Every Friday evening in Bandon at the intersection of Hwy 101 and 42S dozens of citizens exercise their 1st Amendment rights. For over two years I have participated, first with Women In Black (WIB) which hold a silent vigil on the southeast corner. More recently I have stood with Veterans For Peace (VFP) on the northwest corner where I often hold a sign which reads, “Refuse to fight a war begun by men who refused to fight a war”.
On the southwest corner stand the ‘flag wavers’ as we refer to them. They are the ‘support the troops AND the mission” crowd and the stand as a counter to WIB and VFP. On occasion these Friday rituals have turned confrontational These last two weeks have seen an escalation of the bad feeling between the groups and last Friday, a woman driving a white SUV drove recklessly onto the lawn between a parking lot and the sidewalk. She jumped out of her vehicle and tried to wrestle a flag held by one of our group away from her.
While we regularly endure taunts such as the one here when the atmosphere becomes violent it is time to call in the police. 911 was called and it was twenty minutes before an officer responded even though one Bandon PD vehicle drove past and two Coos County Sheriffs drove past. Members from our side intervened and removed the assailants hands from the flag. The flag wavers ran across the street to protest our members telling her to leave telling our male members they shouldn’t being yelling at a woman. Throughout all this a passenger in the SUV was video taping the entire event.
This matter will be going to court as the Bandon PD have stated that they will be citing the woman seen in this photo from the previous week. Tempers are flaring as the occupation of Iraq drags on and on and people like these appear to be deliberately trying to incite a riot.