On Sept. 24, the first day of the G-20 summit, my son and his girlfriend left her apartment to view the proceedings of the police and the protesters on Baum Boulevard.
My son was an innocent bystander who was detained and then issued a summons arrest for violation of the "Failure to Disperse" section of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code (emphasis intended). On Oct. 21, he had a hearing at which he was told that if he completed 50 hours of community service within three months, his record would be expunged.
As I watched the proceedings on television on Sept. 24 (before I knew that my son had been swept up), I was struck by the two extremes represented at the event. On the one hand were the riot-geared police officers, anonymous and menacing. On the other hand protesters, also anonymous and menacing. In my view, the police represented our country's trend towards fascism and the protesters represented the forces of anarchism.
When a young man is not permitted to stand on a sidewalk and watch a gathering, civil rights have been violated. The rights of the people have been violated and very few have raised their voices in protest. We are a nation of people subtly (and not so subtly) influenced by fear. Fear has silenced us as we fail to notice the erosion of our civil rights.