Thursday, November 24, 2011



There was a picture in the Toronto Star of an Occupy Toronto protester offering a tulip to a clutch of cops as they ended the aggravation/occupation/ruination of a downtown park.
Probably just a stunt to embarrass the cops. Everyone knew it. Yet the picture is significant because of the four cops whose faces could be seen, all were looking at the camera and not at the peace offering of a flower.
One cop was non-commital, one was bulky and challenging with hands on belt,  as if to say to the photographer did you put this demonstrator up to this, one almost was sneering and then there was the sly one who looked like he had been caught stealing cookies.
Long ago when I was a police reporter, I would not have lingered around that quartet,  especially if it were dark. I learned that cops were always cops, especially in groups, and strange things can happen if the public isn't watching. And the public's watchdog, the media, better step carefully too.
I wonder what would have happened to that flower or the demonstrator if the camera had not been there.  Would there have been threats or worse? Yet it was only a tulip.
 If there are people who believe that the eviction would have gone as well without the media watching, then they're delusional and should not be allowed out.
There has been praise, and there should be, for how the the police and the city handled all the pretend campers. And there have been pundits rushing to say that the demonstrators won.
Perhaps! But I say to these so-called economic demonstrators, and to the native activists who also use sit-ins and blockades, and throw in some violence too, that they better proceed carefully, that they should not misjudge the temper of the times and think that what they do is acceptable to the silent majority and to the police hired to protect the property of the silent majority.
Just watch the next time a nice park is taken over, not just for six weeks but the demonstrators say they will be there forever unless their goals, whatever they are, are achieved.
The Bible is filled with references to 40 days and 40 nights. But that was the ancient code for a long time. And so this demonstration went on for 40 days. A really long time! Too long!
 Do you really think that the residents and businesses that border whatever is the next protest site will sit back and let the thoughtful, weirdos and loons interfere with neighbourhood life for one week, let alone 40 days and 40 nights.
I think the next ragtag Tent City better be used 24-hours-day (this one wasn't by most supposed campers)  because the demonstrators will return to find only grass.
I am struck as a Toronto taxpayer by the number of demonstraters in Tent City and in the G20 riot who are imports. They come from outside the city, and some times the province and even the country, to raise a little hell in a decent city.  After all, this is where the media, their megaphone, is concentrated for their utterings which can range from the delusional to the impossible.
Then there are those who are just street floaters because they have no address and just live rough and act tough to get help from the poor suckers who are still on the treadmill. And, tragically, the mentally ill who we have allowed  to be dumped on the cold streets to save a little money.
Tent City was just the evil flowering of a modern phenomenon where everyone feels free to criticize everything even when they do not have the vaguest connection to the issue. Raising hell for the sake of raising hell, not because you really care that much.
Look at all those who criticize and are offended by events or politics in Toronto when they choose not to live here. You look at the addresses of those who write letters to magazines and newspapers - and believe me as an editor I have read thousands of such letters - and it is not unusual to find people who choose to live hundreds of kilometres from T.O. lecturing Torontonians and their agencies for sins real or imagined.
The greatest irony to me about the occupation of a nice  park was all the signs and chants about how evil Rob Ford is. Most of the mouthy would not have known the mayor if he was standing beside them. I doubt that any of the occupiers could have told you what Ford stands for. To them he was just another fat cat politicians -and his blubber doesn't help - and the fact that he looks on wasteful spending of taxpayers' money as his number one concern was lost on them when it is their concern too.
If you can't identify your enemies better than that, how do you intend to win the war? But then did they really expect to achieve anything with their childish antics, a cell-phone generation that kept dialing the wrong number because it was a different way to kill time and be noticed.
Take away the 24 hour news cycle, the relentless hunt for filler news and the need of TV for pictures to space out the talking heads, and the Tent City would have lasted a few days. Instead the city was held hostage by a small mob and the media that feed on their antics.
For shame!

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