Update on Protest Plans for the Convention

If you’re here for the convention and need a break, check out this show:

PEACE SIGNS

The Anti-War Movement Illustrated

Chisholm Gallery

56 West 22nd Street, 2nd Fl.

New York City, NY 10010

Opening Reception August 24th, 7-9 PM

August 24 – September 3

An exhibition of more than 40 images, including international poster art from the book “Peace Signs: the Anti-war Movement Illustrated.

I’ll post more about what’s happening later. Meanwhile, however, I promised that I’d say something about the New York City police department. Having already been intimidated by vivid news reports of drills to prepare for breaking heads, we’re now being intimidated by news reports featuring an army of police that has already been assigned to the area around Madison Square Garden. This doesn’t exactly make the NYC department look particularly benign or helpful. This is not their fault. They have to go where they are assigned — and do what they are assigned to do.

In spite of this, it’s quite safe to ask a NYC policeman for help or directions. The department has certainly had its bad moments, but the police here are the best educated, the best trained you’ll find anywhere. Right now they are serving in spite of the fact that they haven’t had a contract for two years. Neither has the fire department. This is how we treat our heros! Considering their service and sacrifice on 9/11, they deserve a lot better treatment than they are getting. This city got through the period immediately after 9/11 largely because of the calm, professional — and remarkably helpful — service of the police department, in spite of their terrible, unnerving losses on that day. There was no panic and no looting. We were living in wartime conditions, especially down here where i live, and we wouldn’t have made it through without their help.

I lost a good friend on 9/11, an upstairs neighbor, a policeman who, among other services, had served for a year in Special Forces in Bosnia, returned home, and was on the bomb squad, about the most dangerous job available. We were evacuated and the super said don’t worry, Danny will take care of us, he’ll be back soon, but of course he never came back. We still all miss him and feel a lot less safe without him here. I’ve never met a sweeter, nicer guy — but I do know others on the police force who are just as good as he was.

So be nice! Instead of deliberately antagonizing the police here, try talking to them. They’re not the enemy. They’re just people, just like the rest of us. And like the rest of us, they’re being used as pawns in this political battle.