Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose at the DNC
The group formerly known as Occupy Wall Street now appears to be short on recruits and for the most part, staffed with very young hippie-wannabes or old farts who look more like they’ve entered the spring of their senility, and figure this is their peer group.
Wednesday, which should have been a big day for the protests, fell noticeably short as the protesters numbered less than 100 who, at times, didn’t seem to know what they wanted to demonstrate. Despite the rumors that 25 occupiers were going to be arrested. None were.
I took a good spot where the protesters set up their tents with various slogans and milled around until just after 3 p.m., when the march started. The earlier fanfare of loudspeakers and chanting in unison was gone. They trickled up the street behind a cheap megaphone. Some spoke and some did not. Many, I’m sure, were still tired from Tuesaday night’s march which lasted until midnight.
Shame on them! If I can get out there by noon, they can as well.
The march headed up and around the pre-set perimeter. There was a little standoff when they wanted to deviate from the route, but the cops on bicycles made it clear that this group, like last night’s, and the group from the night before, were not going to the arena. Just wasn’t going to happen.
Some of the occupiers were getting a bit snippy.
Yelling at one another with all those cameras rolling? Where's your media consultant?
Instead of following the group that would eventually land back in my lap in the park, my Charlotte PD buddy and I stayed put, watching the kids and old men dressed in camos, clean up a bit and perhaps ready themselves for the big Thursday parade and protest.
Vermin Surpreme came by with his two minions carrying the "Pony" and "Teeth" signs. Vermin was without his boot on his head. I told him he needed to put it back on--you know, re-boot!
Ha! He didn't smile. Vermin, like the others are getting tired.
While at the park, I met a man, (you should probably not start a sentence out by "While in the park, I met a man...") who said his name was Badger.
Badger is just shy of his 55th birthday and has been a wanderer throughout the U.S. for the past 22 years. He rides his bike to wherever he goes and when he sleeps he pulls out a tarp and finds an isolated spot off the main road somewhere.
He’s traveled from Minneapolis to Athens, GA and says he has no plans to settle down. His bike is a cheap mountain bike labeled “Road Kill Tour 2012” named after his project of photographing road kill and making a book of it.
We spent a half hour talking and I genuinely enjoyed it. He said he really didn’t have an affiliation with Occupy but wanted to come to Charlotte to see the convention and the Occupy people.
He rode out on Wednesday night, saying he was bored here. He planned to pedal on to Ashville NC, some 120 miles from where we were. I liked him. I hope he gets a new bike. I saw him early the next morning, riding off near our dorms. He said he decided to stay the night and have a six pack of beer and some "God-Awful" chicken. He rode off to do his thing.
I spoke to a woman and her daughter-in-law who were photographing the kids - I mean Occupy Movement Commandos - in their tents.
An occupy girl, oddly enough, upset at having her photo taken, threatened to break her camera. (Whoa, violence all of a sudden?)
The photographer spent some time near our spot, I’m sure to gain some security over the girl, who couldn’t be 20 yet and stood off to the side staring at us. She finally gave up and disappeared into the sea of tents.
Another Occupy Person, maybe 18, strolled up with his newly safety-in-numbers swagger and informed me that I was a fascist. I said that I was not, that in fact I was Methodist.
I don’t believe he knew the difference.
Thursday will signal the end of the DNC. Occupy is good for maybe two more demonstrations. Maybe they'll have an agenda this time. For now, back to the dorm and the tiny little bed and a well deserved Miller Lite!