Saturday, January 19, 2008

West Coast Walk for Life

A year ago I complained about the enormous disagreement between organizers' and officials' estimates of the crowd at the 2007 West Coast Walk for Life. I suggested a simple method for ending the bickering. This year, I did it. In fact, I've just gotten home from doing it.

I found a location where I could get a little elevation above street level -- the cable car turnaround at Hyde and Beach -- and set up my camcorder on a tripod. I aimed it down at a segment of Hyde which the entire march would pass, and when the head of the march was about to appear, I turned it on. I then did not move it for the entire length of the march, over forty minutes worth.

As soon as I've dumped the footage to my Mac, I'm going to begin isolating still frames of each successive "chunk" of the passing march, with a little overlap from still to still in order to establish that I haven't left anything out.

Then I'm going to count heads. It's gonna take some time, because this march was big. I tried counting people as they passed, but during much of that forty minutes, they were transiting my counting mark (a streetlight pole) faster than I could say the number. Try that. Count 21, 22, 23, 24, and so on, as fast as you can. They were coming faster than that.

Anyone who's pro-life -- heck, let's just say it: anti-abortion -- can take a good deal of heart from this event. Not only was the Walk attended by thousands in this bastion of left-wing orthodoxy, the pro-choice counter-demonstration amounted to not more than a hundred persons. I can say that with some certainty, since they unfortunately collected themselves right at the turn of Beach and Hyde, not a hundred feet from my position. So I had to listen to their chants and taunts and screams while the entire Walk passed by, but I also had plenty of time to count them, too.

I'll post my results here as I analyze the footage.