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Bloomberg and Occupy
To The Editor:
The Bloomberg administration shows its true disdain or disregard for the First Amendment by the hostile way it engages Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. (This seems to evince a pattern exhibited with the Republican National Convention demonstrators and the Critical Mass bike rides.)
The administration could find any number of public parcels in proximity to Wall Street — in spots that would not significantly disrupt life or business — and offer them to the Occupiers for overnight use. Encampments, a historic form of American protest, send a different message than do other types of protests, or place a distinct emphasis on a protest. The First Amendment is supposed to accommodate the full spectrum of political messages and peaceful protests.
The New York Police Department should show zero tolerance for continual drum-banging or other noise invading people’s premises or for other illegal activity within an encampment. But if demonstrators conduct themselves quietly and lawfully, the city that never sleeps should conduct itself according to the spirit — and many would argue the letter — of the nation’s highest law of the First Amendment, by accommodating a demonstration which never sleeps.
Alan J. Gerson
Gerson is a former council member who represented Lower Manhattan’s First District, and was a First Amendment free speech scholar at Columbia Law School
The truth about wabbits
To The Editor:
Re “Hoppy ending as Soho rabbit rustlers return boutique bunny” (news article, March 28):
After recognizing the thieves who stole the rabbit, named Miss Cooper, out of the Soho boutique window, a “good Samaritan” called a man who knew the rabbit-napers. They retrieved the rabbit that very evening since they felt it was important to get her back to her owner A.S.A.P.
On the way to bringing Miss Cooper to the Sixth Precinct, they passed a restaurant that was advertising its “rabbit special.” How ironic that so many factory-farmed rabbits end up as dinner while news outlets focused on the welfare of this one stolen rabbit.
Unfortunately, keeping Miss Cooper in the window might encourage people to buy a bunny. Many baby rabbits, chicks and ducks are sold on Easter. These frail babies, taken away from their mothers for the sake of profit, require very specific care in order to survive. These animals do not belong in the city and few survive.
Please, if you must have a rabbit, adopt it, as well as any pet, from a shelter or rescue organization. (Most pet rabbits end up in shelters and are euthanized.) If you really love animals, spay and neuter your pets — including rabbits — volunteer at a shelter, and if you can, foster a rabbit, cat or dog on death row. We have Animal Haven, a wonderful rescue shelter in Lower Manhattan: animalhavenshelter.org/site/PageServer.
And make sure that the products you buy are not tested on animals; many rabbits are used for this purpose. The choices we make create a big difference in the lives of animals.
For cruelty-free products, visit squidoo.com/crueltyfree and uncaged.co.uk/animaltesting.htm.
Artist better help animals
To The Editor:
Re “Sculptor dogged by a past act deserves forgiveness” (Talking Point, Feb. 29, 2012):
I would never purchase Tom Otterness’s art, and I would oppose it being installed in any public place in New York City. He should make a very large donation to a New York City animal rescue group.