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We are calling on the officials of the City of Tampa to deescalate the militaristic buildup being outlined in the Green Zone Ordinance.
The American government too often addresses concerns, situations and conflicts of any scale with a great use of force. Whether it’s a dictator who is given 24 hours to leave his country or sending in a swat team to serve a warrant, elected officials and authorities we place in power use force first; diplomacy if used at all often comes in second.
Instead of using the leadership and diplomacy officials are elected to carry out, we find premature escalation. Situations are escalated before exhausting other means that may not only deescalate the situation, but could attempt to address the root issues and perhaps evolve our discourse towards a workable solution.
This use of premature escalation finds its way into local governments no different from the military following orders from the federal government. And after a decade of sustained war the use of a Green Zone, found in the militarized war zones of countries we invade, has found its way into the everyday life of the American Citizen.
Why do we find our elected officials exploring the use of tactics only found in countries with despotic governments and war zones? Why has not one of them come forward to deescalate the situation? Where are our leaders? We know he was not found at Curtis Hixon park spouting words of Martin Luther King Jr. while pushing an ordinance that strikes at the heart of what King died for.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) wrote a very thorough letter urging Tampa’s City Council to reconsider the way in which it proposed sacrificing freedom for security, which has actually been the proven cause of the majority of conflict at National Special Security Events such as the Republican National Convention. It was misquoted by Council Member Cohen claiming the NLG called the local government “ill‐informed.” It actually stated that it hoped Tampa would not follow the ill‐informed past local governments who pass similar legislation: “In case after case, the NLG has documented problems resulting from aggressive policing, supported by ill‐informed local governments, of peaceful mass assemblies.” We urge Tampa City Council to reread the NLG’s letter and see it for what it is, an attempt to have the City of Tampa write this ordinance correctly. And be reminded that the NLG has successfully sued many of the past local governments over crimes they committed at these National Special Security Events.
In a country that claims to be democratic and touts freedom and the protection of its people, still no one has come out to deescalate the situation. Why is this? The draft ordinance, written to establish a Green Zone in a democratic city, fosters violence against its people. It escalates the situation months before the event itself.
And the duty we have as free people, is to match the level of escalation of our government (not initiate it). Let us be clear, as has been widely documented at all the previous National Special Security Events: The people do not initiate the escalation of the situation. They match it. We cannot and will not back down from assaults on our fundamental rights.
We urge at least one of our elected officials to come to their senses and deescalate this situation. Rewrite this ordinance to be one that is a beacon of democracy and used as a new model in National Special Security Events planning, as opposed to the Miami Model, a model synonymous with Police State.
What will the Tampa Model be described as in September?
We urge you to deescalate.