Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Something Is Broken

I just read that Jeniffer Fox, the pregnant woman who was kicked and pepper sprayed by police at Occupy Seattle last week, has miscarried. Granted, she was only 2 or 3 months pregnant, so there's no way you can equivocally say that her miscarriage was caused by her mistreatment at the hands of Seattle police, but it couldn't have really helped, either. The fact here is that police should not have been kicking a woman in the stomach and spraying mace in her face at a peaceful protest.


I've been reading a lot of utter bullshit today about the Occupy movement, and whether or not you agree with their cause (or, in fact, even understand what it is), if you think that a paramilitary response is justified or appropriate to drive peaceful protesters off of city streets or parks, there is something wrong deep inside of you.

These people are exercising First Amendment rights of assembly and to petition their government for a redress of grievances. They are being met with violence. This is not right. It may be, pathetically, business as usual, but it's still wrong. No matter how many people push it or support it, it's wrong.

Remember Scott Olsen, the Marine who survived two tours in Iraq only to come back home and get shot in the head by a tear gas canister and end up in a coma? This is the kind of chaos and hatred we offer returning vets? The only way his injuries could have been so severe is if some cop had aimed right at his head and fired. And the cops fired at the people trying to rush over and help him.

You know, there's an old, derisive opinion about cops; that they're guys who weren't fit for real military service, but want to carry a gun and wield their power over others. I've always rejected that out of hand, because I think it's a stereotype and, honestly, for the most part, my experiences with police officers have been positive. Not always, but usually. I treat them with respect because they're doing a difficult job that I sure as hell don't want to do, and they usually respond by being polite and helpful. Again... not always, but usually.

But to see these people descending on people, shooting at them, beating them with batons, pulling them by the hair... the mad glee in the eyes of some of these cops, enjoying the terror they're spreading. Or the cops who just start grabbing and tearing with that look of fervent, righteous anger in their eyes... Or, worst of all, the ones who just casually walk around spraying mace into the eyes of people who are sitting or, at worst, panicking because the police are attacking them.

Seriously, an 84 year-old woman was maced. Unless she was firing a Tommy gun madly into a crowd, there's no reason for that.

If you seriously think that's justified... that that's a reasoned response... You know, you never saw anyone on the left saying that the Tea Partiers should be run off by cops in riot gear and fired on with rubber bullets. And those assholes bragged about carrying loaded guns around and made jokes about assassinating the President of the United States.

And where is President Emptysuit on this whole thing, anyway? Complicit by silence on the Occupy movement, but always ready with a quick platitude about supporting protests demanding freedom in other countries--literally the least you can do, I guess.

I can't even mince words. If you think a paramilitary response to the exercise of free assembly is somehow appropriate, you are a terrible person, whomever you are. I won't be discussing that opinion.

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