By Josh Richman
Thursday, March 6th, 2008 at 1:30 pm in Berkeley.
Melanie Morgan — the just-laid-off conservative radio talk-show host and chairwoman of the grassroots conservative group Move America Forward — will be spending today at Berkeley’s U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue and Mayor Tom Bates‘ office, demanding that this recruiting office be protected in the wake of another’s bombing early this morning in New York City’s Times Square.
“Mayor Bates and the Berkeley City Council called upon citizens to impede the work of military recruiters in conjunction with CodePink. Now we see that violence is a part of the effort by some to shut down military recruiting centers,” Morgan said in a news release. “Mayor Bates, you share plenty of blame for the escalation of hostility towards our military men and women and it’s time for you to stand up, apologize for your action, and call upon all citizens to stand in support of the work of military recruiters. These people are our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and they deserve better treatment from people like you.”
Nobody was hurt in the 3:45 a.m. EST bombing in New York, but the Associated Press reports “(t)he blast left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening its metal frame.” The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all use that office as a recruiting station, AP says, and “(f)or a half century, the station was the armed forces’ busiest recruiting center. It has set national records for enlistment, averaging about 10,000 volunteers a year.”
Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CodePINK — which has helped spearhead months of protest outside Berkeley’s Marine recruiting station and helped convince Berkeley City Council to talk smack about the recruiters as well — told me just now that her organization is entirely nonviolent; “condemns any kind of violence including what happened at the recruiting station in New York;” and finds Morgan’s demands “ridiculous.”
“We’ve been protesting outside that Marine recruiting station every day since September and there’s never been an incident. The most dangerous it gets is if someone falls over during our free yoga class,” Benjamin said. “It’s as peaceful as Berkeley can be and there’s no need for extra protection.”
Anyone could’ve bombed the New York site for any reason, she noted. “We may never know, but just because there’s one incident at one recruiting station out of the many thousands that there are all over the counttry doesn’t mean there’s any danger to Berkeley.”
“Melanie Morgan, now that she doesn’t have her talk show, should take up something useful like knitting,” Benjamin jabbed, rather than “trying to use this as a way to stir up more division in Berkeley.”
UPDATE @ 9:43 A.M. WEDNESDAY 3/12: Berkeley’s Police Review Commission will hold a hearing at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, March 13, in the North Berkeley Senior Center at 1901 Hearst Ave. on Berkeley Police officers’ treatment of antiwar protestors outside the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office on Shattuck Avenue. More info, with videos, here.