By TOM HONIG
I'm afraid that the "Occupy" movement is not going to end well.
Various movements around the country -- including the local one here in Santa Cruz -- are becoming beset with problems. A fight here, a petty theft there, a confrontation or two and accusations of health and safety violations.
Some of the occupiers are holding fast to the movement, saying that any transgressions are merely the work of a few bad apples. Unfortunately, it's the bad apples who latch on to movements like this -- and that's why even the most sincere of public movements devolve into civil tensions and general chaos.
Supporters, of course, will remind the rest of us that the problems are caused by a minority. But just like the rest of us, "Occupy" campers are judged by the worst among them. Come to think of it, the same can be said of Wall Street bankers. All those problems that led to the banking crisis of 2008 were caused by a minority of greedy high-fliers whose bad decisions almost brought down our economy.
It's always the minority of bad actors that do us in. It's just a fact of life that all of us are judged by the worst of what we do and by the worst of those we associate with.
Occupiers say that they represent "the 99 percent." That was probably true originally, but too many camps across the country are starting to try the patience of those nearby. Here in Santa Cruz, a permanent encampment is not going to be acceptable to a majoritiy of Santa Cruzans. Sanitation problems are getting worse. So is evidence of drug use and an assault here and there.
A small group of campers marched on City Hall Monday, but they didn't pick up much support along the way. Mayor Ryan Coonerty represented the feelings of many Santa Cruzans this week when he told the occupiers: "I'm sympathetic with the protest and the issues they're trying to raise, but we also have to maintain public health and safety."
He's right -- but his words aren't going to go over well with at least some of the campers. Eventually, the camp will have to be evacuated. Some occupiers aren't going to give up their campsite willingly.
I'm afraid it's not going to end well.