For the second time I visited OccupySeattle. I visited with a number of people (About 10) for an extended period of several hours.
Last time I went to West Lake Park, in downtown Seattle. The city has closed that down, and the protestors have moved to Seattle Central Community College. This had the benefit of allowing the protestors and the campers to be in the same area.
Probably half of the individuals I met with were crazy. I did not meet any crazy people last time, and Lexington Green did not mention any during his initial report, so I assume that this population is new and attracted to the generaly orderly campling arrangements that Occupy provides.
Three of the individuals appeared to be mentally ill. One otherwise well spoken young man appeared to be schizophrenic, another was paranoid, and another simply seemed to be ‘out’ of it. I bought the first of these individuals a sandwhich, and the other two fresh fruit. Occupy has a soup line which cares for these individuals, but it is hard for me to see someone who is hungry and poor and suffering from delusions and not help directly.
Of the non-crazy people…
One individual claimed his truck was stolen, that he had been camping in Seattle for a month, and he really needed to be at Boise tomorrow.
One individual was a Morrocan who had won the green card lottery, and as now a US citizen. He had been fired by “the Japanese” at a major downtown hotel, and was at the rally to help liberate Palestine. He was well spoken, single-issued, and generally critical of the lack of organization and self-importance of the Occupy leadership.
One individual was a quite attractive young woman upset about student loans, and how there could be rich people with many yachts when other people were starving to death.
One individual was Paul Loeb, a left-leaning writer who was visited to document the movement.
One individual was the medic, who claimed to have been (and had the speaking styles of) a National Guardsman. He spoke about being a medic in Iraq, and how the insurgents specifically targeted him and other medical aid workers. He accused the police of targeted him specifically, and macing him several times. The Morrocan seperately repeated this claim. Of all the individuals I talked with, the medic was most focused on the task at hand. I asked him how he dealt with sickness from the cold and the wet: “Blankets, more blankets. And also blankets.”
There were several organizers, but they appeared to be busy “babysitting” the homeless (in the words of the Moraccan). During my time there a fight between two drifters was broken up by organizers.