Not On The Fence For 9/11 Justice
On December 16, 2010, I would estimate about 200 veterans committed an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House. Several chained themselves to the fence in one form or another. This act inspired me. As a result, I decided to commit a similar act of civil disobedience.
Today, I did exactly that. I went to the White House to chain (handcuff) myself to the White House fence in an act of civil disobedience specifically for 9/11 Justice. Something that has been denied to the families that lost someone that day, and to the people of the world.
In the weeks leading up to the action, several people warned me about what "might" happen to me. One person suggested that because of the Tucson shooter, they may "302" me (put me in a mental institution). Another warned that I had better be prepared to feel sniper lasers on me from those sitting atop the White House. As it turns out, none of that happened. However, I would like to thank those people for all of the unnecessary stress they caused me. :)
This morning, I met Erik Larsen at Cosi's, which is right next to the White House. Thankfully, he agreed to film my action. At around 9:45, we left Cosi's to go to Lafayette Park. I had already put one cuff on my wrist, and hid the other up my sleeve so the cops couldn't see it. It didn't matter as it turned out. Before the action, I decided to have a cigarette. One of the police rode their bike up to where we were sitting, and parked. He stood there for a minute or two, and then said, "are you Mr. Gold?" I responded, "Yes, that's me." He asked, "are you still planning on chaining yourself to the fence?" I said, "that is my intention." He said, "I wish you wouldn't." To me, it was clear intimidation, but lucky for me, I am one stubborn individual.
After the conversation with the police officer, I grabbed my sign, and walked to the White House fence. I walked back and forth for a little bit (something you are allowed to do on the White House sidewalk), and then I thought to myself, "now is as good a time as any," and pulled out the other cuff, and latched it onto the fence.
The police immediately took out their crime scene tape, and set up a perimeter. Here I was, all by myself, in the middle of a "crime scene." I have to admit, aside from the officer that tried to "intimidate" me, the other officers were extremely friendly. One walked up to me and asked me if I needed a pair of gloves. Another asked if the cuff around my wrist was too tight.
As I was at the fence, two plain clothes individuals walked up to me to ask a few questions. I thought they were from the media, but as it turns out, they were from the Secret Service. The agent asked for my number, my address, and what my intentions were. I said, "we were lied to about 9/11, and I'm trying to bring attention to that fact because the media isn't doing it." He again asked about my intentions, and in the back of my mind, it occurred to me that maybe he thought I was someone like the Tucson shooter. I said, "my intentions are what I told you. I am non-violent." He said, "that's all I wanted to know," and left.
It is policy for the police to give you a warning 3x before they arrest you. After the third warning, they took off the handcuffs I had on, and put on another pair. Again, a nice police officer used two sets of handcuffs because I am such a big guy. As they walked me off, I made sure to dedicate my arrest to the "Jersey Girls" (September Eleventh Advocates).
Getting in the back of the police car was an experience in and of itself. Apparently, they never expected to arrest a 6'2" 300+ lb individual with a size 16 shoe. I tried to get in the car, and my foot got stuck underneath the front seat. Finally, after squirming a bit, I managed to lay down in the back so they could close the door. Then, we drove off to the processing center.
I am amazed at how quickly they let me go. From the time I was put in the car, until the time I was processed, it took no longer than 45 minutes. Compared to my last experience which was 53 hours in jail, this was a breeze.
I am sorry to say that only one other person besides Erik and myself showed up. One of the reasons I chose to do this action was to hopefully show people who care about 9/11 Justice that we need to take it to the next level. That we can't sit on websites arguing about whose theory is right or wrong until this issue disappears into the ether. We are coming up on 10 years since that horrible event happened, and we need to do everything we can to make sure justice is served.
My sincerest thanks to Erik for coming to film today, and to the multitude of people that supported me from afar. Thank you.