September 15, 2018
Freeway blogging is alive and well in Davis, California!
Last year on 9/11 I went freeway blogging in Davis. I had contacted the CHP a few days in advance to let them know the date, time, place and nature of my event. It was, as before, a peaceful demonstration protected by the California Constitution and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (freedom of speech). Part of that request was for CHP to notify its officers who were going to be in their cars on 9/11/2017 that I would be up there, so that they would expect it. Unfortunately that message was never communicated to the officers. As a result a CHP officer drove by on I-80, saw my banner, came up to the overpass and took it down. We had a prolonged conversation during which he made a number of phone calls to the office to talk to his boss. Ultimately he did not give in. He claimed that the banner was attached to the overpass and shut down my peaceful demonstration.
Shortly after that I had a meeting with the CHP captain at the time, Capt. King, in his office. I took my banner and one of the wood poles I use to support it. We talked about everything. I told him I am and have always been committed to safety, and that we have never had any accidents related to freeway blogging. He agreed in principle to allow me to do my freeway blogging as I had done before and as I wanted to. Because it is too noisy, I do not stand on the overpass with the banner. I place it in place and go to the end of the overpass where I sit in my camping chair and watch it. It’s much quieter.
My intention was to do another peaceful demonstration shortly after that to put our agreement in place. Actually it was a renewal of the agreement I had made with Capt. Iketani back in February, 2010, which we had used every time I had gone freeway blogging since then. (See the video of the April, 2010 event for that story.) However I did not do that until August 31, when I went freeway blogging with a friend of mine. This time when I called the office to notify them I found out that there is a new captain, Capt. Thien. Capt. King had been promoted and moved to another office. Anyway Capt. Thien returned my call and was friendly and supportive from the get go. I explained the situation to him, what I wanted to do and how. We had a discussion about attaching the banner to the fence. Ultimately he promised me that he would fully notify the system (911 dispatcher, CHP officers in cars and the Davis P.D.) about the date, time and place of my event, as I asked. That was, again, so that they would expect it and not consider it an emergency when drivers call 911 because they see a banner. Capt. Thien did not make any promises about what CHP officers would say about the banner and attachment, if any, to the fence. He said that would be up to them. I was fine with that.
The August 31, 2018 freeway blog went off perfectly. My friend and I had our camping chairs, shade, a beautiful sunny day, water, and some food. Thousands of cars went by in the 4 + hours we had the banner up, showing them the side that says, “INVESTIGATE 9/11”. No police (CHP or Davis) showed up although I am sure dozens of them drove past the overpass during that time.
For another run in preparation for 9/11/2018 I went freeway blogging again on Sunday September 9, with another friend who was a newbie to this sport. We had a great time. This time the banner was up for about five hours. We had a great time talking. Again we had camping chairs, shade (after about 1:30), food and water.
The anniversary of 9/11 came up on Tuesday, 9/11/2018. That day I held my peaceful demonstration solo because none of my freeway blogging allies were able to join me. Again I had notified CHP in advance. Capt. Thien was already expecting it and had notified his officers and the rest of the system by the time I called him on Monday afternoon. Once again the event went off very well. I got started before 2:30 (had been working on the other Crusade earlier that day) and kept it up until just before 5:30, when a gust of wind took it down. Thousands of drivers drove by. Two people, a punk high school kid and a 60-ish guy on a bicycle, knocked the banner down at different times. Both times I immediately put the banner back up. That punk kid had knocked it down on August 31 as well. I recognize him now. Next time I will try and take a picture of him.
There were hundreds of people who rode their bikes or walked or jogged across the overpass on each of these three days. They all could not miss the banner, which is 4′ high by 20′ wide. They all read it. A couple of people offered encouragement including one bicyclist who said as he rode by, “You speak the truth”. Another person said, “Thank you for your sign.” On 9/11 a couple of boys who appeared to be about 8th or 9th grade stopped and asked me why I believe what it says on the banner. They had seen the blue side, which says, “9/11 was Created by U.S. Gov to Manipulate U.S. into War”. We had a brief discussion and I told them about Building 7. They said their teacher had shown them videos of the Twin Towers coming down but not of the collapse of Building 7. One boy asked if such videos are on youTube and I said yes. I believe they looked up Building 7 collapse videos, probably before they got home. That conversation was satisfying and made the whole day worth it. But there were thousands of drivers too. Overall I feel confident after these three peaceful demonstrations that I have the full cooperation and support of law enforcement. That is a good feeling. To set up the 9/11 event with two test runs and to have all three of them go successfully was satisfying.
Now I am working on another banner which will be about the health hazards of long term exposure to electromagnetic radiation, in particular from wifi in schools.
If you are interested in any of this or have questions about how to set up your own peaceful demonstration / freeway blogging event feel free to contact me at Mark (ignore this) at (this too) freewayblogging dot (this too) com.