For two months, New York's Zuccotti Park had been the symbol of Occupy Wall Street protester's disgust with big business and the wage inequality in our society. On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a sweep of the tent city because health and safety conditions had become "intolerable" in the crowded plaza.
The mayor had good reason to evict the protesters and many, including local business leaders, feel it should have been done sooner. In New York and other major cities, the movement has led to riots, drug use, assaults, rapes, vandalism, sexual harassment, public urination, public defecation and public masturbation.
In ordering the dismantling of the camp, Bloomberg explained that while our First Amendment protects speech, "it doesn't protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space." He said a two-month presence of demonstrators in the confined area had begun to pose a health and safety risk to protesters and the public.
After Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman denied a motion by the demonstrators seeking to be allowed back into the park with their tents and sleeping bags, no one was more relieved than the small business owners in the area, some of whom were losing up to $9,000 a day.
One coffee shop owner said the Occupiers would use their shop for impromptu meetings, staying well past closing time and forcing employees to work extra hours. The shop also lost loyal customers who couldn't find a place to sit.
A cafe owner, meanwhile, said that on two separate occasions he found that someone had defecated on his front gate overnight.
A Chinese restaurant owner also found filthy clothes and underwear left on his bathroom floor.
Earlier this month, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made one of the better quotes to a group of free market conference goers Americans for Prosperity when he stated that the Occupiers could better serve their cause and this economy by "occupying a job."
The former mayor called it a very dangerous movement, and said it was ironic that it was happening under a president who promised to unify us.
"Barack Obama owns the Occupy Wall Street movement, it would not have happened but for his class warfare," Giuliani said.
During the early stages of Occupy Wall Street, a number of top Democrats, including vice president Joe Biden and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, climbed aboard their bandwagon. That was before the cases of disruption, destruction of property, assault and violence against women began to mount.
In his address, Giuliani also compared the Occupiers to the Woodstockers of 1969. Sanitation-wise, though, it wasn't a very fair comparison. The rural New York music festival lasted four days, while the inner city occupations have been going on for two months.
After the Giuliani conference ended, a number of protesters attacked a 78-year-old Detroit woman, pushing her down a flight of stairs, which landed her in a hospital.
She became a target of the protesters simply because she believed in the free-market, the same principles that helped build this nation to become the envy of the world.
By Jim Zbick