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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Millions of dollars for military buildup: Not one cent for GPS.

"Did you drive around the block twice?" I asked.

"Yeah, we did. We stopped to ask them (the protestors) directions, but they weren't very nice."


Not so much GPS as just not reading the map...
To be fair...

If you don't know that particular street, the exit off the freeway (which is right next to the Federal Building) can be confusing. And these guys were up from Pendleton.

OTOH, I am just cynical enough to think that they were deliberately given wrong directions so that they would conveniently show up during the demonstration and then later be blamed for the 'unforunate incident.

Not to be too anti-cynical, but ... being in the military, I know we don't like to drive, deliberately or otherwise, into the middle of an anti-war protest. Certainly not in uniform, CERTAINLY not in a Stryker Combat Vehicle (note correct spelling).

Short of a practical joke, I can't imagine anyone wanting to do that deliberately.
Here's the thing:

The Federal Building is on the east side of the freeway. The VA grounds (where it seemed they were trying to get to) is on the west side.

If you accidentally exit going east (as these guys did), you *cannot* turn around before going past the Federal Building - it is right next to the freeway.

I guess my point is that because I know that area so well, I'm having a hard time with 'ha ha, lookit the dumb grunts who can't read a map.' It's a damn confusing offramp for anybody.

OTOH, I gotta wonder at whoever decided that was a good time to send those APCs out in the first place, since the Federal Building is a very well-known protest site.

And that's the thing that we seem to fight too much. When there's a perfectly logical explanation for what happened, the affirmative result of an Occam's Razor approach, we nonetheless have people glancing at us suspiciously. Did they mean to flaunt their military might at our peaceful protest? Is this a hint from the Man? What are they trying to say?

They sent the Strykers because the Strykers needed to be where they were going. They went at the time they went because that's when they, and the crews, were ready to go. The guys at Pendleton didn't think about the Federal Building because they're at Pendleton, and as much time as I've spent at Pendleton (and it's been a lot), I've never heard of protests at the Federal Building in LA, or any other Federal Building, for that matter.

A simple, if comically ironic mix-up does not warrant being blown out of proportion.
If they were ordered up by someone from WLA-VA, that person SHOULD have known what the situation might be.

I was shocked and saddened to see those pics of the APCs rolling down the streets of my city, but I also know the area well enough to not think that it is fair to necessarily blame the soldiers driving them.

I do blame the lack of a 'native guide' once they got up there to either guide them by an alternate route that would not run the risk of taking them past the Federal Building or simply have the APCs come up at another time other than when the protest was scheduled.
Which they might not have been. Any number of a zillion things could have gone wrong, balls dropped here or there through ordinary miscommunication.

As with the cries of "baby killer," it's the automatic attitude that the Man is there to Oppress You that puts off military personnel from most anti-war types.

Generally, we go out of our way to avoid such flaps, as I experienced once and saw often. It does no one any good.
*shakes head*

"We was lost."

Remember the movie "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! "?
Yes I do. I actually loved that movie. ;-D
This just gets more and more surreal. I live in L.A., and can honestly say I've never seen a tank cruising around trying to get its bearings...
If you'd just let them blow down a few of those big buildings, they could see which way the ocean was--
::laughing uncontrollably::

I just can't get over the idea of these guys not being able to understand why anti-war protestors wouldn't be nice to them in their armored tanks!
They were stuck at the light. Those lights take FOREVER to change (I worked right there and walked past the Federal Building every day for six years).

That being said, I still think those soldiers were set up to take the fall as 'those dumb grunts who can't read a map' by their superiors.

Blame whoever ordered those tanks out. Don't blame the poor guys who were ostenssibly just getting them in place for a Veterans' Day celebration.
I work near the Federal Building myself. It does sound like they circled the block, though, as well as being stuck at the light - and I can guarantee that anybody, anti-war protestor or not, would've done a double take to see tanks in Westwood. I don't think we've had tanks on L.A. streets since the riots back in '92...
Then you too have known the AGONY of waiting to cross Wilshire Blvd. :>

I remember lots of cop cars in Westwood during the riots, but never a tank or an APC.

I'm having a "Catch-22" moment

"Why did you go around twice?"

Re: I'm having a "Catch-22" moment

Because the way that the Federal Building there is cordoned off, once you realize you are going the wrong way, you practically DO have to go around the block twice to head the other direction.

Re: I'm having a "Catch-22" moment

I don't know if you recognized it, but that was a quote that the situation reminded me of, not a real question.
"Uh... Sarge? There's an awful lot of people in front of us."
"What the hell for? The parade's not until tomorrow!"

I feel sorry for those guys, that's not the sort of thing you want to just walk in to. I wonder how badly the other guys are harassing them about this one...