by Max Brantley
An Occupy Little Rock protester got a ticket yesterday for obstructing traffic by inadvertently leaving the sidewalk during a protest march to City Hall . Robert Johnston is quick to highlight the irony in news photographs of the event in a letter to Mayor Mark Stodola, City Manager Bruce Moore and Police Chief Stuart Thomas:
The photo on the front page oif the AR Section of the DemGaz says a lot about the City's Perverted Priorities:
The photo captures a cop writing a ticket for 'obstructing the street' to a 40ish Occupy Little Rock demonstrator carrying a US flag. The story says he stepped off the sidewalk into the street.
The cop is standing in the street beside his car, with the door open, blocking two lanes of traffic.
Does the cop say "I had to obstruct traffic for a couple of minutes to prevent him from obstructing traffic for 10 seconds?"
Does the City say, "We routinely obstruct traffic for entertainment, but not for political demonstrations?"
Does the City say, "We don't have the police manpower to reduce speeding on Broadway, because they are keeping demonstrators from straying off the sidewalk in the Rivermarket area?"
Mayor Stodola, by the way, would have done best to stifle himself when interviewed by the D-G on the subject. He seemed to have spent most of his time talking about better subjects for OLR to be talking about than its eviction by the city from its base camp at 4th and Ferry. Thanks for the critique, mayor, but that good ol' First Amendment let's them be the judge of what they find important. The camp has great symbolism to them. The people unhappy about it (if they'd be honest with themselves) are far more perturbed about the symbolism than the appearance of the neatly maintained tent city with its solar power, well-observed rules and quiet gatherings of dedicated idealists. They depart from the status quo, which just isn't done around here.