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Punishment for occupiers? Hard labor

Early on Sunday morning in the middle of McPherson Square, two blocks from the White House, “Occupy D.C.” protesters built the frame of a small barn, upon which several of these political zanies mounted themselves.

The New York Times reported:

“As the police worked bringing in a cherry-picker to get the protesters off the roof and an oversized air mattress to provide a soft landing, the protesters chanted their defiance: ‘We are stronger than your trucks and your horses and your riot gear and your orders.”

“By the end of the evening, 31 people had been arrested, according to a spokesman for the United States Park Police: 15 for crossing a police line and 16 for disobeying a lawful order after the structure was found unsafe, the spokesman said. Of those, one was charged with indecent exposure, among other things, for urinating while atop the structure.”

Ladies and gentlemen: Think about that.

This animal-protester goes up high – so as to urinate in the sky – possibly in an attempt to outdo that other obscenity-star-protester in New York who, in public, defecated.

The Washington Post reported:

“As a cold rain fell, hundreds of people filled K Street, chanting ‘We are the 99 percent’ while slogging through puddles and waving protest signs. They blocked intersections with newspaper boxes, wooden pallets, office furniture and tents. Tempers frayed. Horns blared.

“D.C. police said 62 people were arrested after they formed human chains across thoroughfares. Many were charged with obstruction of a public highway. On Wednesday night, 12 more people were arrested when they wouldn’t leave the steps of the Supreme Court.”

I surely defend the right to picket – that historic and constitutional right.

Surely this right does not include the construction of housing structures in public parks or the blocking of public thoroughfares by arm-locked protesters.

But the Washington Times reported that the D.C. code punishes obstructing a public highway with only a fine – from $100 to $250. What is needed are extensive terms of hard labor to consume the energy of these creatures.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street asked the Episcopal Church’s historic Trinity Church, Wall Street, to provide them one of its many Manhattan properties, a gravel lot, near Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, for use as an alternate campsite and organizing hub.

The New York Times reported that the church declined, calling the proposed encampment “wrong, unsafe, unhealthy and potentially injurious.”

“Trinity’s rector, the Rev. James H. Cooper, defended the church’s record of support for the protesters, including not only expressions of sympathy, but also meeting spaces, resting areas, pastoral services, electricity, bathrooms, even blankets and hot chocolate. But he said the church’s lot – called Duarte Square – was not an appropriate site for the protesters, noting that “there are no basic elements to sustain an encampment.”

“‘Trinity has probably done as much or more for the protesters than any other institution in the area,’ Mr. Cooper wrote on his parish website. ‘Calling this an issue of “political sanctuary” is manipulative and blind to reality. Equating the desire to seize this property with uprisings against tyranny is misguided, at best. Hyperbolic distortion drives up petition signatures, but doesn’t make it right.'”

For this, the New York Times reported that Trinity Church was strongly denounced by Episcopal clergy from New York’s Upper West Side and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

But professor Robert Bruce Mullin, of New York’s General Theological Seminary, said:

“It’s great to defend the rights of protesters in someone else’s backyard.”

Denomination Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori declared:

“It is regrettable that Occupy members feel it necessary to provoke potential legal and police action by attempting to trespass on other parish property.”