"IF you tell me..." the crowd repeated the words.
"...that you're going to do something..." the people reiterated.
"...that will hurt someone or damage something..."
...to report it." the crowd said the last phrase with uncertain sobriety. The lawyer went on,
"But IF you tell me about something you've ALREADY done..." the crowd responded with growing vigor.
After the legal council portion of the program, the leaders of the rally moved onto some other business. I circled back to the outskirts of the crowd, trailing the lawyer. I caught his attention and had an opportunity to speak with him one-on-one.
"The National Lawyers’ Guild has been representing protesters for a long time. We were there for desegregation. We were there when they marched on Washington. We were there when the soldiers came back from Vietnam."
He began rolling a cigarette, wetting the paper with his lips as he continued.
"We've represented bombers and murderers. The thing is, once we've signed on as legal counsel, it doesn't matter what you've done. We're like doctors, or priests, you know?"
His eyes darted as his brow danced with excitement. It was clear that it was these juicy cases that made him excited to be a lawyer. I pressed him for more.
"So how do you deal with that conflict? If you know that someone has committed a crime, potentially killed someone, how does that affect you mentally?" He didn't answer that question directly.
"So I'm Irish, right? You know we've been trying to kill each other for decades. Now recently, we've had some peace, but a few years ago...Who's wrong or right in that situation? How do you answer that?" He took a long drag on his cigarette.
I wanted to continue our conversation, but a woman carrying a sign stepped in between us and began plying the lawyer with some magazine article that he had to read. I took this as my cue to exit, and returned to the rally.
If you want more information about what Occupy Chicago stands for, I encourage you to visit http://www.occupychi.org/. Even better, head down to Grant park, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway. According to their website, there is some type of event being held there most nights of the week.
Before you demonize an individual or group for their beliefs, seek to understand them. Stand face-to-face with them, and learn why they believe the things they do. Only then can we start finding a solution to the strife we face in the world.
These photos were taken the day after I attended the Occupy Chicago event. I had hoped to find the movement, but evidently they'd been removed or marched on to another part of the city by the time I made it back to the Native American monument. All that was left were a few signs, and some homeless people, trying to get some rest.