Pepper Spray, Riot Gear And The Smearing Of Occupy Wall Street
Ever since the crackdowns started, I’ve been wondering about the use of excessive force and all the riot gear. The police have repeatedly beaten, pepper sprayed and tear gassed protesters who have done little more than stand their ground when illegally ordered to stop exercising their First Amendment rights. At first, I thought it was because the authorities didn’t know how to deal with non-violent threats after a decade of training for mass terrorist uprisings that never materialized. The police force in this country has been militarized under a paranoid Right Wing administration that dispensed hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars to safeguard against a nonexistant threat. On the other hand, keeping FEMA fully funded for actual yearly predictable disasters was pretty low on the list of things to care about. One could hazard a guess that arming the police was more lucrative to military contractors than saving the lives of hurricane victims. But that would be overly cynical of me…
Then the Fat Smug Bastard™ suggested that the real reason for all the riot gear was purely propaganda. If you act and dress and respond to the protesters as if they will explode into violence at any second, you leave a lasting impression on people with weak reasoning skills (say, your average Fox News viewer). That impression being that, despite the lack of actual violence, the protests must be dangerous. Why else would the police react so forcefully?
I chewed on that one for a bit and I didn’t like the taste at all. Especially since it seems to be working. My token conservative, Tim the Weasel, is completely against the protests even as he fully supported the Tea Party. He likes to focus on the drug dealing and rape at Zuccotti Park as if that were indicative of the entire movement. By that logic, every time a RW nut job gets arrested for planning a politically motivated shooting spree it should be an indictment of the entire atmosphere of hate and anger the Right has created. But, as always, it’s just an ISOLATED INCIDENT! and has nothing to do with conservatives. Yet, despite the fact that police intentionally directed drunks and mentally disturbed people to Zuccotti Park, and the rapes were not even inspired by the movement much less had anything to do with it, the right felt quite comfortable smearing every Occupier as a potential drug dealing, raping monster.
Of course, I expect that from someone like Tim, who never heard a RW talking point he didn’t immediately regurgitate. But I’ve come across others who are less extreme than Tim who, nonetheless, have bought into the propaganda of the dirty, smelly, dangerous protesters. There was Tom, a friend from college who, despite never having set foot in Zuccotti Park, KNEW that it was dangerous and the protesters deserved to be maced. He couldn’t explain to me how nonviolent protesters needed to be assaulted, but he was damn sure they did. The conversation didn’t last long as I apparently had “drank the kool-aid”. I’ll bet dollars to donuts he doesn’t even know what that saying actually refers to but I’m sure he hears it a lot from other conservatives. On top of those two were a few people on the FSB’s page that he swears are not actually conservatives but moderate liberals.
Here’s what they had to say:
Pepper spray is non lethal and only inflicts temporary discomfort we use it on our own law enforcement and military in training . And if you paid attention to the videos the police did not use the paint pellet guns they had in reserve . And I would think the protesters were made of sterner stuff willing to sacrifice for their cause umm guess not . Just wanted to get sprayed for the videos to feel important.
So what he’s saying is that the protesters should be happy the cops didn’t shoot them and if they were really dedicated, they wouldn’t complain about police brutality.
ya know 40 years ago there was no internet there was no youtube , there WAS NO BLOGGING SO PEOPLE HAD TO GO OUT AND TAKE TO THE STREETS, Now generation zero just wants to make a name for itself , they want to be infamous . Bottom line is generation zero is out complaining about wallstreet but I watched them using ipads and tablets and all sorts of nifty corporate made devices to video , film and record their infamy. hmmm sorry buddy you want wall street to fall then you dont buy wall streets products . So enough with the hypocrisy.
Last time I checked, Wall St. didn’t build iPads. They DID, however, crash the global economy and made billions off the wreckage. Not sure what youtube and blogging have to do with it but if it was that useless, dictators across the world wouldn’t be trying so hard to limit protesters’ access to it, now would they?
I saw the videos they were warned and told what would happen with failure to comply . They wanted the cops to take it to the next level.
If all the cops had to do was threaten violence to disperse protesters, we’d already be a full-on police state. The person who wrote this seems to be in favor of it.
In Egypt, they’re setting the protesters’ tents on fire and letting off live rounds, killing many of them. Pepper spray does NOT equal a 7.62mm round.
So that makes it perfectly OK!
Dont act like the cops came out of nowhere and just started spraying and just so you know disobeying the directive by a law appointed law enforcement officer actually is a crime , not dispersing when ordered to do so is obstruction of governmental administration . maybe the should have been reading the local penal codes before their little civil disobedience gatherings.
I guess the protesters in the Civil Rights marches should have read the local penal codes before the cops turned fire hoses on them, too.
And speaking of the Civil Rights movement:
U always go too far Glenn
Comparing this bowel movement to the Civil Rights movement!!!!!
I tried so hard not to weigh in but I can’t take this anymore!!!
OWS are nothing more than a bunch of whiny, unemployed, nomads with way too much time & nothing to do. I know I’m down there everyday. I’ve been on the bus when 12 or more of them rushed in spewing their gibberish holding us up for 20 mins cause of course, none of them paid their fare. Or when 70 or more would snails pace it across Rector holding up traffic.
Arrest them; I wished the cops plowed them over!!!
The only thing necessary to get them going is a news crew. It’s like blood amidst a school of sharks. They start hopping up and down like a bunch of idiots, removing & destroying police barricades; what do u think the cops are gonna do!!!
YOU COMPARE THIS TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT!!!my Aunt crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, she sat at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s, she marched in Birmingham. She never laid across the lunch counter preventing others from eating. She never smacked a German Shepard, provoking him. Also she and everyone who marched with her knew exactly what they were marching for.NOBODY knows what OWS wants !!!!Please Please Please do not compare our struggle to this, or anything else; because nothing else compares
I hate to break to this particular genius, but in the 50s, the Civil Rights movement was just a bunch of uppity Negroes that didn’t know their place. They disrupted traffic, they sat down in places that weren’t supposed to and made outrageous demands. They made big public displays of disobedience to get the word out. If the person who wrote this had been white back in those days, guess what side he would have been rooting for? Didn’t prevent anyone from eating? The writer obviously has no comprehension of the kind of racism that was prevalent. The whole point of separate counters was that many whites would refuse to sit next to one of those people. Take note, this moderate liberal even parrots the line that “nobody knows what OWS wants.”
These are not frothing Fox News viewers and yet they sound just like them. Why? Because they’re buying into the propaganda. The police MUST protect themselves from the vicious drum circle! All of that sitting is incredibly intimidating, how could the police help themselves? They were scared for their lives!
And so the Occupy movement is becoming associated with violence simply through the actions of the police. It doesn’t seem to matter how much video there is of passive protesters being tackled, beaten, tasered or pepper-sprayed, they’re the violent thugs or they were just asking for it.
So the next time you see the police in riot gear, the next time you watch the cops charge in with shotguns, the next time a group of protesters is viciously attacked with chemical weapons and you wonder what the police could possibly be thinking, remember that they know the cameras are there, too. And they know that for every person that sees those images and knows the protesters didn’t do anything to warrant that kind of excessive force, there are two or more that have no idea what is going on at the Occupy protests and wonder what the dirty hippies did to make the cops so afraid.