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Columbia Controversy

If you have been living in cave this week – you probably don’t know about the circus surrounding Columbia. Yesterday, the President of Iran spoke on Columbia’s campus. He was invited by the School of International and Public Affairs to speak at the World Leader’s forum.

Well, Columbia’s campus turned into a circus with protesters, for and against him speaking, and every media outlet imaginable. Bill was right in the middle of it! Catching all the action – see the new pictures. So, we have a guest blogger, Bill to tell his story…

Whether or not you believe he should have been allowed to speak it was most interesting to be in the middle of it all. I walked up to the main campus about 2 hours before he was scheduled to speak. I first walked around where the majority of the protesters were. They were mostly just yelling back and forth at each other… but it did remain peaceful. Of course security was very heavy. NYPD and Secret Service were all around. So I took a picture of 2 secret service agents. The picture didn’t look as good as I wanted, so I took another… bad idea. I then saw one agent mouth to the other “what is he taking a picture of?” Then they continued to watch me very closely, so I thought it was in my best interest to leave that area before I was taken in for questioning. I headed down the block and found “media row.” There were about 20 cameras setup all doing live coverage.

I decided to hang around where the cameras were because they usually know where the action is going to be. While I was waiting I called my dad because he was watching on TV and was able to keep me updated about when the president was headed my way. During one conversation with me, he says “I see you on TV right now.” I was in the background of an interview that was being done on MSNBC.

When he was about to arrive the police made me and several others move down the street… they made it so no one was even able to see the president getting out of his motorcade. However I knew he was getting close when a NYPD helicopter began circling the area, snipers appeared on several rooftops, and heavily armed officers took positions around the building where he was to speak.  All I was able to see when he arrived was the NYPD motorcycles that were at the very front of the motorcade.

While he was speaking I tried to figure out which way the motorcade when go when it left. I had to wait about 2 hours but I picked the perfect spot. He left very quickly, of course, but I was right on the corner of the street where he passed. I was literally 20 feet from his car.  That was the event from my perspective in a nutshell. Scroll down and you can see pictures from the day. They are NOT in order, but you can still get a good idea of what it was like here.

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2 Responses to “Columbia Controversy”

  1. Gayle says:

    As a young boy, Bill always had a sense of adventure. I remember driving in the car and if an ambulance passed us he would always want to follow it. I also remember the day President Bush came to Chattanooga, Bill wiggled his way up to the rope so that he would be close by when President Bush walked by. When I heard he was in the middle of the protestors on Columbia’s campus, I was not at all surprised. I was at work and big Bill called to tell me that Bill was taking pictures of the secret service men. My first thoughts were that they would take him away for questioning…wouldn’t that have been funny! So many experiences you are having…so much fun. I love the blog…it’s so entertaining~

  2. Julie says:

    Did you feel like you were in the middle of an episode of Alias? You need to enter the picture of the Jewish priests in some kind of contest. That was an awesome picture!