Friday, 11 November 2011

#OccupySLC : Chief Burbank Sets Showdown For Sunset On Saturday

Today, a dead body was found at #OccupySLC's Base Camp in Pioneer Park. Reports are still unconfirmed, but the most detailed news report so far (thanks, SL Tribune!) says: appears the victim died from a combination of carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose...officers pulling contents from the tent about 11:20 AM found a propane heater. A tarp was draped over the tent itself, possibly restricting ventilation.

First off: a propane heater in your tent is extremely dangerous. DO NOT DO IT. Furthermore, draping your tent with a tarp is also dangerous. DO NOT DO IT.

It has now been confirmed that Chief Burbank and the SLPD will begin arresting protesters who refuse to leave Pioneer Park or Gallivan at "sundown" tomorrow. I will be attending any and all meetings between now and then, and also will be present at the park at the commencement of the showdown.

This also follows an unfortunate instance in which a "pre-dawn riot" (read: fistfight between drunken idiots) broke out last night at Pioneer Park. According to the Trib:

A 43-year-old man who said he was in charge of crowd control for the protest claimed that Jesse Jaramillo, 31, hit him on the head with a board during the fight. 
Jaramillo was arrested for aggravated assault along with several others arrested for public intoxication and alcohol violations, the police said. He was among four people booked into jail, the statement said.

Aside from the obvious bad press, the consequences of a security meltdown at something as tenuous as #OccupySLC should now be obvious. Advocates for itinerant people in both aforementioned articles from the Tribune have been banging the drum to close #OccupySLC's camps because they believe that they are encouraging folks to sleep outdoors instead of in a nice, warm shelter like the Road Home.

I can see that argument for its merits, but I still think that shutting down #OSLC completely is brutal and unnecessary overkill. Medical outreach - which #OccupySLC was in the process of securing - and additional agency resource from social workers etc. would make a lot more sense.


  1. I drove past and briefly glanced at what appeared to be a much expanded Pioneer encampment last night on my way back upstate, that is, compared to even a week ago, in terms of the number of tents, etc.

    Earlier, I also went past the Fed and walked completely through what I think is all of Gallivan Center without seeing a trace of any occupation, vigils, moon base or anything else - as I've mostly focused on the Occupy the Fed part myself. So that was slightly confusing. In any event....

    My first visit to the Park in early days showed me a main issue was that OSLC was essentially a (revolutionary in concept) city taking shape inside of another city. And that its residents were finding that building a community requires governance and institutions - even among the anarchically-minded.

    The larger established city - within which the alt-city was trying to take shape and develop a charter based on what it saw as its raison d'etre - was being, I thought, much more tolerant of this burgeoning secession in its midst than it would have been in my time by far.

    Nonetheless, it always seemed clear that any number of possible events would be used as pretext for putting the screws to what had be an irritant at best to many involved in SLC's (and the county's and state's) governance.

    And now such a nearly inevitable pretext as subtext has apparently become tomorrow's text. Though I personally have no idea how the reading will go down.

  2. Thus sucks. I don't want Oslc to end. It is damn hard sleeping outside in the winter, so I understand the reasoning (no matter how ill advised) that it might be ok to use a combustible heater inside especially when the alternative is freezing your nuts off. Sleeping in a tent in the winter really requires a kind of survival training, and this person who chose to stay ended up in a situation they didn't know how to manage correctly. Damn unfortunate.

  3. we had one "down day" between the private plot and the galivan center to plan for our set up strategy. we are up and running now, but as soon as we're up, we're under threat of being torn down again.... jeez.... it's like they don't want the poor to unite and rise up or something....