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Protester dies senseless death.
March 19, 2003 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Protester dies senseless death. In a demonstration of the inefficacy of the recent protests, a protester falls to his death while apparently trying to hang an anti-war banner from the Golden Gate Bridge, barely a few hours before hostilities begin in Iraq.
posted by twsf (39 comments total)

 
How is it senseless? Isn't the willingness to die for liberty a noble thing?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2003


How do we know what happened? We don't.
posted by hama7 at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2003


damn hippies.
posted by tiamat at 8:31 PM on March 19, 2003


Did he really think there was a chance he'd die, or did he just make a mistake. Should we make people out to be more than they really are. Perhaps a little more pragmatism would keep people from doing silly things that lead to them needlessly getting hurt or killed.
posted by efullerton at 8:32 PM on March 19, 2003


This item was also mentioned in a thread from earlier today.
posted by gluechunk at 8:37 PM on March 19, 2003


So, like, don't protest, you might slip and fall? Protest = Death? How does someone competing for a Darwin Award relate to the efficacy of public protest?
posted by dchase at 8:48 PM on March 19, 2003


Nothing that any of the millions of global protesters did over the past few months had any success at stopping the American-led hostilities against Iraq that began today. I am carefully making no value judgments about the views of either side, merely pointing out that the protests - and the sad, accidental death of one protester - had no apparent effect on the global events they were intended to shape. Climbing on the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge is an inherently dangerous act, whose wisdom is called into further question when its apparent purpose was adding to a series of protests that were having no effect. Did that poor guy really think that draping a bedsheet over the edge of a bridge 3,000 miles from Washington DC, in the most liberal major metropolitan region in the U.S., would really prompt the bush Administration to change their views or plans? Protest=death? No, in this case narccisism+poor judgment=death...
posted by twsf at 8:58 PM on March 19, 2003


The lack of impact of the largest global protests in human history on the Bush regime does not speak to the effectiveness of protest but to the hubris and arrogance of the warmongers.

Times Sq tomorrow at 5pm, and Midtown Saturday at noon.
posted by muckster at 9:09 PM on March 19, 2003


I am carefully making no value judgments about the views of either side, merely pointing out that the protests - and the sad, accidental death of one protester - had no apparent effect on the global events they were intended to shape.

Perhaps it was not a success in forestalling this war, but perhaps the next one Bush tries to start. Throughout the last months a steady 35% of the American population opposed the war and a majority opposed war without the active involvement of the U.N.. I would not call it wasted.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:11 PM on March 19, 2003


Nothing that any of the millions of global protesters did over the past few months had any success at stopping the American-led hostilities against Iraq that began today.

Sometimes perhaps people take a stand knowing that it may have little or no impact on the course of events but will have a great impact on their ability to look in the mirror.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:20 PM on March 19, 2003


The Professional Protester is becoming obsolete.
posted by lightweight at 9:21 PM on March 19, 2003


I'm proud that I engaged in pointless anti-war protest.

It may not have saved lives, but American protests did help demonstrate to other nations that we are not a nation united in our desire for war. I believe that to be an invaluable result, if not the primary goal.
posted by mosch at 10:03 PM on March 19, 2003


I can't believe anyone would argue that the protests haven't done anything!

Sure, they didn't stop the war, but the worldwide protests sure put a spotlight on the security council members working on this problem. Kept the pressure on, made it clear that no one was buying the official line.

I credit the protests for forcing Bush to show his true colors and proceed with this action, as he intended to do all along, despite it's obvious lack of international support.

The protesters (and yes, I have and will protest when so moved) didn't stop the war, but then, nothing could have. Bush doesn't respond to democratic pressure, you see, because he's always right. (Ahem.) The protesters have, however, stripped some of the mantle of his legitimacy from him.

Although he's spiking in the polls (predictably), Bush has trouble either way it goes--war ends too soon, and the economy (and pain from the occupation) is going to trouble him in 2004. War goes on, and the hangover will set in Real Soon.

'Course, the Democrats will screw it up somehow...
posted by simian at 10:47 PM on March 19, 2003


What the three comments above me have said.

Additionally, I don't see the movement as having failed. I see it as being an impetus towards something that will only grow. It took many years before an arguably (my most) war in Vietnam had this kind of organization and mass. And as of earlier tonight, the point is more important than it has been in the past few months. I just hope people don't give up hope or resolve.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:54 PM on March 19, 2003


erm, sorry. that should've read "an arguably (by most) pointless war in Vietnam....
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:56 PM on March 19, 2003


SFGate says he jumped.
posted by turbodog at 11:00 PM on March 19, 2003


I credit the protests for forcing Bush to show his true colors and proceed with this action, as he intended to do all along, despite it's obvious lack of international support.

