Here in New York, the demonstrators are more diverse. There are old folks from the traditional antiwar organizations. There are members of the underclass, desperate and rather pathetic flounderers in the American rat race. Then there are the loony anarchists and anti-globalists. In the 1960s, we always wondered who was financing the demonstrators. Some of us thought Moscow was writing checks. Yet who could possibly be funding our current crazies? It is a question I would like to see answered.
There are college students here, but they are not nearly as dominant as the college contingent in the 1968 protests in Chicago. Another difference is that these college demonstrators are more polite than the demonstrators in Hillary and Bill's day. The Chicago demonstrators were carefully trained to provoke the police to rampage, and they succeeded. It is different here. The NYPD is better prepared to simply suffocate the violent types.
Yet all is not bliss. Sometimes the cops have acted without very good judgment. Sometimes they have actually swept up journalists and jailed them along with the protestors, despite the fact that the journalists were carrying proper credentials and in no way participating in protest. Sometimes the journalists they lock up are actually favorably inclined toward the police.
In fact, I actually know of one such innocent victim. He is Shawn Maccomber, my first-string reporter covering the convention for The American Spectator. For an hour or so, the cops and federal police agencies bounced him back and forth between them, asking questions, checking his credentials and eventually taking the credentials from him before placing him in a cell with 40 slightly loco demonstrators. Then the cops committed one more blunder. One of them mentioned that Shawn was from The American Spectator, provoking a dismal night for him during which he was taunted ceaselessly by his cellmates.
Yes, the NYPD is well trained in crowd control, but there are lapses even among the well-trained. I rather doubt Shawn is going to be writing as favorable a piece as this one about the NYPD. But first I want him to consult our lawyers. Then I want the name of the moron who mentioned his affiliation with the magazine as he was being locked up with these loutish demonstrators.
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