For What It’s Worth

They’re throwing tear gas on protesters in Oakland and shooting rubber bullets* at them. It’s getting worse, people, it’s getting worse. In some weird way, I suppose it’s a good thing? because it means that this movement is serious. People are threatened by it in some way. You don’t bring out the riot gear by people you aren’t threatened by.

On the other hand, it is terrifying that a non-violent, unarmed peaceful protest is bringing out the police state. Especially when a large scale movement filled with bile and hate and racist propaganda brought out their guns and veiled threats and no one did a damned thing about it. Cool. No problem. Just hang out there with your guns and call the President Hitler. Right on. And, right on, because the first amendment allows for the asinine signs part. The bringing guns to rallies part, not really. But they were somehow allowed that, too.

But people sitting down and sharing food with homeless people and saying they’re fed up with the system as it stands? Singing songs, banging drums, making noise, letting themselves be heard? Ah, yes, this must be squelched. And fast, because these protests, this movement, this rally cry is popping up in more and more cities and towns and avenues all over the country … and all over the world. This is gaining in momentum and this could be a real thing.

So, make it known that you have the zipties and the tear gas and the rubber bullets. Make it known that when push comes to shove, you will be pushing and shoving. Make it known that your frustration and anger and fury will be unleashed as much as it is misdirected.

But while you’re doing that, right will still be right. You will still be part of the 99%. Your pensions will still be on the line. Your jobs will still be at stake. Other parts of the city will still be crumbling and crime will still be occurring. Neighborhoods will still be wondering where you are, wondering why you are not there to serve and protect them, instead of out in the streets harassing and attacking US citizens on US soil.

Your children will still need to go to college and your grandchildren will still need to have good school systems. Your elderly neighbor will still need her medication and your mother might still need to go into a nursing home. You might still need to have surgery one day that your insurance won’t cover.

Engaging in war — actual violence and outright attacks — on the people who live in your city, on the people who shop where you shop and walk the streets you walk and who you’ve sworn to serve and protect — makes no sense. You are creating a problem where there was none. You are injecting darkness into a movement of community and solidarity and hope. You are un-democratic, you are un-American.

I hope people wake up to this. They might not want to participate in the movement. They might not even agree with what’s going on. But I hope Americans everywhere can agree that when the first amendment is called into question, we’ve got serious problems on our hands. I don’t care if you are the ever disgusting Westboro Baptist Church, Occupy Chicago or another group that’s upset about police shooting young men, abortions being performed, the CTA raising fares or the Park Hyatt turning on heat lamps on striking workers when it’s 89 degrees out. One of the wonderful, beautiful things that distinguishes us from countries we look at in horror and shame is our ability to call out when we think something is wrong, even if we happen to be pretty wrong ourselves. Not allowing a free press and free speech is fascism. And we need to be ever on guard for everyone’s right to be heard.

*They are supposed to be non-lethal, but so are tasers, and we know that’s not always the case. Not to mention, they’re still called bullets.

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9 thoughts on “For What It’s Worth

  1. Did you read that the OPD called in police officers from other areas, under the mutual aid agreement? It’s worth noting that during the 1989 protests in Beijing (sp?) the government had to bring in army members from different provinces to run the protesters down because the local members of the military would not comply with orders to do.

  2. The Iraq veteran is now in a coma. I’m stunned. He served two tours and came home safely, and was injured by his own people in a non-violent protest. I can’t imagine what they were thinking. I can’t imagine what Obama is thinking. Why can’t he grow a fucking pair and stand up for this?

    Conversely, will the Occupy movement figure out that for the time being, they need to vote for him — all get registered and vote for him at least one more time? I know I might be sounding like I’m missing the point. I get it. They’re all fucked. I know that. But for now, at least try and get the fucking Republicans the fuck out of there and then keep this shit up and work on the Democrats, too.

    Step by step.

  3. Joc have you seen any polling on this? They certainly have a right to protest, but they don’t have a right to camp out, crap and litter everywhere, throw projectiles at cops just standind there and commit rapes. The great majority wants these people out of the way so the few that have jobs can get to them. This is where history comes into play. Read some of Hoffman’s stuff where he says the more you look like a mob of obstructionists blocking people from day to day activities the less support you get.

  4. I have followed this pretty close now. At this point they do not even know what he was hit with. Videos show bottles being heaved at the cops and close to this guy, but even if it were the cops the videos clearly show aggression by the so called non-violent crowd first. If you want to have an official policy of the cops do nothing as they get hit with stuff, fine, but if they get hit with projectiles I would expect them to respond. Hoffman also said he thought cops in riot gear was bad as the protesters thought they really couldn’t hurt them with bottles and such. He thought it would be better to be in regular garb then the crowd would know “hey if I throw this bottle i really could kill someone”. This movement has gone from a nice idea to try and get the middle and lower class together and at this point has pushed them further apart. Now the Tea Party is suing to force these groups to get permits and pay for cleanup and police like they had to. Don’t point to the lone black guy in the crowd like the Tea party did to show diversity, the occupy crowd at this point is college kids and professional protesters mixed with the homeless getting free food. Nice try by Obama and the left to counter the Tea Party but it’s falling on deaf ears, too bad because the underlying point is very valid.

  5. do tell how they were throwing things? http://youtu.be/zEj_4fqDbnM
    mob? point to the lone black guy? i don’t know where you’re getting this shit, unless you’re watching WAY too much fox news. cops having an official policy of getting hit with stuff and doing nothing? where the fuck? how many videos are you going to ignore with police just randomly attacking peaceful people doing nothing? do you want the video of the NYC cop coldcocking the chick? etc. etc.? obama and the left?!? WTF WTF? this was created in and of itself. the left had nothing to do with it. some of the people are regular people. some of them are communists. some of them support ron paul. and pushing people further apart? is that why the movement grows every day with a new citiy cropping up around the country, around the world? i am flabbergasted at you. normally, i can roll my eyes and say, “that’s just crowley,” but i hope you truly aren’t buying your own bullshit on this one.

  6. Dick Durbin liberal enough for you? Most of those comments came from him, except for Obama and the left creating this. The more this turns into a mob scene with no direction other than “down with the man”. Believe it or not back in my college days i attended rallies too, but they truly were non-violent, and when the cops told us to move so people could carry on with day to day activities we did.

  7. Hopefully you won’t make me post the dozens of videos that show the rocks and bottles being thrown. Nice edit job by the way. Shows the calm before the storm. Cuts from guys just standing there to the tear gas. The tear gas started after the throwing incidents. Doesn’t matter the city has it all not just Oliver Stone edits. The sad part is the message is good, but the minute you infringe on my right to freely walk the streets I will say screw you and any message you got.

  8. Please oh please even watch the network news. Vandalism is rampant in Oakland. Nice non violent march to the port. Even the goofy Pelosi is denouncing this saying it is destroying the message.

  9. Inept Quan pleads with the non violent protestors to stop the violence. What a joke, she’ll be a casualty they are already talking recall.

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