I was headed for Cohn’s to pick up a snack when I ran into the protests that blocked traffic on University Avenue. Here I saw one of the more disturbing sights of my life: The protestors were blocking the hospital’s employee shuttle, while screaming “We won’t move!” squarely at the driver as he was gently and patiently trying to navigate the crowd. After at least ten minutes (the vehicle was there when I arrived), the shuttle was forced to turn around.
From what I saw, the shuttle was empty at that moment; but that ought not distract from the broader issue, namely that the protestors blocked a vehicle designed to transport the very people who work so hard aid the infirm, society’s most helpless.
Beyond the symbolism of blocking the shuttle, it does not matter that it was empty at that time. The hospital shuttles utilize University Avenue, meaning that protestors caused unnecessary delays throughout the evening, delays that can have severe consequences in medicine. Moreover as the hospital operates around the clock, the shuttle may well have been on its way to pick up employees who were left waiting in the cold because they lacked other transportation. Regardless, the protestors affected hospital transportations, staff and patients negatively, a morally unconscionable act.
At its core, the blocking of the hospital vehicle speaks to the questionable judgment and dubious reasoning of the protestors. Their judgment is called into question in that they made the decision that nurses, janitors and orderlies—those most likely to utilize the shuttle—are the ones who were to pay for whatever transpired outside of Trinity Wednesday night.
Those who take the shuttle do so to care for patients who cannot care for themselves. The protestors reasoning is dubious in that while they chanted “Black Lives Matter”, they neglected that the actual lives of black employees and patients had most likely been adversely affected or endangered by the actions of the self-absorbed and tunnel visioned protesters.
Apparently their exhibitionist activism, for it is little more since there was no need to cut off traffic to broadcast their message, is more important than the real suffering it causes. Instead of peacefully marching on the sidewalk and chanting their message protesters chose another, more obstructive path that was superfluous, detrimental to their own interests and morally reprehensible.
I am strictly focused on the protests at University Avenue on Thursday night. This is not a commentary on what actually happened outside of Trinity on Wednesday. I was not at Trinity and I will wait until all the facts come out until I render a verdict, as should all in a nation of laws. But whatever moral authority these protestors may have claimed evaporated when they stopped the hospital vehicle. They can attempt to spin it to try and portray it as something different than it was and offer words of contrition. Spinning is bound to fail as multiple witnesses saw what happened and apologies are irrelevant at this point; the protesters actions, and their disregard for human life and general decency cannot be undone or forgiven as the choice to block the hospital vehicle speaks to the very core of the protest movement. The protestors who participated in the blockade lost all my respect that night, they do not deserve yours either.
By Will Montgomery, Staff Writer