All over North America Occupy Wall Street tent camps are being dismantled and removed from public and private spaces, with very good reason. The tent camps are uniformly filthy and crime-ridden and have become eyesores and festering public health hazards. They are also full of hatred, bigotry, intolerance and misogyny. The tent camps also prevent ordinary citizens from enjoying and taking advantage of the public and private spaces where they are set up…its difficult to use and enjoy a park or a square if its been turned into a garbage dump occupied by hostile, nasty, smelly, simple-minded, confrontational zealots who think they are inherently superior to everyone else and see nothing wrong with trashing and ruining public and private property while spouting mindless and useless platitudes.
Not surprisingly the denizens of the tent camps are saying that the dismantling is a violation of their right to free speech and freedom of expression…that they cannot express themselves and make their points because the tent camps have been taken down.
Hogwash, utter and complete hogwash.
No one is saying or has ever said that Occupy Wall Streeters cannot protest or demonstrate in public and private spaces. They have every right to do so and no one is trying to take that right away. What they do not have the right to do is set up tent camps in public and private spaces, violate municipal by-laws and provincial, state and federal law with impunity and harass, harangue and endanger other people and prevent them from going about their business. Dismantling the tent camps doesn’t mean that Occupy Wall Streeters cannot protest or demonstrate or express themselves. Far from it. It just means that they cannot do these things the way they want to. It just means that they cannot do these things at the expense of others. It just means that they don’t have free reign to act as they see fit, to act outside the rule of law and the bounds of civilized behaviour as they’ve been doing.
The message to Occupy Wall Streeters is very clear. Protest, demonstrate and express yourselves all you want…just don’t set up squats and act like pigs and savages while you’re doing so and keep the violence and crime out of it. If you can’t do that it will be done for you and rightfully so too.