…. “Don’t tread on the flowers” and then goes on to say “civil disobedience will not be tolerated”.
The flowers, however, are not the only cause for Meninos alarm; He, and the BPD, are presenting an ever shifting array of justifications for the heavy-handed tactics, including
- lack of permit
- using too much city resources
- “anarchists’ have taken over
- the above mentioned flowers (parkgrounds)
- and the always useful “public safety at risk”.
Lack of permit: the protesters in Dewey Square have not had a permit since day one. Why now, all of a sudden, is a permit so important? This is selective enforcement, if anything.
Using too much city resources: this is pernicious; the mayor does not get to say what is too much in the way of city resource use. Will he next say the North End uses too much electricity? Of course not. Will he next say the back bay has too many commuters using too much ‘resources’? (police, mbta, etc..) of course not. The city lives and breathes, just as the sun rises and sets, without Meninos’ say-so.
“Anarchists” have taken over: This is the rational given to NPR by the Police Commisioner, without proof. Well, so what? Who are the BPD to say some speech is OK while other speech is not? If the anarchists get out of hand, We’ll take them on too…
Don’t tread on the flowers: Why is property more important than people? Yet that is exactly the implied rationale behind this justification. I was reminded recently that it was JFK (Rose Kennedy’s son.. ahem) who said “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Menino has always been something of a comedic figure in the commonwealth though, until now, not one giving to dealing in comic irony.
Public safety at risk: Well, yes. That’s the point. Shake things up. Make people review their complaisance attitudes and to make them face things they wouldn’t ordinarily face. Nothing at all safe about that.
All those rationales break down fairly quickly so what is the real reason? I don’t know for certain but I do suspect sheer laziness: listening to Menino and the BPD talk you’d think they’ve been pulled out of a pleasant nap and are pretty annoyed about it. I think they didn’t want to deal with a hassle so they let the protests settle in the first place and now, when 10,000 people march on the city and things threaten to get bigger, they don’t want a even bigger hassle and are scrambling to come up with reasons that don’t involve admitting they’ve been perturbed. Listening to Menino talk about how “these things have to end sometime” and “very shortly” they’ll be ended, I got a clear sense of somebody who’s just hollowed out and tired and wants it to be over so he can go back to his nap.
Tough shit, Tom. Ain’t gonna happen.