Christmas Eve, and who is responsible for the financial impact to the charity that directly benefits area children, and through them, the community.
Tantrums are irrational and, accordingly, they don’t necessarily aim their anger in proper directions. This is true as the Occupy movement focuses on corporations instead of government regulations, and it’s true as the protesters try to hurt businesses and instead (or in addition) hurt children and the local communities. I guess the only thing we can do is vote out the miscreants in government who support these losers, and in the meantime, keep reminding folks how much the specific elected officials supported this movement, keeping them joined at the hip.
On the happier Christmas note, local electricians volunteered their time to fix the light displays, and local residents opened their wallets in an effort to keep the Occupiers from affecting the overall donations to the children benefited by the Albany PAL.
Mike also supplies the following references supporting his report: