Now Is the Wrong Time for Protests
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) December 20, 2014
It was Saturday night at the King of Prussia Mall and my 8-year-old son, David, wanted to see Santa. He took a picture with his mom’s iPhone of some toys he just saw and wanted to show Santa. Welcome to life in 2014.
We got to the Santa area in the middle of the mall and his helpers were putting up the velvet rope. “Santa has to take a quick break,” we were told. I pleaded and they allowed just one more. The velvet rope clipped on the pole and I was dad of the day.
As I stood waiting for my son’s turn with the big man, the helper confided in me that he needed to rush Santa out of there before the “Die-In.” A large group of people protesting the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were going to sprawl themselves like so many dead bodies next in the fake snow and next to the giant candy canes, in hopes of disrupting Christmas shopping and visits with Santa.
On cue a little girl cried at the news that she would not be able to talk to Santa. She was told that he needed to feed the reindeer. In truth, his security team had to whisk him away before the embarrassing photo op of Santa standing jolly amid the mock dead.
It was surreal until the anger set in. How dare they!
It wasn’t the interruption of Santa visits that bothered me, it was the horrible timing of the morbid protest.
This was hours after the news broke that two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were executed while sitting in their squad car on a Brooklyn street. Assassinated by a deranged career criminal who posted on social media that he was going to take out two cops in retaliation for Brown and Garner.
Either the protestors at the King of Prussia Mall were despicably callous or willfully ignorant of the day’s events. Either way, they should be embarrassed of calling attention to themselves, while two executed police officers were being identified at the morgue by family members.
Also, such protests are not permitted in the King of Prussia Mall. Local police and security allowed the unpermitted “die in” to take place. They too deserve some blame for allowing the sick protest to happen. I understand the sensitivity of the issue, but if there was ever a day to step in and say no, Saturday was the day.
Wenjian Liu was newly married. Rafael Ramos just celebrated his 40th birthday with his family. If you are going to remember two names this holiday, remember them.
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