Prepare for violence. We remember this crowd.
The year was 1999 and the anarchists descended on Seattle to stop a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO). We lived there at the time.
Floyd was working as a host at Hot Talk 570 KVI, located in downtown near the “peaceful protests” of the meeting of WTO ministers. Seattle was excited because it was an opportunity to show the new high tech Seattle of the 1990’s that replaced the industrial Seattle of the 1970’s. The City was on the world’s stage.
Early pictures of the protests reminded us of what you see currently camped in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. And as in the fall of 1999, the media is there to catalogue the strange beliefs of those involved.
The Seattle protests were called a peaceful group of human rights leaders, students, environmental groups, religious leaders, labor rights activists’ etc., wanting fairer trade with less exploitation. Sounds like the group down on Wall Street.
Liberal political leaders of the late 90’s were giving encouragement to the protesters in a fashion similar to the current leaders Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore and Barack Obama are carrying water for the current park based protesters.
But there is a darker side to these crowds as there was to the Seattle crowds in 1999, and that is why we are predicting violence to break out soon if it hasn’t when you read this.
The Seattle protests started peacefully, but they ended in a hail of tear gas and rubber bullets. The KVI office windows were smashed in, and the steel and glass structures that defined the high tech city were laying shattered for blocks.
The protesters laid waste to blocks of glass windows, and some looted stores for extra “capitalist goods.”
Over 600 protesters were arrested and the battle in the court rooms lasted for years as protesters made allegations of police brutality against the thin blue line that was attempting to protect the property of the “capitalist pigs,” as the protesters called them.
Norm Stamper, the police chief of Seattle during the 1999 WTO protests, resigned soon afterward. He was singled out and scapegoated for the police response. But what are police to do when a peaceful protest morphs into a riot?
Zuccotti Park is privately owned. The owners have leafleted the squatters and asked them to remove the illegal tarps and other structures that have been erected as part of the protests. Urine, feces and other bodily fluids are now making the park an unsanitary mess. These owners have a right to ask police to clear their private land of illegal squatters.
We believe in peaceful protests, and Floyd was arrested in 1983 protesting communism in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC. But squatting on private land is not speech and protesting. It is an illegal act and if it is ignored it will embolden the protesters to break more serious laws.
It is time to send these young socialists home to mom and dad before they start smashing windows and starting fires as they did in Seattle in 1999.
©2011 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. To comment on this column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. For more info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail email@example.com.