Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oakland PD: Those Who Make Peaceful Protest Impossible

I haven't been following the various Occupy movements very closely, though a few weeks ago, when the movement was new, I wrote a post mentioning my complete agreement with the movement's basic complaint "the system is rigged to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor."

And I deplored the reports of police responding to the protests with violence, and also noted this:
John F. Kennedy famously said “Those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent protest inevitable.” Why don’t the police learn this in their academies? Do the fools – and the greater fools who speak approvingly of their misbehavior – not realize that if enough people decide the system cannot be reformed from within – if enough people decide outright revolt is the only answer – then all is lost? If violent revolution comes to this country, whether from the left wing or the right, then whatever phoenix rises from the ashes will almost certainly be something much, much worse than what they burn down.
And last night, the even greater fools in the Oakland police department responded in force against the non-violent protesters, going after them with tear gas and rubber bullets, and one of those bullets shot Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen in the face. According to the Huffington Post, Olsen's roommate Keith Shannon said Olsen "was simply one of the marchers. 'He was just hit by a projectile,' said Shannon, who did not attend the march but heard about the incident from eyewitnesses. 'He wasn't near a police officer when it happened'." After shooting Olsen, police lobbed a flashbang grenade at the people who went to help him. Olsen is now in the hospital, unconscious and with swelling of the brain.

Twenty years ago, I would have been shocked and surprised to hear American police chose to attack bystanders rather than protect them. Not in today's America.

In related news, British writer Jeff Berwick, fortunate enough to have an outsider's view of the country, published an essay titled "The US is fast becoming a third world police state." It's worth reading in full, but I'll quote only the small section discussing Occupy protesters in Phoenix:

The photos coming out of the US continue to look like something you'd see in a country like North Korea or in the old Soviet Bloc.

This photo, from a small gathering of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Phoenix, shows that not only the police outnumbered the protesters but showed the level of intimidation and force used against just a few people sitting in a park. Their crime? They were there after "curfew". I've been searching my copy of the US Constitution for any reference to curfew but have yet to find anything.

Yeah, well, I've been searching my copy of the constitution for any references to where it says you must submit to government agents fondling your genitalia if you want to travel within the borders of your own country, and I can't find anything either. Nor can I find where it says the president can order an American citizen executed without trial.

I want America to go back to the "free country" we used to be. And I don't want the country I have now to erupt into violent revolution. And I grow evermore terrified and evermore pessimistic, fearing I'll be disappointed in both.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I simply do not understand your logic. If the city tells the occupiers they MUST move and the police are their to see that this is carried out HOW is it the police who created the violence. You are aware the viloence began when the occupiers threw bottles at the police. Peaceful protest means following the law and certainly does not include throwing bottles.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Ah, yes, throwing an empty plastic bottle justifies the police tossing flashbang grenades and teargas into the crowd. (Chemical warfare is illegal for the military to use against a foreign army, but American police have no qualms about using it against their own countrymen.) The police didn't even bother to distinguish between protesters, innocent bystanders or media personnel there doing their jobs; they just started attacking.

Are you the same "Anonymous" who stuck up for the police here the first time I wrote about the Occupy movement? I've noticed that neither cop defenders nor TSA defenders ever have the courage to identify themselves. (Not that I can entirely blame you; I'd be dreadfully ashamed of myself too.)

8:47 AM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Jennifer, "cop defender" is an awkward phrase, and doesn't really capture the essence of this behavior. Over at my blog, Joel Rosenberg always used a snarkier term, and it's in his memory that I recommend it to you. These people are "badgelickers."

1:31 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Or "copsuckers!"

1:44 PM  
Blogger terisa said...

Hi, long time no see, glad you're still writing! The funny thing is, in the bigger picture, Oakland PD's over-response has really fired up Occupy movements across the country, and worldwide. Not quite the response they wanted...

Terisa (from Dr. Paul's class way back when)

3:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Hey, Terri! Good to hear from you! My e-mail address is in my profile; drop me a line!

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Empty bottle (which it was not it was full of paint), small rock, feces, no big deal, right? Assault is assault.

But you failed to address the issue. If the protestors are breaking the law, if they are destroying public and private property, if they are committing violence; what should the police do?? You think they should allow it. Let then brun police cars, destroy businesses and harm innocent bystanders. I do not. I don't think that the simple act of being a mob exempts you from the law. Further I believe it is easier and more humane to stop the mob early in it's rampage when it can be done with minimal force rather then wait until it is a war zone. What would you do? If I am a shop owner in downtown Oakland and you are the mayor what do you do to protect my property???

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Artor said...

You say that 20 yrs ago, you couldn't imagine this happening, but it was only 40 yrs ago that the Nat'l Guard shot demonstrators at Kent State in cold blood. During the Labor movement of the 20's & 30's, riot police actually machine-gunned crowds of American citizens. I fully expect to see massive bloodshed in the near future over this.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Artor, the Kent State shootings -- as appalling as they were -- are something I classify slightly differently -- IIRC, the National Guardsmen were basically teenagers themselves with hardly any training, not full-time police officers old enough and trained enough to presumably know better.

8:58 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from