I went to school in New York and I’m 53 years old. I was in Des Moines for about 5 years. So 48 years in New York. I was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York. I grew up in Ossining, New York, where I live now. I’ve lived in Manhattan. I’ve lived in Cold Spring, New York. I’ve lived in Des Moines, Iowa, and now I’m back in Ossining. Ossining is 30 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. It’s a community of about 40,000 people. It’s the home of Sing Sing prison. And it’s the home of the Maryknoll Seminary. So we’ve got the highest and we’ve got the lowest.

I’d like to see our government making decisions based on what’s best for our society; not based on what’s best for the richest 1%.

Well I have, really, two jobs. I’m a freelance editor and writer and I’m also a firefighter. I’m an officer on engine 97 in Ossining, New York. Being a firefighter is one of the most rewarding occupations there is, I would think. Saving people’s lives. Helping people. You can’t do anything that you’d be more proud of, I don’t think. We do works in the schools and the community. It’s a great way of life. Good bunch of guys. Everybody’s got everybody’s back.

I’ve been involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement since probably around the first week of October. I saw what happened on Wednesday morning, early Wednesday morning, and was kind of upset by that. I came down on Wednesday. My son got mad that I came down without him, but I told him if he helped me rake the leaves over the weekend we’d come down on Sunday… but as far as why I’m here, it’s more about economic injustice, and how big money has so much influence on politics today that political decisions and laws that are made are hurting the average Americans like myself.

I’ll give you a good example: the truck that we have is 21 years old. We’ve been trying to get funding for it for three or four years. Every year it’s denied in the budget. Prior to that, in Ossining, prior to this economic crisis, if there as a need for a new fire engine, you do due diligence and you show why you need it, and you show the wear and tear, and you get a new fire engine. I’m on a crew with guys that I love, and I don’t want to see them fail in their duties or get hurt because the equipment that we have is out of date. And I can’t blame the local officials. They’re just going with what money they have available and how they’re going to distribute it in the yearly budget. But this economic crisis has trickled down to local governments. They don’t have any money either. People can’t pay their taxes. There’s no money flowing through. It’s all going to the 1%. There’s plenty of money in America. It’s all with the 1%.

One of the most important things that can come out of this is that peoples eyes start to open to the issues. I’ll say it myself. I wasn’t aware of all of the stuff that was going on. I thought that the government was doing the right thing by bailing out the banks. But if you really look at what was going on, the fraud that was going on, the criminal activity on Wall Street… I think if more people’s eyes are open to what the real issues are and what’s actually going on, then demonstrations like this helps opens people’s eyes. People like yourself, trying to get the word out, trying to show that, “Here’s a guy who will enter your house if it’s burning and try to save your life. I support this.” It’s not just a bunch of dirty, uneducated kids that are doing this. These are real issues that we all need to wake up to.

Just look at the other day. Fox News and even the more moderate news agencies were saying that Occupy Wall Street was dead. The mayor of New York said is was a faltering movement. And then all of a sudden, on the street in New York on Thursday night, 32,000 people are marching. It wakes people up.

Today, it’s great. I went over to one of the think tank meetings this morning. We were sharing ideas, open discourse, everybody’s ideas were heard, everybody’s ideas were accepted. Who knows what will come of it, but everybody was heard. The other day I was here though. Wednesday after the raid. There were policemen lined up all around us, the perimeter of the park, with riot helmets on, riot gear on. It looked like storm troopers for the empire on Star Wars. It was terrible. It made me sick that this is what our country has come to. That people exercising their rights of free speech, the freedom to assembly, are just pushed out by these storm troopers. And these New York City policemen, they’re union guys. They’re pensions are being raided just like the rest of us. They need to understand that we’re on their side. So that was a sick feeling that day. Today, being a part of this, seeing that it’s not over… it’s not over. It’s still going. It’s going to keep going. This movement is unstoppable.

I would like to be able to not have to take money from my 401k to pay my mortgage. I’d like to do that. I would like to be able to educate my children. Send them to college like my parents did for me. I would like to see that people at the bottom of the rung, the poor, are fed and have places to stay. I’d like to see our government making decisions based on what’s best for our society; not based on what’s best for the richest 1%. That’s what I’d like to see.

My name is Chris.


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