Monday, November 14, 2011

Fun And Games In Chapel Hill

First the story:
CHAPEL HILL -- A police tactical team of more than 25 police officers arrested eight demonstrators Sunday afternoon and charged them with breaking and entering for occupying a vacant car dealership on Franklin Street. Officers brandishing guns and semi-automatic rifles rushed the building at about 4:30 p.m. They pointed weapons at those standing outside, and ordered them to put their faces on the ground. They surrounded the building and cleared out those who were inside. About 13 people, including a New & Observer staff writer covering the demonstration, were forced to the ground and hand-cuffed.
Okay, pretty basic stuff. Group breaks the law and are treated as lawbreakers. So who do you think gets treated as the idiots on the progressive blogs? Boing Boing thinks it's the cops:
The police claimed the force was necessary because they'd been briefed that anarchist squatters use man-traps, and they believed this would be the case because the protesters had put banners in the windows and sited "strategic lookouts" on the roof. In other news: Chapel Hill police are credulous, dangerous dolts who set out to believe boogie-man stories about "anarchists" and seized on any rubric, no matter how farcical, they could find to support this a priori belief.
Hey, I'm sure that the folks at Boing Boing dive headfirst into any pond they see, because the odds are very small that there's a rock just below the surface. Think Progress opines that the owner is a dope:
The building has been left vacant since 2003 by real estate magnate Joe Riddle, III, of Fayetteville, NC. In 2004, Riddle claimed he would develop the lot containing the building, its adjoining 60-car parking lot, and a building next door with “retail and restaurant space, housing and parking.” Since then, Chapel Hill public officials and business owners have grown frustrated for years that Riddle has left the space derelict. The “autonomous anti-capitalist occupiers” who reclaimed the empty building on Saturday had drawn up plans for transforming it into a space for civic engagement and public support. The plans, acquired by ThinkProgress, call for dividing the space into a free store, kitchen, clinic, performance space, school, workshop, library, and dormitory. A free yoga class Sunday afternoon was the first such use of the space, just before the arrests.
I'm going to guess that the property isn't located in a hot area for new development. The owner has clearly been paying his real estate taxes on the property, so to him, the property has been a money-loser. I'm sure the anarchists had some wonderful ideas on how to make it profitable: a free store! How could Joe Riddle III have missed out on that brilliant notion? Free yoga! Just imagine the money in that!

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