Tommy began to speak again and everyone looked back at him…but he was talking to me.
“Hey! I like your idea. What’s your name?” He called to me.
I shouted out my name.
Tommy said as he pointed to me…”That’s a great idea, Riley, We need more ideas like that.”
“I think a hunger strike and chaining a few of us to that tower would get a lot of attention…but think…just think what would happen if we just blew the damn thing up.” And then he paused…
Shocked silence at first…but then quiet murmuring and a smattering of applause.
So far the protests on this campus had been basically non-violent…peaceful…but some colleges and universities…Wisconsin for example…had seen major conflicts between the police and war protesters.
But so far…not at the University of Minnesota or at any other locations around the state.
Tommy handled the reluctance and surprise of the crowd with ease.
“But…I wouldn’t want any protesters chained to the tower at the time…of course…” he joked and with that comment he again had the crowd completely with him.
Then he quickly shifted focus and stressed that civil disobedience like “hunger strikes” and “blocking roadways” would get massive coverage in the press…and that was the important thing.
He also mentioned again the “Snelling Avenue water tower idea” and my name…
And then after a couple more speakers… the rally was over.