Back to the Future Superfan-Turned-Protester Suggests Manure
NEW YORK CITY — 31-year-old Back to the Future superfan Emmett Strickland III, a Bed-Stuy resident, may be new to Black Lives Matter, but he already has the energy of a seasoned protester. Strickland, who has taken to the streets every day this week, believes that the movement needs a new playbook, and he’s sharing his plan with anyone who will listen: “I know we need to uplift Black voices and I’m just a white dude, but I have an idea.”
(Author’s note: If Strickland’s name sounds familiar, that might be because his grandfather of the same name published a memoir detailing his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. According to the memoir, he would meet with his childhood neighbor and friend, Marvin Luther King, for all-night brainstorming sessions. Strickland wrote of how he began each new idea pitch with the declaration “I have a dream,” a phrase that Marvin allegedly shared on a phone call with his cousin Martin, saying, “You know that new speech you’re looking for? Well listen to this!”)
Donning a black shirt that just says ‘88mph’ on the front, Strickland is excited to talk about his innovative approach to protesting. “You read that story from a few days ago about those officers who got struck by lightning? That inspired me. We might not know when or where lightning will strike next, but we do know of another potential resource that could help us against these cops when they attack us every night.”
That resource? Horse manure.
Unlike the vast majority of law enforcement organizations in most US cities, the NYPD’s Mounted Unit is robust and growing; the unit was fifty-five strong in 2016 and has steadily increased its numbers by the dozens in following years. The horses are housed and trained in an official NYPD stable within the city perimeter, so it stands to reason that their manure is nearby.
And with that, it’s time for some Horse Manure Math. Let’s break it down:
A regular sized full-grown horse poops on average 6–7 times per day, with each poop coming in at around 4–6lbs. That means our Everyhorse, pooping 5lbs of waste 6.5 times per day, produces 32.5lbs of manure every single day.
The exact number of horses under NYPD care in 2020 is unconfirmed, but an extremely conservative estimate gives us at least seventy horses (between horses assigned to officers in the Mounted Unit and horses currently being trained for future line of duty). 70 horses producing 32.5lbs of manure daily means that the NYPD stables house over a ton (2,275lbs) of fresh horse manure every day, and 15,925lbs every week.
There are two ways one can properly dispose of horse manure: throw it in the muck pile and wait for it to eventually turn into compost, or employ a manure removal service. Given the rate of manure production, the overwhelming smell, and the space necessary to house manure long enough for it to decompose, it is safe to assume that the NYPD employs a waste removal service.
Strickland knows all this (what — you think he hasn’t done his research?), and he has a plan: “Have you ever seen The Town?” he asks. I shake my head no. “Okay, well that complicates things.” He pauses. I tell him that I have seen National Treasure, and his face lights up. “Perfect.”
He explains that, just like in National Treasure, the best time to steal a large or important target is not when it’s on display, but when it’s in transport. “What we need to do is identify the waste removal company the NYPD uses — my source tells me it’s D. Jones Manure Hauling — and wait for the manure disposal truck to pull away from the stables. Once it rounds the corner, it will come upon a carefully staged die-in on the street, forcing the vehicle to stop until the protesters clear the area. So we’ll have exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds while the truck is idling to open the back and shovel out as much manure as we can. My buddy Clint has a Bulldozer Guy who can get us a front end loader that can remove at least 4–5 tons of manure in that time frame. So essentially,” Strickland pauses to get into character with his best Nic Cage voice, “I’m going to steal the NYPD horse manure.”
But what happens once the protesters procure the horse manure, I ask. Strickland smiles. “Then it’s only a matter of time. We know from the movies that the best time to deploy a truckload of manure on bullies is when they’re hot on your tail, so we’ll just wait ‘til the cops descend on a crowd of peaceful protesters. We’ll make sure the protesters run down a pre-designated street where we’re waiting with our truck of horse manure. And then BLAMMO!” I jump, and Strickland laughs. “If that surprised you, just imagine how those cops’ll feel.”
Is his plan innovative? Most definitely. Risky? Sure. But Strickland is quick to point out how important it is for the movement to stay ahead of the police. “We have to think bigger, think outside the box, y’know? If we’re gonna win this thing, we can’t just take the road less traveled; we have to get off roads entirely.” I brace myself, knowing where he’s headed.
“‘Cause where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”