Published on May 20, 2012
Sometimes citizens journalists can get too close to the action. Such was the case with this blogger yesterday afternoon in Chicago.
I marched the entire length of the anti-NATO march. Marching were occupiers, communists, socialists, and anarchists. With the far-left, it's hard to tell where one group ends and where another begins.
The march--conducted under brutally hot conditions--ended at Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue. There was an hour worth of speeches which I didn't care to listen to--and I promised Teri O'Brien that I would offer a report for her BlogTalkRadio show. I chose a quiet alley for that phone call to "the Conservative Warrior Princess."
After I gave O'Brien my report I noticed a ruckus back at Cermak and Michigan, where the march ended. Of course I went to find out what was going on. Black bloc anarchists, about 200 of them, refused to leave. They wanted to march to McCormick Place--where the actual summit was being held.
As you will seen in my video, some of the anarchists threw water bottles at the cops. And not all of the protesters were anarchists. There's an IWW flag flying--which stands for International Workers of the World--a socialist union known as the Wobblies. But as I explained earlier, the boundaries of these groups are blurry.
I witnessed three men with head wounds. I don't know how they were injured. One is in the second segment of the video--occupiers are crying out, "We need a medic!"
After I recorded these video clips, the police pushed back against the black bloc. Between them and I were less radical occupiers--behind me were metal police barricades and bicycles. The cops pushed--but there was nowhere for us to go but down. I landed partially on a bike--the rest of me was pinned against a barricade. On top of me were occupiers--mercifully they were young and not heavy. One of my elbows was dug into a woman's back. Another man yelled out, "Somebody's got a knee grinding into me." That was my knee--and I couldn't move it away. Sorry about that, if you happen to be reading this report.
I was on the bottom of the pile for about thirty seconds--but of course it seemed as if it was a much longer time. What was I thinking about? The fatal 1979 Who concert asphyxiation deaths. But the bodies did not continue to pile up. As for as the other who got crushed, I don't think anybody was seriously hurt. In regards to myself, I expect to awaken with a bruise on my right thigh--which will be the shape of a barricade bar.
In the area near me there were about five people pinned against the barricades--and there were probably at least five more--but I wasn't in the mood to conduct a hasty census or to solicit interviews.
A few minutes afterwards I called a fellow conservative blogger and told him about my nasty experience. He asked, "Did you get video?" Not of me getting crushed. Sometimes journalism has to take a back seat to other needs.
While my feelings about the Occupy movement and their allies are clearly obvious if you are a subscriber to this channel--I oppose nearly everything they stand for--I have to blame the police this incident. If cops are going line up in a gauntlet and push them back--they need to make sure that there is space for them to be pushed back. I am generally very supportive of the police--after all, they put their lives on the line every day they arrive for work and the cops have been working under extremely stressful conditions for almost a week because of the anti-NATO protests. Still, something went terribly wrong here.
However, I made a error too--a boneheaded one. I managed to find trouble to report on--but I neglected to remember to look for an escape from that trouble when I approached the black bloc scrum. I learned a lesson--but fortunately it is one that was not dearly bought.
When I returned home last night, Mrs. Marathon Pundit asked if I was glad that I covered this event. Yes, I am.
As for the occupiers, the anarchists and their fellow travelers, I have some advice for them. It's time to end the protests--they are accomplishing nothing worthwhile. A Republican senator offered this suggestion in regards to our involvement in the Vietnam War: "Declare victory and get out." It's time for this movement to do the same.