As a person of faith, I believe in the power of nonviolent protest for social change. As a citizen, I believe in the right to peaceful demonstrations.
I was therefore disheartened to learn that the Vancouver Police and the Clark County Sheriff's departments recently responded to a peaceful demonstration with more than 25 squad cars and apparent readiness for tactical action.
When members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union arrived outside the hotel that houses non-union replacement workers hired during a lockout, they arrived with nothing but their picket signs and their right to free speech.
While United Grain Corporation has an enormous amount of money and power at its disposal in imposing the lockout, these workers depend upon their public voice.
In addition to being a waste of taxpayer money, such a gross over-reaction by the police and sheriff's department does not make me feel more safe.
It makes me feel less safe.
It makes me feel like I do not live in a place that cherishes freedom as I do.
When there are peaceful demonstrations in the future, let the response be proportional to the event and let it contribute to our community's sense of well-being.