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 them 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 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 being filmed 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. This was different. Plus, it was Saturday, the day before the show. I never thought 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 plan on writing 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, is 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 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 escalator 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 thirty foot wide stairwell was blocked at the street level and inside Penn Station.
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 keep the masses in line? I thought about the story from The Secular Juror blog about swatting. Maybe this was a less extreme form of the same psycho mindset – anger spilling over into a desire to hurt or cause problems for people.
I also thought about an experience I had one recent New Year’s Eve while trying to go to the Bronx. A million people were making there way to an already overcrowded neighborhood and cops had blocked off some of the entrances/exits at the Times Square station. To me barricading people in an incredibly crowded area 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 obeying the orders of someone thousands of miles away. It wouldn’t solve the problem of imperialistic policies creating enemies for the country, but would make for great publicity on the “news” shows.
This seems innocuous, maybe a silly thing to write about to some people, but I’ve seen a pattern in recent years. We continue to allow the introduction of police state tactics as a way of protecting “democracy.” But aren’t we becoming conditioned to accept a loss of civil rights while actually protecting the profits of business executives? I see benefits for people who prey on fellow citizens and losses for the rest of us. I don’t know. I do know we are sick. And we better find the cure soon.