It was noontime on the State University campus, and in the quad demonstrators were marching. Today it was the turn of the Womyn's Pacifist Conference. The WPC had a card table set up to hold literature, and maybe a dozen women were parading with signs that said such things as "Might is Never Right", "Stop the Bombing", and "Negotiate, Don't Militate". A middle-aged campus cop placidly watched, but most of the students ignored the whole thing.
A van drove onto the quad and parked close to the WPC's table. On the van's door was the university seal and the words, 'School of Broadcast Journalism'. Two young men left the van and came over to the table. One was carrying a wireless microphone and the other had a video camera on his shoulder.
The man with the microphone looked into the camera and said, "Hi. This is Jeff Muldar of the Campus News Network. Today we're at a demonstration sponsored by a pacifist organization."
He moved next to the young woman sitting behind the table and motioned for her to stand up. He read her name tag and said "Tiffany, Could we ask you what your organization stands for?"
Tiffany answered, "Certainly. We believe that violence is never justified. If everyone renounced the use of force all of the horrors of today's world would go away."
The other demonstrators had crowded in behind the table when they saw the TV camera and they nodded their agreement.
Jeff asked, "So you believe that using force is never allowable? There must be exceptions to that. What about self-defense?"
"We are persons of principle, and our principle is to never use force. Besides, studies have shown that resisting an attack is more likely to result in injury."
"Perhaps we could try an experiment to see how much you are willing to follow that principle in your own life."
Jeff indicated two figures wearing burquas; the black, all-covering garment worn by women in some Middle Eastern countries. "These are my assistants, Jasmine and Fatima." He smiled at the names; Jasmine had blue eyes and blonde eyebrows visible through the eyehole of the veil.
"They are going to attempt to make you their prisoner, but they will stop anytime you use the smallest amount of force to resist. Do you want to try this?"
"Yes. I live my life by my principles."
Jasime was carrying a plastic bag with 'Home Depot' printed on it and she removed two nylon cable ties from the bag. Fatima held Tiffany's wrists crossed behind her back and Jasmine fastened them in place with the ties. Tiffany winced as the ties were zipped tight, but she made no protest. Next, Jasmine took a roll of wide plastic tape from the bag and used pieces to seal Tiffany's mouth shut. Tiffany didn't resist. Finally, a strip of cloth was wrapped around her head as a blindfold. Tiffany docilely allowed Jasmine and Fatima to guide her to the van and help her inside.
Jeff said, "Well, Tiffany certainly lives by her beliefs." He chose another woman, "How about you, Steffi?"
Steffi was just as cooperative as Tiffany and soon she too was in the van.
The next woman was not so obliging. Jeff asked, "You next, Sue?"
"No way. I was arrested at an anti-WTO demonstration once and the cops used plastic handcuffs on me, and it doesn't take long before they hurt."
"So you're not really a pacifist, you're a demonstration junkie."
"I just think that the demonstration process is more important than the details of the cause."
Perhaps Sue's information acted to inhibit their enthusiasm, but the other women Jeff asked wouldn't cooperate either.
Finally Jeff interviewed the remaining demonstrator, who had hid herself at the back of the crowd. "Well, Mary, do you want to demonstrate the firmness of your pacifist convictions?"
Mary wasn't really a pacifist; she was a painfully shy freshman who had joined the group because she hoped to make friends. So far that hadn't happened, but she decided that if she showed solidarity with Tiffany and Steffi they would notice her.
She gulped and said, "Yes. I live my life by my principles."
Mary regretted her decision as soon as her wrists were immobile behind her back; Sue was right, this did hurt. A lot. Her mouth was sealed and she was blindfolded. While she was being helped into the van she bumped her head on the door and the blindfold slipped.
Mary had expected to see Tiffany and Steffi sitting on the floor of the van, and she was shocked to see them face-down with their ankles attached to their wrists by cable ties that were cutting into their skin. She struggled desperately, but Jasmine and Fatima were surprisingly strong for women and they easily lifted her into the van and hogtied her.
The van door was closed from the inside and Jeff and the cameraman got in the cab and drove off.
The campus cop saw his sergeant watching the van and said, "Hi, Sarge."
"Hi, Fred. What was that van doing here?"
"Just some students taping the demonstration."
"How long have you worked here, Fred?"
"Sixteen years. Why?"
"Don't you know by now that this campus doesn't have a School of Broadcast Journalism?"
Story copyright© 2001 by Zack. All rights reserved.
I welcome your comments. Email me at zack_writer@hotmail. com