Were Cops Wrong to Arrest Veterans for Violating Curfew at Vietnam War Memorial?
A group of veterans from the war in Vietnam were arrested in New York yesterday. Their crime? The cops would tell you it was a case of violating the 10 p.m. curfew at the New York Vietnam War Memorial. Police state the men ignored the repeated warnings that preceded their arrest.
But it's slightly more complex than that. The vets, who were arrested while reading out the names of their dead comrades, had arranged this vigil as part of a peaceful protest against the War in Afghanistan, now entering its 12th year. They did the same thing last year -- with similar results.
On the one hand, I understand where the police were coming from. Though ultimately, I think they were out of line. Obviously they were just eager to get these protesters out of the way and used the closing of the memorial as an excuse to arrest the men.
If the most harm the vets were doing was reading a list of people who died serving their country, arresting them seems excessive. Tensions had to have been running high for the police officers, who must have taken the protest against the war in Afghanistan as being un-American. But if the ones protesting are men who have also fought proudly for their country, shouldn't they be among the first we listen to when they speak out?
Do you think the cops were wrong to arrest the veterans?