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:
...it 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.