G.A. Minutes 8-3-13
So we thought things couldn’t possibly get any crazier than they were last Tuesday. We were wrong.
We set up as per usual and start the fire. Tonight we have a big plate of fresh cantaloupe and oranges. Several women sitting on the back ledge come over and take big handfuls of the fruit. They return several times for more. When the women are out of earshot an Occupier says, “Oh that’s right, the Mission doesn’t serve dinner on Saturday’s anymore”. Our fruit is probably the only food the women will have until morning.
An Occupier says Water Legacy will be doing another phone bank on Monday and our participation would be welcome. Several of us will be able to help. The National Night Out is on Tuesday and we have been asked to help. Our friends who are running for City offices need people to deliver literature and words of support to some of the Night Out sites. There are at least 40 different site locations so our friends are going to be hard pressed to cover them all. We agree we will cancel the G.A. at the Memorial on Tuesday and help our friends. Involving ourselves in the established political system is something we wouldn’t ordinarily do but our friends are so far above the usual type of political candidates we feel we should give covert support. If they were to be elected, we would have a few more allies within the system.
The Occupy couple requests a “personal leave day” for next Saturday. They have a yearly event they are going to attend. As we are discussing this a young man comes to sit with us. He is acquainted with one of the homeless Occupiers. We hand him the sage bundle, he puts it in his mouth and tries to smoke it. That doesn’t work too well and we explain what sage is used for and how to use it. He’s not interested and tries to smoke it again. He says,” I’m from Mississippi; I’m a chronic alcoholic, I have ADHD and take 20mg of Melleril every day. I’m homeless and live at the CHUM. I know you think I’m stupid and you want me to leave. Everybody wants me to leave”.
We attempt to converse with him but he is very contrary. Whatever anyone says to him, he argues the opposite position. Two men come up to smudge themselves and they inform the contrary man they use sage because they are Native American. The man says, “Oh I’ve been around Mexicans before”. He begins to speak to the Native men in Spanish. This doesn’t work too well either. The Natives go back to the ledge. Mississippi Man reaches into his backpack, pulls out a full bottle of vodka and takes a swig.
An Occupier says,” Hey man, don’t be waving that bottle around here. If you’re going to drink you have to be discreet. If you’re gonna be blatant about it, the police will be here in a minute”. Within seconds one of the Native men comes from the ledge and a woman comes from the other side of the Memorial. They each ask for a drink from his bottle. To our disbelief, the guy says no. He takes another swig and says “You can’t have any”. The asking people appear very frustrated.
It’s a matter of street etiquette that one never flaunts any form of intoxicant unless one is going to share. The people crowd close to him, he takes his backpack, gets up, puts his arm around the man and the 3 of them walk off toward the back corner. As they leave we hear Mr. Mississippi say,” I’ve seen you around and wanted to get to know you”.
So we figure he’ll wander off, forgetting about the fire and us; but this was not to be. A few minutes later we hear some kind of noise, turn to look and see the 2 men fighting. The Native dude knocks down Mr. Mississippi and begins repeatedly punching him in the face. The other Native guy jumps off the ledge, comes over and starts kicking the guy on the ground. Everybody else from the street disappears.
The face of the man getting beat is covered with blood. An Occupier says, “Should I call the police?” Another says,” I guess were gonna have to. Don’t know what else we can do”. He calls 911 and we hear a woman scream and call to the Native guys” The cops are coming, you better get out of here!”
Within minutes 2 squads pull up and 2 cops jump out. The Native men are long gone and the other dude is sitting on the ground bleeding. The cops want to take him to the hospital, they ask him what happened. He says, “I was just sitting there and 2 Native guys jumped me”.
The cops ask us what happened and we tell them we weren’t watching but the 2 guys were beating up the 1 guy so we called 911. We give the cops a vague description of 2 guys. The beaten guy says,” They were Natives”.
One cop to him, “It’s not about race. Around here, if you have anything, someone will jump you, beat you up and take what you have”. The officer says to us, “We try to keep this sort of thing from happening but with only 2 officers assigned to the whole area, there’s only so much you can do”. He then notices one of the Occupiers trying to read his badge and says, “If you want to know my badge number, just ask me”.
An Occupier says, “The last time I asked an officer for his badge number, he poked me with his billy club and said I had a bad attitude”.
Both cops willingly give us their names and badge numbers. The Mississippi man refuses to go to the hospital, we chat pleasantly with the DPD for a while. As they’re getting ready to leave, one cop says, “Bye the way, you should put that fire out because it’s illegal”. We explain to him why it’s not illegal and the whole story blah, blah, blah……
He says, “I never know what policy is. It changes every day.”
An Occupier says, “Your job sounds like the job I worked for most of my life”.
He laughs and another Occupier says, ”Just to show you we’re not against you, I will put this fire out”. The Occupier dowses the fire. The cops are pleased; they wish us a good night.
We’re all pretty bummed out by this evening’s turn of events and feel like just packing it up and going home. We can’t do that though. We have our street rep to protect so we can’t let it be said we were run off by a little bloodshed. Mr. Mississippi is sitting and whining about how he was wronged. We all realize that he played a part in his own castigation and he’s becoming quite tiresome.
Someone starts up a conversation about money in politics and we talk about the subject. In just the short time we have been helping our 2 candidate friends; we have seen just how blatant the money game is. Our friends are completely grassroots so have little funds. The other candidates represent the rich and/or the status quo. They already have professional signs, literature and publicity.
Mr. Bloodied Man gets bored with our conversation and walks over to the ledge where people have started to return. One of the Native women from the street takes the sage bundle and walks around the circle, smudging all of us. The sun is setting and it feels chilly. We wish the fire was still going. No matter, we all have warm homes and food and such to go home to.
It looks like our rep is still intact so we pack up to go home. We won’t be back for an entire week. We hope things will settle down by then but they probably won’t.