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I'm not in the habit of reporting on demonstrations, simply because I think they're too easy to organize for any purpose. The news that "tens of thousands" of anti-war activists gathered on the National Mall for a rally seemed about as newsworthy as a Democratic campaign speech attacking George Bush. These things happen, and for the most part, their banality renders them meaningless.
However, the reaction of the police in Washington DC to acts of vandalism are worth noting. The police stood by and watched as "anarchists" spray-painted graffiti on the steps of the Capitol -- and then insisted that they had thwarted the protest:
Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of thewest front steps of the United States Capitol building after police wereordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill.
According to the sources, police officers were livid when theywere told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Phillip Morse andDeputy Chief Daniel Nichols. "They were the commanders on the scene," one source said,who requested anonymity. "It was disgusting." ...
Morse responded to these claims in an e-mail Sunday afternoon,explaining that the protesters were seeking confrontation with the police.
"While there were minor instances of spray painting ofpavement by a splinter group of Anarchists who were seeking a confrontationwith the police, their attempts to breach into secure areas and rush thedoors of the Capitol were thwarted," Morse said. "The graffiti waseasily removed by the dedicated [Architect of the Capitol] staff, some ofwhom responded on their day off to quickly clean the area."
He added, "It is the USCP's duty and responsibility to protectthe Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercisetheir First Amendment rights … at the end of the day, both occurredwithout injury to protestors or officers."
That's ludicrous. The First Amendment does not allow people to deface government property, regardless of their motivation. The police did exactly what they should not do -- made a political decision about enforcing the law instead of holding everyone equally accountable for their actions.
The people have the right to assemble and demonstrate for the widest range of purposes and policies, as long as they do not include incitement to riot, the violent overthrow of the United States, and as long as they obey the law. The police are supposed to maintain order and enforce the law. Having police stand around watching while a crowd deliberately violates the law and damages public property not only allows a mob to offend the community, but also demonstrates a lack of will that only encourages more law-breaking -- if not at this demonstration, then at the next. Regardless of political orientation, the police have to serve as a nonpartisan guard against abuses by unruly mobs, and apparently the Capitol Police are simply not up to the job.
Laughably, the DC police chief tries to paint this as a victory, especially the fact that he roused Capitol Hill workers to clean up the graffiti. A victory would have had the offenders cleaning it up while under arrest. Instead of issuing self-serving rationalizations, Chief Morse ought to issue an apology to Washington DC, and perhaps consider adding his resignation to it.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Leftists ≠ Free Speech Pt. 8 from GOP and College
Vandalizing the Capitol Building takes liberalism to a new low. Where are the condemnations and cease and desist orders from the liberal elites? [Read More]
Tracked on January 29, 2007 10:16 AM
» Losing Game Of Chicken To Anti-War Protesters from Sensible Mom
From The Hill, Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the United States Capitol building after police were ordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill. [Read More]
Tracked on January 29, 2007 10:41 AM
» But Sir, We Did All We Could from Church and State
Moonbats not only protested the war yesterday, Capitol Hill police let them through put up a flimsy effort stop them as they raided the Hill and painted graffiti on the steps. Plus there was vandalizing a Fox News van and smashing a window at a milit... [Read More]
Tracked on January 29, 2007 11:18 AM
» Tangible Vandalism from Ed Driscoll.com
Ed Morrissey explores political graffiti in Washington DC, writing that during Saturday's anti-war anti-Bush protests, the police looked away as government buildings were defaced with spray paint:The First Amendment does not allow people to deface gove... [Read More]
Tracked on January 29, 2007 1:57 PM
» DC Police Paint Graffiti As Victory from Bill's Bites
Bongos, boobs, Truthers, and waterboarding voyeurs;Plus photos: The thugs run amok at the Capitol Michelle Malkin Yes, my friends, when they weren't spitting at war veterans, the anti-war protesters yesterday were waterboarding each other. Milblogger T... [Read More]
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