OCCUPY WALL STREET COMES TO MY STREET

Today during my lunch I dropped by my local bank to do some…well, banking.  On my way into the bank; at which I’ve been with for over 20 years in one variation or another, I saw something I’ve never seen before.

An armed guard.

My first thought was that there was a delivery or something form the armored car.  But no, there was no delivery truck anywhere.  He was standing out front; guarding.  He had a firearm on his side and biceps that could pass for guns.  The guard must have stood about 9 feet 2 inches, (okay, maybe not that tall, but he was very tall) and there was a permanent scowl upon his face.

When I got into the bank I talked to the manager working the line about it.

Me:      Is that a security guard out front?

Him:    Yeah, pretty tough looking, isn’t he?

Me:      Absolutely.  But why is he here?

Him:    We had some protesters out here on Friday causing problems.

Me:      Protesters, here, in Port Orchard?

Him:    Yeah, it was a part of that Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Seattle thing.

Me:      Here?  Really?  In Port Orchard?

Him:    On the corner, yes, between us and the other bank.

Me:      Wow, kind of unbelievable that we need an armed guard.  I’ve never seen that before.

Him:    I wouldn’t want him to mess with him, would you?

It was a short conversation, really.  The banker was nice enough.  Eventually he moved onto the next customer behind me and then I went up to the teller and I did my banking without any problems.  As I got back into my office this afternoon, though, I did a little research.   Turns out the local paper covered this “protest.”    The article, though short on depth or anything like journalism, does tell how many protesters there were.  There were “about a half dozen.”  That would be six.  I’ll even be generous and say maybe seven.  Seven.  That’s it.

Would you have expected it to be more like seventy if it is going to gain a newspaper article and an on-site armed guard?  A half dozen is barely a crowd around a coffee table at Starbucks.  I think the newspaper made much of nothing, and I think my bank may have slightly overreacted.  Besides, is protesting something that needs an armed guard?  I thought that protesting in a civil way was a constitutionally protected activity so long as the public is not endangered and no laws are broken.  I have a hard time believing that these half-dozen people intended to harm anyone or that any laws were broken.   They just wanted to get their voice in with the other people across the nation protesting; even if doing so is more of a fad than any kind of movement.  That corner where they were at is used all the time for various “protests” from everything to support the troops to school levy support and even car washes.

In the end, the Occupy Wall Street thing will fizzle, especially when winter comes; and I’m not too concerned about their cause because most do not really know what their cause is.  But I am worried about my town–what exactly is the armed guard going to do if the half-dozen show up again?  One certainly would hope this doesn’t escalate; but protesters and armed guards surrounded by lots of customers coming in and out feels like a receipt for disaster.