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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Der Fuhrer's Arrival

In the mid 1800s, when Indians invaded Jacksonville [OR], citizens clambered upon the roof of the old library. It was the one building that would not catch fire when flaming arrows were shot. This week it was a different scene. Police armed with high powered rifles perched upon our rooftops as the presidential motorcade approached. Helicopters flew low, overhead. A cadre of motorcycle police zoomed into town. Black SUVs followed, sandwiching several black limousines carrying the president, his wife and their entourage as they sped to the local inn where they would eat and sleep.
The main street was lined with people gathered to witness the event. Many supported the president. Many did not. Some came because they were simply curious. There were men, women, young and old. The mood was somewhat festive. Supporters of John Kerry sported signs, as did supporters of George Bush. Individuals, exercising their rights of free speech began chanting. On one side of the street, shouts of “four more years” echoed in the night air. On the other side of the street, chants of “three more weeks” responded. The chants were loud and apparently could be heard by President Bush. An order was issued that the anti-Bush rhetoric be quieted. The local SWAT team leapt to action.
It happened fast. Clad in full riot gear, at least 50 officers moved in. Shouting indecipherable commands from a bullhorn, they formed a chain and bore down upon the people, only working to clear the side of the street appearing to be occupied by Kerry supporters. People tried to get out of their way. It was very crowded. There was nowhere to move. People were being crushed. They started flowing into the streets. Pleas to the officers, asking, “where to go” fell upon deaf ears. Instead, riot police fired pellets of cayenne pepper spray into the crowd. An old man fell and couldn’t get up. When a young man stopped to help, he was shot in the back with hard pepper spray balls. Children were hit with pepper spray. Deemed “Protesters” people were shoved and herded down the street by the menacing line of armed riot police, until out of the President’s ear-shot.
That's an eyewitness account of aWol's recent visit to Jacksonville, OR, by a retired attorney originally from Texas. She had much more to say on the subject. Thanks to new blogger Michael Zimmer for that link, and this one about the same incident.

Do you think if Bush actually got to see these protesters or hear what they're saying that he might have been able to think of one mistake he's made?

Also, with local communities being stuck with the bill by the campaigns, you wonder if some towns might try to declare themselves "no-go" zones to the brownshirts.