You can lead a horse to water, but will it give a statement to the press?

From the horse’s mouth: Nope.
On advice of lawyer, don’t talk about arrest. On advice from retired lawyers: civil liberties issue iffy. Advice gleaned from the overworked ACLU: case not as good as others we’ve got. Advice from friends: hope for a plea deal. Request from PPJPC colleagues: pretend we don’t know you. Advice about the press: “Generally they don’t have much interest in this kind of thing.” FAIL.
 
I have to confess, my pretending yesterday about an intentional plan to fly under-the-radar was sarcasm. I had no idea the extent to which the sublimation of the “MEPP” Kulp/Nace arrests was premeditated. No mention of the court date in the PPJPC Active For Justice weekly email, the arrestees’ spirits driven down by the defeatism prescribed above. I raise this criticism not to victimize the defendants further, but to question this apparently endemic predilection for hemlock.

Protesters say arrests unjust

Exactly how valuable is it to have colleagues with legal experience enough to vacillate about your courtroom chances being between cross-your-fingers and dismal? What good a lawyer whose own sense of your pre-verdict innocence is ambivalent? What confidence is lifted being told it will all depend on the judge? I’ve always thought a lawyer who counsels activists to shut up while their prosecution is pending, lest innocence incriminate itself, is not suited to activists as clients.

Most troubling is the impression which the ACLU gives in its habitual reluctance to express enthusiasm for a case. The Denver ACLU in particular is famously overburdened, and they are inundated with solicitations for representation. Better in my opinion to decline with apologies than to leave inquirers doubting their trampled civil liberties may not have been sufficiently flattened. Free speech is either or. Restricted free speech is restricted speech. Or are we prepared to call it the 1.01 Amendment (revised for 2011)?

Behind the scenes, only hours after the fact, the ACLU can reveal that the November arrests and the policy which the city acted upon were patently unconstitutional. So how can we expedite that kind of reassurance to activists before the fact? Because of course such arrests are only serving to scare the public from even thinking about dissent. In fact this is the preemptive aim of these actions.

I count my own success at avoiding arrest, as I find myself defying authority sometimes nose to nose, with nonchalance because I know my rights. I KNOW MY RIGHTS. That argument appears to register with police officers when you say it as if you’re reassuring them, projecting a shrug and a smile, relieving them of having to rationalize acting against you. When you are confident of your rights there is nothing to compromise but practical considerations, lawful orders which the officer is able to show you are warranted.

You can retreat to a public sidewalk once a policeman has proven he had sufficient authority to make the request. A landlord who has contracted the use of his land to tenants does not have absolute say without their consultation. It’s not even reasonable of him to call in the police if no one is complaining and you are not creating a disturbance. To know these things empowers you to stand your ground when overzealous officers of the law think they can throw their weight around. How do we rekindle that essential confidence in our civil rights?

Pictured: Ted Nace with Rita, Pattie, Eric, Esther, Bill, and Loring

The other confidence-stealing factor at play in this case is an activist organization insisting that its members protest under a different name, to avoid offending members who didn’t agree. On its website, the PPJPC claims the MEPP as a subcommittee, but for the day of action and in subsequent news coverage, no affiliation.

If you consider that the Middle East Peace Project’s objective is to win over public awareness and sympathy, it seems horribly defeatist to think that you can’t even appeal to your own fellow members. Not to mention that you can’t trade on the reputation that sustains your mother organization, instead you have to emerge out of the blue, like any other holders of extremist views.

When protesters are having to excuse themselves and the unintended perhaps unwarranted commotion they’ve caused, and have to pretend to be acting autonomously because they can’t make their case to their own colleagues, it’s a recipe for what happened here. Activists kowtowed and self-censored.

And so, how to ally yourself with such impediments? Coloradans For Peace has to cut the PPJPC out of the loop so long as its decision makers are so dominated by naysayers, pretenders, NVC appeasers, and a staff which reports their every intention to the police. You can’t even discuss strategy in such a circle.

8 thoughts on “You can lead a horse to water, but will it give a statement to the press?

  1. AvatarPilarerecto

    What a hypocrite you are with your stupid sign, Eric. You deleted my last 8 posts since you are the landlord here at NMT.

  2. AvatarEd Billings

    This IS Eric’s website, He pays to keep it running. Why don’t you buy this website so that you can post what you want, or better yet, get your own website. I own the Pikes Peak Ocean you tube channel, and if you will look those toons portraying you were removed and that was MY decision.

  3. AvatarBrother Jonah

    I just read the Gag-Zette headline scheduled for publication tomorrow. Not on the front page. Of Course. “Crime Stories”.
    Well, there WAS a crime committed but it was by the CSPD.

    The picture in the sidebar shows Rita holding a sign with a short memorial to Elizabeth. Then goes on to say that she had been arrested at a (implied: Illegal) “protest” at St Paddyes.
    Which wasn’t illegal. wasn’t technically a “protest”.
    And they tried to damn you with faint praise and praise Doug Bruce with faint damns.
    Typical Gag-Zette slant but even they couldn’t (entirely) demonize you or the MEPP. They did mention Nace being 89 and using a walker.
    Seems they pretend some surprise that the police target the elderly and disabled.

    One favorite police tactic is to say that the defendant is feigning disabilities in order to get the Sympathy Vote from jurors. As I recall they tried that shit with Elizabeth, and the Gag-zette chimed in with their knee-jerk The Policeman Is Always Right noise.
    Are they going to say that Rev. Nace is pretending to be pushing 90? Answer: Only if they think they can get away with it.

    Wirbel was quoted, and you.

  4. EricEric

    Touche Tony!
    But letting you blab here is nothing to do with free speech. It’s about crapping up the thread with your inanity. SAY SOMETHING and you’re welcome. Bore us and you are free to take your crap speech elsewhere.

    And NMT is a group work. Jonah is free to write whatever he wants. YOU wanted to set limits so YOU left.

  5. AvatarPilarerecto

    Eric, you’re real good at name calling and your own arrogance running wild, yet you miss 95% of what’s going on in this country to talk about or discuss anyway.

  6. AvatarEd Billings

    Gentlemen,
    What is being solved here? I confess that I have never agreed 100% with everyone, and Tony, again I remind you that out of conscience I removed those certian cartoons, you are one helluva guy to have a beer with, but for some strange reason on this blog you just have to bicker with everyone.
    I have read this post and I happen to agree with Eric.
    I also see that Eric was willing to show support for the very people who snubbed him from the J & P a couple of years, and I don’t see that as arrogant at all.
    Also Tony, there is no law that says you can’t build another website and post whatever the hell you want.

  7. AvatarPilarerecto

    Ed, I am happy that you and I are able to have a beer together as we did and that you and I can agree to disagree on certain items and not go at each others’ throats about it. You said that this is Eric’s site and not ‘ours’ as Eric had said it was…. and I agreed with you. (I know very well it is not ‘ours.’)

    Now you say you agree with Eric here! Well… whatever then???? For me, this is really seeming to feel rather comical at this point. So let’s have another beer again! Cheers! And I appreciate the evaporation of dem youtube videos.

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