What Can Go Wrong

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dan Edge engaged in some political activism in Greenville, South Carolina, and, after an unfortunate encounter with a particularly boorish and unprofessional cop, found himself arrested for his trouble.

The following is a chronicle of the events preceding, during, and after the downtown protest I organized against the "emergency" curfew ordinance – events which led to my arrest for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor."
This is long (and part of a series), but well worth reading.

Our personal freedom is increasingly under assault from the state, and anyone who values his freedom is more likely now than ever to have to attend or organize a protest like this. Knowing the kinds of things that can go wrong -- even after thinking of almost everything -- may be of practical utility later on.

I am glad that Dan is recounting this ordeal in detail.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, you have aptly titled Mr. Edge's protest. The first thing that has gone wrong is the city's failure to communicate with its citizens. Mayor Knox White and the Greenville News are largely responsible for the glaring ommission.

The second thing to go wrong is Mr. Edge's failure (he is a resident of Greenville) to come clean about his own motivation: "Disgusted with the oft used justification to restrict the liberty of the responsible majority in response to the lawlessness of a deviant minority.." Mr. Edge is seen smiling in his mug shot, however, apparently content with his 15 minutes of intellectual fame.

Greenville is a very tolerant, award-winning, progressive city. The curfew is an extreme measure, totally out of place for the nice city I visit on occasion.

The curfew is the city's temporary answer to large bands of roving teenagers a growing number of whom fight and engage in raucous and lewd behaviors. The result has been declining patronage of downtown's taxpaying establishments. Since Mayor Guilliani, such disruptions have not long been tolerated even in my own home town of NYC.

The underlying problem for Mayor White and his police force has been the steady infilitration of gangs into Greenville's downtown area at night. The curfew lets innocent teenagers know to go elsewhere and they have now. Consequently, even non-lewd, non-raucous gang members can't conduct their all-night, non-taxpaying drug businesses downtown disguised among innocents their own age.

Once enough gang arrests have been made, (there have been about 100 in the last 2 weeks) to discourage gangs, the emergency curfew will be lifted.

Gus Van Horn said...


I don't think you're being fair to Dan Edge for saying, apparently, that he oews an explanation of his emotional state to the officialdom of Greenville. Whether he should have been smiling in his mugshot is a debatebale point, but I don't think he was necessarily enjoying himself.

That said, I think you've missed the point of his protest, which, if I understood it correctly, was along similar lines to something I've said here before:

"Consider Mayor Melton's attempted actions again. He was willing, based on a couple of violent crimes (in a city that has had way more than its share for quite some time), to impose elements of martial law! So because the government -- by failing to punish criminals adequately and thus creating an 'emergency' -- has proven unable or unwilling to protect individual rights, it is thus entitled to run over individual rights and install military troops? For what other pedestrian reasons will we have government officials declaring 'emergencies' and what will they capriciously decide to do about them? This trigger-happy willingness to declare 'emergencies' seems like the real emergency to me."

Indeed, he makes the point that the city should have improved its police presence in the area that these kids frequented.

Martial law and elements of it, like curfews, are justified in some emergencies -- but not in ordinary situations for which normal government is intended.


Dan Edge said...


I have to say I'm offended by your implication that my motivation for going through all this was some form of narcissism. And I'm very surprised that you persist in that view having read my account of what happened (or did you?)

I am not normally one for protesting. In fact, I think I've attended five protests my entire life, and this is the first one I ever organized. I'd greatly prefer if such a public statement were unnecessary, but unfortunately our nation is sliding downhill fast.

Look, Vigilis. When you spend *17* hours in a tiny, putrid, detainment cell drunk tank -- a bare room with no books, no beds, no nothing -- with about 15 other detainees, many of whom are either blitzed out of their minds or are plenty crazy without the help of alcohol, then you tend to hang on to a few things that remind you of humanity.

One of the first things I did after changing into my orange jump suit was brush my teeth. I was surround by such filth (the room, not the people) that I wanted part of me to feel clean. Shortly after that, I washed up a bit with the soap, rag, and sink in the cell "bathroom," which consisted of a john and sink in the corner of the room with no privacy.

So after I'd been there for over 10 hours, they finally got around to scanning all my prints. It's at this point that they take your mug shot. While I was feeling pretty tough with my new "I Hate Mom" jail tat and my recent acceptance into the notorious Aryan Brotherhood, for some reason I didn't want to scowl into the camera.

When someone takes a picture of me, I smile. It was a bright spot in a tough time. I don't know how else to explain it.

--Dan Edge

Erin said...

Dear Vigilis,

I find it highly cynical and contemptible of you for admonishing Dan for smiling in his mugshot. It was perfectly proper (and, one might say, heroic) that he should smile in that moment, being that he took a stand against injustice and set an example for our nations' youth in a way that left a lasting enough impression on one of them that he expressed pride in exercising his First Amendment rights for the very first time. Indeed, he had the right to be proud in that moment, for he was the sole candle providing light in the encroaching darkness of a miserable smelly jail cell, and his smile was his natural expression of that light.