So the anti-war protests are responsible for the war occuring now? Seems like an odd thing to take credit for...
posted by jaek at 11:35 PM on March 19, 2003


So the anti-war protests are responsible for the war occuring now? Seems like an odd thing to take credit for...

I think what simian was saying is that the protests forced Bush to go to war in a way that was unfavorable to him. He would have gone to war if there were no protests, probably sooner, but with the protests, he felt pressured to try harder for a diplomatic solution. Upon failing at this goal, he showed his "true colors" by going to war anyway (and against public opinion).
posted by password at 11:57 PM on March 19, 2003


sorry, against popular opinion.
posted by password at 12:00 AM on March 20, 2003


A sad event, but I just don't see how one person falling to death became a demonstration of the inefficacy of the recent protests. And speaking of senseless deaths... well the irony of this FPP isn't lost on me.

And I agree heartily with what mosch said. Even if anti-war efforts haven't stopped the Bush administration thus far, I want them to know- Not in my name!
posted by lpqboy at 1:25 AM on March 20, 2003


It's sad that this person died, but that it happened has little or no bearing on the anti-war movement and its effectiveness.
I'm against war, but would be mortified to be aligned with the Anti-War Movement TM. I don't think wearing a plastic Bush mask, making derogatory comments about Texans and smoking spliffs is conducive to discouraging military action. 'Not in my name' used to be meaningful - now it's just a cheap slogan, tantamount to Bart Simpson's 'I didn't do it!'
posted by RokkitNite at 3:48 AM on March 20, 2003


War never solves anything (except the elimination of Nazis, the founding of the USA, end of slavery). Not in my name.
posted by stbalbach at 3:56 AM on March 20, 2003


What strikes me as nearly humorous in recent months is the number of "anti-war" people who claim that President Bush and the administration don't "listen" to the "people," and that they are ashamed/saddened/angry/etc that the voice of the "people" needs to be heard.

Funny...considering that the majority of Americans DO support military action. Sounds like the President *does* listen to the "people."
posted by davidmsc at 4:33 AM on March 20, 2003


Well, regardless if this guy's opinion on the War, I think it's safe to say he was a dumb-ass and died the death of a dumb-ass.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 4:42 AM on March 20, 2003


I think the protests, in the UK at least, will have had an impact. I can't see Blair rushing so keenly into the Bush led "liberation" (if one comes) having seen the strength of objection to this one
posted by brettski at 4:52 AM on March 20, 2003


stbalbach: You need to learn to distinguish between people who are protesting a war, and people who protest all wars. In recent years I've supported the first gulf war, and our actions in Somalia, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda.

This action, on the other hand, was a farce. There was no new danger, Saddam was well-contained, and American Intelligence reported that he was not going to use his illicit weapons unless he was invaded. I have an extremely hard time understanding why the United States was unable to work with the rest of the world to resolve the situation. The American administration sold a rosy picture of a victimless fight with few casualties, low financial costs and a magically peaceful Middle East. I pray that is the way this turns out, but I fear that may not be the situation.

Additionally, as an American citizen I like to occasionally be told the truth about the reasons behind our military actions. Instead of the truth, I was sold a disingenuous link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, and the government conveniently ignoring twenty years of history. This is not the way to gain support for war, unless you only care about what the fools believe.

My failure to support this war, at this time, in this way does not indicate a failure to understand the necessity of many wars.
posted by mosch at 4:58 AM on March 20, 2003


And just for the record, my failure to support the administration's decision to go to war, in no way diminishes my support for our troops. And no, I'm not French.
posted by mosch at 5:00 AM on March 20, 2003


A NewsFilter suicide does not a discussable link make.
posted by hama7 at 5:22 AM on March 20, 2003


And just for the record, my support of the administration's decision in no way diminishes my despisement of the French.
posted by darren at 5:23 AM on March 20, 2003


I wonder how many of those who have protested the Bush Administration's war against Iraq voted for Nader rather than Gore...
posted by twsf at 5:38 AM on March 20, 2003


And mosch, even if you were French it doesn't diminish the fact that one can support soldiers or the concept of just war, and still understand a leader is a loon.

And darren, my despisement of your administration is in no way affected by my love for many French. I'm glad we all can separate what a few politicians say and what a great number of people believe.

Finally, twsf, "I am carefully making no value judgments about the views of either side, merely pointing out that the protests - and the sad, accidental death of one protester - had no apparent effect on the global events they were intended to shape."

You must have been watching a different set of protests. The standing of the United States in the global community has slipped greatly. In a large part due to many protests. It's difficult to be a leader if no one chooses to follow.
posted by ?! at 5:41 AM on March 20, 2003


How many protesters have to die before we realize the danger of protest? Go home or your children may suffer.

