Our financial advisor is a fellow named Jim Cosner. Jim has impressed us over the years with his business acumen (our portfolio has done almost embarrassingly well during these, um, difficult times), integrity, and unflagging optimism. We meet about once a quarter to talk things over, get his take on what might be on the horizon, and strategize about how to deal with it. Well, by "strategize" I mean that Debbie and I feign understanding and nod semi-knowingly at everything he says, and then leave it all in his lap. It's an approach that has worked well.
Anyway, we met with him today and after the usual financial discussion, he said something along the lines of "man, do I have a story to tell you!"
Jim and his family have actually relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado, even though he keeps an office in Midland and spends a lot of time here. They bought most of a building, known as Penny Flats, near downtown. Penny Flats houses three of their family businesses. The building also houses residential condos.
On Monday, October 25, an apartment building next door to Cosner's building was torched in an obvious act of arson. That building was still under construction, albeit well into the process, so it was unoccupied. However, the conflagration was so intense due to the way the arsonists fueled their fire that it jumped across to Penny Flats and what wasn't destroyed by flame was ruined by water damage. Thankfully, there was no loss of life.
Here's where the so-called Occupy Wall Street "movement" comes into the picture. OWS demonstrators had been camping out in Fort Collins for a while, and last Thursday one of them, a beekeeper named Benjamin David Gilmore, was arrested and charged with the arson that destroyed both buildings. According to OWS organizers, Gilmore showed up for the protests in mid-October.
Recognizing that it's ill-advised to paint a group of people based on the actions of one individual, it speaks volumes about the reputation that OWS has created for itself when this alleged perpetrator is identified by the media first and foremost as being a part of that "movement." (I put the term in quotes because I doubt that there's enough collective sincerity, discipline, and wisdom to qualify it as such.)
You can read more about the fire and the Cosner family's reaction to it via this report, and details of the arson arrest are found here.
This is a story that deserves more attention than it's gotten, in my opinion.