Start the countdown. How long will it be before Dallas City Hall decides to evict the Occupy protest campers from Pioneer Plaza? You know it's coming.
If the Occupy Dallas anti-corporate-greed protesters continue to camp out in a park just down the block from City Hall, political pressure will build to get rid of them. At some point that pressure will be felt by City Hall.
So far, the police department has taken a hands-off posture. It won't last. This is Dallas. As the Occupy movement grows nationally in weeks ahead and becomes more of a factor, the encampment here will become more and more a cinder in the eye of local conservatives. They will want it expunged.
Dallas police have been in nice mode until now, keeping an eye on the protesters, manning a distant perimeter, enjoying the occasional casual chat with a placard-bearing Occupier who ventures near. But who knows what happens when the order goes out to get rid of them?
I happen to think most of our police force is made up of seasoned professionals who can carry out just about any kind of mobilization efficiently and with the proper aplomb. But we also have our hotheads -- witness the incident September 5 of last year when a bunch of Dallas cops whaled the hell out of a young motorcyclist who had been taunting them.
He had been taunting them. No doubt about it. I think if you taunt the cops long enough you get the hell whaled out of you. The problem for Dallas City Hall is that sometimes getting the hell whaled out of you is exactly what you want.
Occupy Wall Street never made a blip on major media radar until the now infamous NYPD Officer Tony Baloney Maced a bunch of women penned up inside an orange plastic barrier. The fact is that confrontation -- especially violent confrontation -- works in the interest of the protest if it's the authorities doing the violence.
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Martin Luther King Jr. knew exactly what he was doing when he sent children and old ladies against Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham in 1963.
The point of nonviolent protest is not to avoid violence. It's to sucker the other side into doing the violence and then make sure the images get out worldwide. Protest is a morality play. The protesters just have to make sure they're the ones with the morals.
Look, I'm Mr. Negativity, I know, predicting trouble. But I've been to a county fair and a hog auction or two. The moment is not far off when somebody with a lot of juice will call up somebody at City Hall and say, "Get 'em outta there."