It seems that a couple of U-District neighborhood residents have taken matters into their own hands. The following story comes courtesy of The Stranger (Vol. 15 No. 46: Jul 27 – Aug 2, 2006).
UW Neighbors Rain on LaRouchies
by Sarah Mirk
On Friday, July 21, two recent University of Washington grads struck a blow on behalf of Seattle residents: They staged a water-balloon attack on two crews of those ubiquitous, aggressive Lyndon LaRouche campaigners.
Ashley Miller, 22, lives in an apartment above Bulldog News on University Way. Every weekend, volunteers for the LaRouche campaign set up tables along University Way. The LaRouche campaign is known for tying traditional left-wing rhetoric to psychedelic conspiracy theories involving Nazis, Dick Cheney, supertrains, and Satan. On Friday, the LaRouche folks had a table on two corners of the intersection at Northeast 42nd Street and University Way Northeast. “You couldn’t even cross the street to get away from them,” Miller says.
That evening, she and her friend Kevin Mock, 29, filled six water balloons and lobbed “warning shots” out the apartment window. One balloon hit a volunteer in the chest. Another exploded on a stack of pamphlets. Soon, the police showed up and the self-styled hooligans hightailed it out the apartment’s back entrance. After the police left, Miller and Mock returned and hurled six more balloons down at the LaRouchies. The campaigners left soon after that and have not returned since, Miller says.
The attacks were motivated by previous encounters with LaRouche campaigners and a desire to “give back to the community,” according to Mock. “When I was a freshman, I made the mistake of giving them my phone number,” says Miller. “They called me every other day for six months.” Miller has already stockpiled a stash of biodegradable balloons to leave no trace of their next attack.
I like this. This seems a little like the British pie in the face method to express displeasure with a public figure. Now, one can argue whether or not this is technically non-violent but I believe the most important point here is that it is both non-lethal and non-scarring. Even though many LaRouchies deserve a good bop on the head every now and again, I wouldn’t want them to be targets of actual, physical violence.
I can’t argue against their right to set up sidewalk tables and preach their point. In fact, I rather like to see people, even and especially extremists, handing out literature on street corners. I only have two complaints against the LaRouchies: first, they lack creativity and flair of the local counter-Illuminati and, secondly, they are rude, aggressive, and abrasive. I hate bullies.
This is the same reason that I both love and hate campus preachers, for example. I enjoy seeing their signs and am frequently entertained hearing the tone of their hellfire and damnation. But lately, they have gotten more nasty. It seemed, back in my days at Urbana-Champaign, that some quad preachers knew not to take themselves too seriously. However, in the extremely politically divisive atmosphere of the last few years, all of today’s quad preachers have gotten more militant. Thus, I have often wanted to smack some of them.
So this, then, seems like a more palatable way to express disagreement with a little more… zeal. Whether I would actually do this or not I’m not certain. However, looking at this from the receiver’s end, I would much rather get soaked with water balloons than, say, eggs and bottles and rocks — which is what gay pride supporters in Warsaw, Poland faced last year. Heck, for any subsequent outing, I’d make sure that I was packing some water armaments too.