A nonprofit public awareness campaign dedicated to
defeating Al Qaeda on the ideological battlefield
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Safety Precautions

Safeguards for My New York Times Guerrilla Press Conference

By David Malone

Contrary to some false allegations, my guerrilla press conference on the bottom portion of the New York Times fire escape was carefully planned to avoid any reckless endangerment.  Nobody was endangered and no physical injuries resulted from the public awareness action.  This fact should not surprise people familiar with the building’s unique exterior apparatus, a fire escape complete with encased ladders and walkways that could (at the time of my climb) be accessed from the center of the public sidewalk on 41st St via an unobstructed ladder.  Although I was confident in my ability to ascend a fire escape without injuring anyone, I safeguarded my climb by incorporating extensive precautions to minimize any potential risk to myself and others.  Important facts about these safety measures include:
  • EXPERIENCE:  I have more than adequate climbing experience as a trained roofer.  For example, an average day on the job involves carrying one-handed 100 pounds of construction material up a rickety four-story ladder in a single load, and then carrying this weight up an inclined roof to hoist it over my head to a worker above, then to climb down to the ground and repeat this process for eight hours in one-hundred-degree temperatures.  After hundreds of hours of this work, it was a “breeze” for me to weightlessly ascend up the few stories of the perfectly sturdy ladder on the New York Times fire escape during a morning with sixty-five degree air temperature.  I can personally attest to the validity of the “French Spiderman’s” assertion (quoted in his New York Times article) that this was the easiest skyscraper in the world to climb on because it had (at the time of my climb) a publicly accessible fire escape.

  • RESEARCH:  Prior to my ascent on the bottom portion of the fire escape, I thoroughly researched publicly available information on the structure, including the New York Times articles about “the French Spiderman’s” climb.  In addition, I personally surveyed the fire escape up close for eight hours in the days prior to my guerrilla press conference.

  • NO OBSTACLES:  I ensured that there were no obstacles, including security personnel or barricades, barring easy access to the fire escape via the ladder attached to the building on the public sidewalk.

  • CLIMBING METHODOLOGY:  I only ascended on the interior of the fire escape, not on the exterior wall of the building and not on the exterior of the fire escape,

  • CLIMBING RANGE:  I only ascended the bottom fraction of the fire escape, as opposed to performing the unnecessary “endurance” climb up its entire 52-story span,

  • CLIMBING EQUIPMENT:  In addition to bringing proper supplies (climbing shoes, climber’s talc, food and water), I performed a “virtually harnessed” climb (positioned securely between the building’s exterior wall and the fire escape’s ladder) that eliminated the possibility of my falling,

  • PHYSICAL PREPARATION:  I ensured my optimal physical condition through rigorous strength, cardiovascular and balance training during the preceding six months,

  • SIDEWALK CLEARED:  I ensured that the sidewalk beneath the area where I was climbing had been barricaded by police before ascending the fire escape so that there were never any pedestrians beneath me,

  • BUFFER ZONE:  I ensured that my actions did not pose a significant risk to responding emergency personnel by constantly maintaining a buffer zone that made infeasible any attempt to seize me aggressively from the fire escape.  I carefully pursued dialogue with the police at a distance via cell phone to ensure that the event of my surrender proceeded smoothly and did not place anyone in danger.

  • COMMUNICATION:  I repeatedly stated my motive to the New York Times and police before and during the guerrilla press conference,

  • SAFE SURRENDER:  I surrendered to police at the prearranged time in a carefully designed, safe manner,

  • MINIMAL DISRUPTION:  I conducted the guerrilla press conference at a time designed to minimize the disruption to the local area.  Although a daytime guerrilla press conference would have maximized publicity for my message, this timing would have magnified the disruption to the city at least ten-fold.  Unlike the previous two climbers of the fire escape, the streets and sidewalks were virtually free of any traffic during this guerrilla press conference from 1:30AM-5:30AM on a Wednesday morning.  Moreover, this public awareness action only occurred at a time when there was a minimal demand for emergency services in the local area, ensuring the least disruption to this city function.  Like all press conferences, this one had a police presence.  However, unlike the dozens of relatively frivolous events that occur in cities throughout America every day, such as parades, marathons, political rallies and sporting events, this guerrilla press conference posed a relatively minor disruption to the city.  In fact, most of the responding emergency personnel seemed to have arrived purely to witness a nationally televised event in their district that they had permission to attend.  I have no doubt that if a real emergency had arisen, these honorable civil servants would have promptly responded to it.

  • NO COPY-CATS:  I ensured that the New York Times building managers finally took measures to eliminate easy public access to this ladder so there would be no copycats (especially children) and my climb would mark the end of the 2008 trend of ascending the Times fire escape.

The New York District Attorney’s office that investigated my conduct on the New York Times fire escape concluded that my action warranted a parking-ticket violation, including: release without bail, no jail, no fine and a mere 8 hours of community service.

Immediately upon my arrest following the guerrilla press conference, the NYPD had such a favorable disposition towards me that they allowed me a 10-minute interview with a news reporter while I was still inside the New York Times building.  In the hours afterwards, I received an overwhelmingly positive response from the NYPD.  Dozens of officers congratulated me (and not one officer berated me) for a successful, meaningful publicity stunt that endangered no one and caused a most minimal public disturbance relative to preceding stunts.

My purpose for this public awareness action was to help protect America from Al Qaeda by (1) bringing national attention to crucial intelligence on an imminent terrorist plot (Al Qaeda’s plot to disrupt the 2008 U.S. presidential election with a 9/11 on Americans abroad (the delayed Mumbai Massacre)) and (2) publicizing a silver-bullet strategy that will destroy Al Qaeda’s ideological appeal.  In order to announce this vital information to the nation, I chose to commit a single nonviolent act of civil disobedience by hanging a banner from a fire escape.  Having carefully designed the guerrilla press conference for a month beforehand and having analyzed it afterwards, I remain confident that my actions were a safe, effective way to offer crucial assistance to America’s defense against Al Qaeda.  I am equally confident that this opinion is shared by the surviving victims of the Al Qaeda plot in question, which aimed in part to collapse two towers in Mumbai and kill over 5,000 people, and ended up killing over two hundred civilians.