I was waiting for someone outside Madison Square Garden one day and there was a lot of pedestrian traffic along Seventh Ave. Of course, this is a busy area and there’s often a lot of activity, but this seemed different, especially when I noticed a lot of police – and a lot of police with automatic weapons. I got suspicious.
Then, I noticed about a dozen camera crews in the vicinity, most from foreign nations.
Was trump coming back to New York for the weekend even though about 8 or 9 million people here can’t stand him? Maybe a conference of some sort was scheduled? Then, I heard a broadcaster from Azteca TV doing a piece a few feet away from me. His Spanish was spoken so quickly I only understood a word or two in each sentence. Then I clearly heard “Paul McCartney.” I looked up at the Garden marquee and saw:
The Grammies Sunday January 28
What the hell is the big deal about an awards show at Madison Square Garden? Tons of cops, many with automatic weapons?
Now, there has been a military presence inside Penn Station for years, soldiers with automatic weapons at the ready – at least since the Cheney-Rumsfeld Regime was in control. But just a few here and there, spread out around the concourse. It’s a large building. There aren’t normally police officers with military weapons stalking the sidewalks of New York City. This was different. Plus, it was Saturday, the day before the show. I was never aware that such a big deal was made out of an awards show.
The next day I spent an hour and a half speaking with a guy selling books on a sidewalk in Chelsea. I picked up a couple little gems – a book of poetry by Ezra Pound (who I’d like to write a story about one of these days) and one by Mark Twain. We had such a cool conversation that the guy gave me a Noam Chomsky book I’d been checking out for no charge. Three books for $4. That’s my kind of shopping.
I was walking uptown on Seventh Ave. and needed to use a bathroom. I didn’t think I could make it back to Hell’s Kitchen in time and was close to Penn Station so decided to go there.
One of the many horrible things about NYC, the snake’s head of Capitalist Control in North America, is that we have few public bathrooms. Particularly in Manhattan. If you need a bathroom you’re most likely going to need to go into a food establishment with seats and spend twice the normal price for something to eat – whether you’re hungry or not. You pay for virtually everything here.
So, I used a bathroom in Penn Station and as I was approaching the exit to Seventh Ave. I saw hundreds of people being herded onto the 3 foot wide escalator instead of the 30 foot wide stairway going up to the street. There were two police officers, one with an automatic weapon. He held it as if he was prepared to fire immediately. The stairway was blocked on both sides – at the street level and at the bottom, inside Penn Station. Both officers had expressions of hateful suspicion and were staring into everyone’s eyes intently.
Homeland Security strikes again. For the Grammies?
People were pushing and complaining. The cops were examining everyone very closely. I decided then that something was going on. At least the street cops must have been told something, whether it was true or not.
A while later I was waiting to cross 42nd St. and I asked a traffic cop if NYPD was expecting something to happen at the Garden. He paused, then with a serious expression said, “Yeah, I heard something but I really can’t say anything.”
Did a wackjob call in a threat to get a thrill? Was it propaganda from up high in NYPD to help keep the soldiers in proper conditioning and the masses in line? I thought about the story from The Secular Jurist blog about an insane behaviorial sickness called swatting. Maybe this was a different form of the same psycho mindset – anger spilling over into a desire to hurt or cause problems for people, but for a large group of people the perpetrator doesn’t know personally.
I also thought about an experience I had one recent New Year’s Eve while trying to go from Hell’s Kitchen to the Bronx. A million people were making there way to an already overcrowded neighborhood and police had blocked off some of the entrances/exits at the Times Square train station. To me, it seems barricading people in an incredibly crowded area receiving about a million more visitors than usual was putting more lives in danger in case of a terrorist attack just so NYPD might have an easier chance of capturing a mindless automaton supposedly obeying the orders of someone thousands of miles away. It would definitely not solve the problem of imperialistic policies creating more enemies for the country.
Why would we continue instituting arrogant, bullying policies that make the world a more dangerous place if we actually wanted to stop acts of violence? Hmmm…
A clearer picture starts to emerge to the mind unfettered by a fear-induced adherence to blind obedience, a desire to be free of serious thoughts of the world we exist in. There’s been a noticable pattern to the direction society has taken in recent years I find impossible to ignore. I wonder how many people pay attention to patterns…
Not only does the United States definitely contribute heavily to creating a more violent society, then use fascist tactics to catch perpetrators (despite the fact that it endangers innocent people), it would make for great publicity on the many slick infotainment shows we’ve become obsessed with in recent decades. This would help perpetuate the embarrassingly disingenuous fairy tale we grow up telling each other – that we’re so very fortunate to live in a country with so much freedom we don’t know what to do with it all. This is quite the Madison Avenue mindset for a law enforcement agency and quite an accomplishment for the country’s owners.
We continue to allow the introduction of police state tactics as corporate propagandists flash friendly smiles while telling us it’s the way you protect “democracy” in this “complicated” world we live in. But how can we be protecting democracy when we’re allowing corporate politicians to slowly and methodically eliminate voting rights? Aren’t we being conditioned to accept a loss of civil rights while actually protecting the profits of business executives? And aren’t these obscenely wealthy business executives running our foreign policy?
We’re sick and we better find the cure soon.
The cure is courage. Each of us needs to find ours and make an effort to help each other by encouraging courage.