St. Louis Cops Seize My Bullhorn

10680001_10152312299325974_4905973648299755724_o.jpgWe land in St. Louis, texting our Ferguson friends as we walk from the gate. And we went to the baggage claim, and the cops claimed my bag!
Of course it hadn't occurred to me, coming from the World Bank protest in DC, that my little duffel bag on wheels has what looks like a START-UP ACTIVIST KIT: a bullhorn, double AA batteries, elvis hair goop and make-up, "Tree Spiker" the memory by Earth First founder Mike Roselle, and spare clothes and Theo's seven ft. collapsible camera tripod.

We saw the cops and the sniffer-dog coming in and kept waiting for the old duffel to pop down the conveyor belt. Nothing. It gradually, very slowly, occurred to us, that my baggage would be inadmissible to this new nation state of Ferguson.
This is the bizarre police problem that we've been fighting in NYC for decades. THIS IS NOT A CULTURAL WAR THAT WE SHOULD BE FIGHTING AND ANYWAY YOU ARE POLICE AND THE CONSTITUTION IS YOUR SCRIPT. 

If I have a bullhorn in my luggage and that is a cultural signal to you that I might be capable of speaking to a gathering of citizens, exercising the most basic 1st Amendment right of expressive politics, that doesn't matter to you under the law. You do not have the right to declare Ferguson a 1st Amendment-free zone. You serve the United States Constitution, as do we all. You can determine very quickly that there is nothing illegal in my things, and let me do my work.
Anyway, I didn't come to Ferguson to preach. I came to learn. I preached yesterday in Wash DC against the World Bank, with the worldwide myriad of culture that cried to those bankers from the heart. What an amazing experience. I don't need a bullhorn to talk about it.