Sunday, June 26, 2005

An interesting evening in Portsmouth

Last night, my brother and I were finishing the last of the evening's strike activities from the Rally for Social Justice. We'd parked the rented truck downtown and were heading up High Street to pick up a lock at the 24-hour Walgreens. As we were heading out of Olde Towne, I noticed a large, black SUV -- complete with tinted windows -- in front of us. For some reason it looked out of place. Perhaps it was the Michigan license plate. Perhaps it was the high gloss. Perhaps it was the window sticker proclaiming a website for the National Socialist Movement. Er, make that three window stickers.

We traveled, light to light, down High Street bit. The two young guys I could see sitting up front didn't look all that different from us, as a matter of fact. Younger, for sure, but beyond that, nothing. I did notice they were focused straight ahead, not looking around at all.

Phil made an utterance about why they'd be in Portsmouth since they were likely staying on the Peninsula following the day's activities. He also thought perhaps they were attempting to find my house to deliver some sort of message; afterall, one of their midst had, several months ago, posted my name, address, and phone number on several internet sites in an attempt to intimidate me away from working on the Rally for Social Justice, a creative, non-confrontational response to the tactics of the neo-Nazi movement. The Rally's focus on the values of diversity, tolerance, non-violence, and social justice -- for all -- and our belief in creating an alternative to their First amendment gatherings rather than directly confrontation (why is it we have a belief here in America that in order to oppose something one needs to directly confront it or ignore it; there seems to be little room for other responses) seem to, at the least, confuse some people. Anyway, he figured they were up to no good.

I figured they'd come to Portsmouth to partake in some fine German food at our renowned Bier Garden. Good German food (for those that like German food) and a huge selection of beers, the Bier Garden is a gathering place for all Portsmouthians and friends from out-of-town.

Well, I think I was more right than Phil. Seems they were here in beautiful Portsmouth to find dinner. I'm not sure if they started out headed for the Bier Garden, but evidently a contingent of neo-Nazis ended up at Wendy's on Airline Avenue and then the Ruby Tuesdays over at the old Tower Mall site.

I'm thinking for that kind of food, they couldn't have found something closer to their hotel on the Peninsula? Or, perhaps they choose Portsmouth to make a statement. I'm thinking they realized that we were a fairly diverse town... and they wanted to experience that diversity. Note: if I'm not mistaken, Portsmouth has the highest percentage of non-whites of any city or county in southeastern Virginia.

Anyway, the police blotter reports they found some food. As to the fine and wide selection of beer... well, that they missed.

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