COMMENTARY: Casting Stones At Wall Street

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“Then shalt thou bring forth that man or woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die” (Deuteronomy 17:5).

Granted, casting stones at someone for a wrongful act is a primitive form of punishment, even if condoned in the Bible.

In reality, though, a situation could arise where casting stones would prove beneficial.

Scenario: A deranged gunman is chasing you.

You are about 30 seconds ahead of him, and you know he’ll kill you if he catches up.

You come to a “wall.”

If you can find a way to break through this wall, it will allow you to evade your would-be assassin.  

There’s a large pile of stones/rocks nearby, and you quickly pick up as many stones as possible, hurl them against the wall, and form a breach in the wall large enough that allows you to escape to the other side and live another day.

By now, most are aware of  “Occupy Wall Street,” which has captured our nation’s attention, as well as putting the same nation on edge.

As best research can discover, the Occupy Wall Street concept was conceived in mid-July 2011, when a “hacktivist” with the anti-consumerist magazine “Adbusters” began reaching out to Americans to band together in an effort to protest corporate influence on democracy and the lack of legal repercussions behind the current “global financial crisis.”

Indeed, Occupy Wall Street grew from concept to stark reality on Oct. 1: “In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon,” wrote the “New York Times.”

Since that  incident at the Brooklyn Bridge – via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, cell phone, etc. – Occupy Wall Street has spread with near-mercurial rapidity and appears to be gaining  a huge number of new followers, thus more strength, with each passing day. (It reminds me of how “Gay Pride Day” took off like a rocket back in September-October 2010.)

While groups of demonstrators have staged protests in major cities all across America (even at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville), the core group of protesters, strategically, are camped out all across New York City, home to Wall Street.

One television news anchorman compared it to “Woodstock.”

Reportedly, Occupy Wall Street has issued “13 demands,” dealing with everything from jobs, wages, and healthcare to immigration, racial equality, forgiving debts, etc.

While some of these demands (if they actually exist) make good sense, others appear to be not well-thought-out.

As I mentioned to a colleague, numbers equate “power,” which can evolve into a “movement,” which can be deemed by some as a legitimate “threat.”

With the Occupy Wall Street movement you have this: concerned, well-intended citizens who are fed up and, simply, want our government to do be held accountable; mixed with rabble-rousers whose main purpose in life is to party and raise as much as hell as possible with everyone about everything; topped off by fork-tongued politicians and media outlets seeking reelection and a boost in ratings and sales, respectively.

Where, exactly, do authorities draw the line that separates the Constitutional right for citizens to assemble in public and speak freely versus maintaining national security?

Tough question, no perfect answer.

Drawing from the dramatized scenario a few paragraphs above, maybe it’s time for many Americans – metaphorically speaking – to cast many stones at the WALL that, for years, has shielded Wall Street, its dubious players, and their shenanigans.

If enough people throw enough stones, something will give, one way or the other.

It’s the “numbers” that count.

(NOTE: Though I can’t say so with official certainty, I wager that a large number of “actual stones” have been physically thrown at whomever and whatever since Occupy Wall Street came to be.)

Mike Vinson can be contacted at

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