At the supper hour, my walk encompassed the area between Interstate 94, the Minnesota Capitol building, and my house. Normally these grounds are well groomed and a perfect place to walk and meditate, to unwind from a busy day. There are memorials, plantings, splendid St. Paul views and benches for contemplation.
Being oblivious to the protest schedule surrounding the RNC was a mistake. My pleasant little stroll soon intersected with a bit of unpleasantness. Helicopter fly overs were driving me nuts. The longer my walk, the crazier it got.
Police and military personnel were everywhere dressed in riot gear and gas masks. Media vans were parked by the Capitol building, but there were no protesters visible. A normal person pays attention to the clues and goes home: Hueys and news chopper flying overhead creating a din, riot gear, military, news media, small groups with placards face down in the grass, etc. I, on the other hand, continued my walk into oblivion hoping to get some good pictures of the St. Paul Cathedral.
The police line was intimidating, yet some protesters approached the human barricade and invaded the officers' personal space to stare hatefully. Another of the crowd loitering behind the protesters was so high he was waiting to be arrested. He copied his colleague but added a leering smile to his stare. Only professionalism and training prevented the police from being goaded on that way.
Being sandwiched between 20 some police horses (they're big) and the line of
riot gear clad police was unnerving. I wanted to step behind the police (away from the crazy protesters) but was told I could
not. Even the police bicycle brigade acted as barriers. The road to the Cathedral was blocked with bulldozers. All this for a few protesters,
most of whom were shouting obscenities and inflammatory words. The few that I
made eye contact with seemed filled with hate.
The protesters appeared to purposely taunt the cops to step out of line. The police department deserves a lot of credit . . . gas masks, batons drawn, tranquilizer or tear gas rifles, mounted police, face shields, hard hats. Not a pretty site, yet the police performed their duties admirably. One couldn't pay me enough to stand in any one of their places.
And the protesters. It was reminiscent of the days of Lennon and Yoko Ono with the long skirts, beads, stringy greasy hair, vegan build, piercings, dreadlocks, filthy jeans, professor types with ill fitting outdated suit jackets covering denim shirts. No, I have no sympathy for them. Their cause might be just (I have no idea what their cause was!), but their presentation sucked!
Still 5 hours later the choppers are soaring above. Thawack, thawack, thawack is the sound of the Hueys. The little choppers just hum, but the Hueys shake the foundation of the neighborhood.
Will I be glad when the RNC goes home? Yea, you betcha!