July 19, 2003

Eating in the Dark: An Update (Our Government is Shooting at Us!)

I'm about 80 pages from finishing the book Eating in the Dark, which I posted about earlier.

It wanders a bit more than I'd like. Also, it's so obviously slanted left that if you placed it on a bookshelf, it'd fall over.

I had only one spot where I wanted to throw it, (in the Brian J. method) though. It's a library book, and it's a hardback, so I refrained.

On page 179, in a chapter called "Global Food Fight," I read this nugget about the crowd gathered on November 30, 1999 at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. The author has just mentioned the "phalanx of police garbed in black riot gear, helmets, and face shields."

    At around three o'clock, near the intersection of Pike Street and Fourth Avenue, the highly charged mood of the crowd abruptly turned ominous. A crush of demonstrators ran down the street screaming. Simultaneously, a loud percussive boom rocked the air, coursing through my body like an electric shock. A blacket of thick white fog unfurled along the pavement as police fired canisters of tear gas into the crowd.

    Pandemonium erupted, and I joined the throngs of people streaming downhill, away from the melee. A tall, slender college-age boy ran up beside me shouting, "I've been shot. Our government is shooting at us!" Grimacing, he pulled up his pant leg and rubbed his calf. Another young man, apparently one of his companions, stopped up short behind us. "Rubber bullets!" he shouted breathlessly. "The police are shooting rubber bullets!" A third member of their group appeared, cradling a marble-size plastic pellet in his cupped hand. The police were apparently firing plastic bullets into the crowd.

    "I can't believe the government is shooting at us!" the stunned youth mumbled in disbelief. Then he rolled down his jeans and turned to rejoin his friends, who were already scrambling back up the hill into the combat zone."
COMBAT ZONE? Embrace the melodrama! Was this really worth three paragraphs of your book? Of course it is, if you want to incite the left to outrage and the right to disgust. I mean, really. What does this have to do with anything? You don't list the provocation of the police to use the riot gear it wielded.

What's Seattle's newspaper, The Seattle Times, have to say about the event?

    One of the largest protests in Seattle's history turned confrontational today as police fired paintball guns and pepper spray to disperse groups of unruly demonstrators who broke windows, sprayed graffiti on buildings and tried to block delegates to the World Trade Organization conference.
Oh. You mean there was damage? Destruction? The crowd wasn't singing campfire songs when the police dispersed it?

    Property destruction downtown was extensive. One group of about 200 demonstrators, dressed mostly in black and wearing hoods and masks, pulled out hammers and other small implements and began smashing windows, first at Nordstrom, then at other nearby stores. Other demonstrators yelled at them to stop.

    Most protesters, though, remained peaceful as up to 20,000 people from labor unions, environmental groups and local colleges rallied around the city, with the largest rally at Seattle Center. Most then marched downtown.

    The worst of the confrontations began around 10 a.m. When police fired pepper spray at protesters, they in turn threw sticks at the officers, prompting police to move an armored truck into the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Union Street and physically throw protesters out of the way.
Wow, no wonder the police had riot gear on hand. 20,000 people is an entire hockey arena full. And you have to expect that there'll be some pretty bad apples in the lot.

Book's still good, though - worth reading as long as you don't mind the bias. I should finish this weekend.


Posted by hln at July 19, 2003 03:05 PM | Books