On an unrelated note, these large gatherings of americans would make a perfect terrorist target. Horrible but highly ironic. I wonder if the terrorists (if there actually are any) have thought of that?
posted by blue_beetle at 6:18 AM on March 20, 2003


Of course the protests affected global events.

Any time tens of millions of people mobilize at the same time across the planet to march for peace (or anything) it is a significant event. In the short term it forced an amazing display of the United Nations DOING ITS JOB to prevent war. Yes, we may have forgotten but the United Nations was founded primarily to avoid armed conflict through diplomacy, rationality and general level-headedness. Not to rubber stamp preemptive attacks against weaker nations. When the UN succeeded in achieving the Security Council block on armed conflict, the US and its lap dogs decided to attack, THUS CIRCUMVENTING THE UN. I hardly think that the undecided nations would have withstood the withering attack by US "diplomats" to stand up for what they felt was morally correct if they weren´t backed by popular global opinion.

Midterm effects will include extremely difficult elections in Spain (where Aznar's Partido Popular is collapsing), Italy (where Berlusconi was in trouble before this mess), Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal and possibly an eventual end to Blair's control of the Labour party (although I doubt the Labour party will lose any election). Highly mobilzied popular opinion has turned against these leaders (some of them once popular) in their own countries. Very dangerous for any politician.

Longterm effects may include larger, more organized popular movements, not just anti-war but against what is being seen as a growing gulf between those who govern and those who are being governed. How else do you explain a 90% anti-war opinion in Spain and a pro-war government? For many who are participating in the anti-war movement, the major success (for what else can you call the millions upon millions mobilizing the same day to protest) of this movement is like a drug, they feel empowered (finally!) and they have the technical means (internet) to continue organizing. And they will grow bolder and bigger. Trust me. Trust your eyes.

As far as the anti-war protester falling to his death, I think that anybody who has been on Golden Gate bridge realizes that any activity that involves hanging off the bridge can be extremely dangerous. He knew it and bravely took his chances to stand up for something he deeply believed in. I salute him and am inspired by him to continue to fight for what I feel is right.

cheers.
posted by sic at 7:19 AM on March 20, 2003


The lack of impact of the largest global protests in human history on the Bush regime does not speak to the effectiveness of protest but to the hubris and arrogance of the warmongers.

How arrogant to think upon hearing your view those prowar must be ignoring you. Maybe they just think they are right, and are not affected by your argument, just as you are not affected by theirs.

against popular opinion

I'm assuming you mean 'world wide' opinion, as US opinion is slightly 'for war'. Don't let the far left leaning metafilter crowd mislead you.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 7:52 AM on March 20, 2003


Dunno if this thread is dead or not, but I repeat: according the SF Chronicle HE COMMITTED SUICIDE, HE DIDN'T JUST FALL.

A 44-year-old man who survived a previous plunge off the Golden Gate Bridge 15 years ago returned to the span to protest the war against Iraq -- and then committed suicide in full view of police who were trying to coax him back to safety.

sic: care to reconsider your last statement? bravely took his chances to stand up for something he deeply believed in. I salute him and am inspired by him to continue to fight for what I feel is right
posted by turbodog at 12:23 PM on March 20, 2003


I was responding to a post that stated he fell trying to hang an anti-war banner. If he committed suicide, then we are obviously having an altogether different discussion. Although I hardly see it as a valid riposte to the other, more important points I made about the short, mid and long term effects of the global anti-war movement. In fact, this person's suicide doesn´t affect them one iota.

However, if you'll consider it a personal (if irrelevant and petty) victory, I´ll change my last statement to: I salute all those who went out in the street today and last Saturday and last month to protest the war. In Madrid and Barcelona tens of thousands of people spontaneously protested the war this afternoon and on Saturday there will be a hell of a lot more.

cheers
posted by sic at 1:30 PM on March 20, 2003


sic: I wasn't looking for a victory (and you're right that they're irrelevant and petty). Last night I linked to an article that SF police said he jumped. I was merely suprised this morning to find that this important detail hadn't seeped into the discussion.
posted by turbodog at 3:40 PM on March 20, 2003


Understood and accepted.

It's just that this guy killing himself, on purpose or not, is the least interesting thing about this thread. People were discussing whether protesting the war is useless or not, a much more compelling topic of discussion given the state of the world.

Anyway, looks like we are the last two at this party--> on to new debates.

salud
posted by sic at 4:17 PM on March 20, 2003


There was no new danger, Saddam was well-contained

Containment directly led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi citizens.

Containment directly led to Osamas justification for an attack on the USA.

Containment is a temporary solution with many drawbacks.
posted by stbalbach at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2003


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