The eyes have it

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Does everyone know what agent provocateurs are? An agent provocateur is, to use the definition from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, “one employed to associate with suspected persons and by pretending sympathy with their aims to incite them to some incriminating action.”

I’ve got a subtle mind, but few people who know me would call me paranoid. In fact, I’m so un-self-conscious I do unthoughtful things in public all the time.

As regular readers know, I’m covering the Occupy Reno people (see News, page 8). I’m not always working on a story, but if the day comes that requires knowledgeable reportage, I’m going to have the research and photographs to put everything in context. But I saw some pretty weird stuff this weekend that’s worthy of note.

I was with the group as they marched Saturday morning supporting Bank Transfer Day. Everything was about as spontaneous as you’d expect when the group met at the City Plaza, marched south to Wells Fargo then north to Bank of America on Seventh Street. A stranger joined the group just as it arrived at Bank of America, and he immediately—directly in front of the front doors and presumably in the surveillance camera’s eye—sparked up a marijuana joint. Occupy Reno absolutely does not support illegal drug use. This guy’s behavior was so outlandish and obvious that I can only assume he acted with intent to incriminate the group. I, of course, got a great up-close portrait of the guy who left as soon as the camera came out.

At the Moana pool, some guys in a pickup started driving through the parking lot with a large sign that said stuff like “Obama is a Moslem,” stopping to take pictures with the Occupy Reno signs. Again, obvious that they were attempting to antagonize the peaceful and non-political demonstrators. They drove away when I attempted to interview them, but I did get a picture of the license plate.

This was the first time that there was no police presence at a general demonstration or assembly. I remarked that it was good that police had figured out none was needed. Now, I wonder.