one person's CM experience

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This letter to the editor appeared in the Missoula Independent the week of May 1st.

I hear you knocking. Yesterday I had the educational experience of riding my bike in the Critical
Mass rally here in Missoula. I participated last year and it was a lot of fun. An act of harmless
civil disobedience and a good laugh. Nobody got hurt, a few drivers got ****** off, an arrest or
two, nothing to really write home about. The rally was an opportunity for bikers to say "hey, we
have a right to be respected on the road also," and have a good time doing
it.This year was a completely different experience. We showed up at the Xs and there were bike
police circulating through the crowd. Not that this was that big of a deal, but it gave a
different feel to the crowd. People walking up Higgins started warning us about the police
blockades on cross-streets and the paddy wagons. My reaction was "not in Missoula." Oh boy, was I
wrong. On our ride down Higgins, police blocked every cross-street, with plain-clothes cops
recording the crowd (no doubt to plug the images into their new facial recognition databases),
plain-clothed federal agents, and the whole militarized police force experience. At one point a
biker tried to break from the crowd. I don't know, maybe he was going home or to Rockin Rudy's on
Blaine St. to buy a CD. The police knocked him off his bike and wrestled him to the ground. Then
the federal agents showed up and took him away. After that the bikers disappeared down an alley
blockaded by the cops at the other end. At this point we bailed-it was turning into a good way to
end up in jail. For what though, riding my bike? I don't get it. But I do get it, all too well.

In the new America, dissent is not tolerated and will be dealt with severely. Since the Twin Towers
thing, this country has been changing. Those who cannot be marginalized by television and propaganda
will be taken away in paddy wagons when they break the rules to make a point. It is already
happening at protest rallies in bigger cities, and now it is happening here. The role of the police
is not to protect and to serve you, don't trust them. One police officer was saying "We're here to
protect you." ********. The role of the police is to control the general populace and at the same
time convince that populace that the cops are here to protect them. Those who are already subjugated
will stare blankly into their television sets, wave the flag on command and do what they're told.
The role of the citizen is not to simply do as he/she is told. A good citizen tries to better his
society for the good of all, even if it means taking a risk and standing up to authority. Democracy
is sliding away in America. The path we are following leads to brutal oppression by the ruling
militarized thugs and their corporate masters. Watch out, they will be knocking on your door soon
with a picture that they snapped of you at your local Critical Mass rally. Jorge de Zulueta Missoula

Ken -Lsqny)

On Fri, 2 May 2003 08:18:05 -0600, "MissoulaBiker" <[email protected]> ranted:

>An act of harmless civil disobedience and a good laugh. Nobody got hurt, a few drivers got ******
>off, an arrest or two, nothing to really write home about.

Main Entry: 1ri·ot Pronunciation: 'rI-&t Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old French,
dispute, from rioter to quarrel Date: 13th century <snip> specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of
the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent

Cheers, Ken (NY) Chairman, Department Of Redundancy Department

Why Don't Americans ask themsleves: "Why couldn't Al Gore Carry his own home state?"
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