Today I discovered that when two of my favourite things, The Hunger Games series and glitter, are combined, they transmute into a noxious recipe for terror.
On December 13th, 2013, Earth First! and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance activists in Oklahoma City, OK, were arrested on terrorist hoax charges after glitter falling from their banner was deemed potentially “dangerous” by Oklahoma City Police Captain Dexter Nelson. Although upon investigation, the Oklahoma City Fire Department immediately declared the mysterious black substance to be purely decorative, the felony charges still stand and may carry a 10-year sentence.
The significance of the Mockingjay banner and phrase “The Odds are Never in Our Favor” from the Hunger Games appears to have been lost on the law enforcement officials involved in this case thus far. The press release on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance website explains it clearly:
Imagery from the Hunger Games was employed to highlight the parallel between industrial sacrifice zones in real life, and the resource colonies (Districts) that are subjected to state and economic violence in the series.
The criminal charges brought against the protesters who unfurled this banner only make their point even more well-defined. Not only are we, the public, denied the ability to protect our lands and our selves from the damage caused by inculpable energy companies, but we are forbidden even from adding the tiniest bit of glitz to our signs so that those in power might notice them out of the corners of their Ray-Bans.
Sadly, protesters being arrested for efforts to encourage large corporations to display some humanity is nothing new. What is new and disturbing is the classification of such activists as terrorists for not using enough glue on their banners. I don’t want to live in a world where I need to think twice before adding glitter to my signs and banners. I believe strongly in the visual power of glitter and related materials, and I don’t think anyone should have the right to take that away from us (nor do I believe the Constitution grants anyone that right). I usually choose to use glitter glue in place of loose glitter, and unfortunately, I now have all the more reason to do so.