Some Excellent Questions Raised Here

My buddy Doogman shared a link in a tweet recently that had some videos of the OWS in Denver.   Doogs tweet was simply “some excellent questions raised here”.  I decided to check out the videos and see  just what exactly those questions were…

Here is the first video.  What I notice most about this is that the crowd seems to act like zombies.  At about the 0:50 mark, a woman is preaching to them about Gandhi and the use of non-violence.  Certainly this is an admirable goal, but the crowd just mindlessly repeats every word she says.  Chants seem to be prevalent at all of these protests, and they further make those saying them look like…zombies.  (The one I hear so often in Longmont is “Tell me what’s democracy look like?  This is what democracy looks like!”  Just so…mindless.)  I can admire the OWS desire to be nonviolent.  I would even go so far as to say that the majority of them probably are not violent or destructive.  But it is also a fact that more violent elements seem to infiltrate all of these protests, and the police have to respond as if any of the crowd could turn violent…they’d be stupid not to.  That’s what happens when you start having large groups who challenge authority.  The intention of the leaders may (generally) be peaceful, but human nature in many of the sheep following them is to tear everything down.  And when a group you are preaching to starts to turn violent, then you as the leader are going to be implicated, as unfair as that may be.  But that is the risk you take when you join a protest group like that.

Here is the second video.  It is titled “excessive force by police?”  As one starts the video, you won’t get two seconds in before you hear someone screaming “fuck you!” to the cops.  And then the mindless chants…”the whole world’s watching!  the whole world’s watching!”.  At about :30, some woman starts calling the police “chicken shit” and is ranting like a raving lunatic.  Then at 0:40, a “gentleman” in a plaid sweatshirt who can barely walk straight starts to move forward to challenge the police.  The police shove him back.  He comes again, and he is shoved back.  Mindless.  At 1:00, a buddy of his (a rather large fellow) also starts to confront the police, and he’s pushed back.  A woman in the crowd, obviously trying to be peaceful, yells at the police calling them “fucking assholes”.  This situation has become extremely volatile, and the cops I’m sure are not at all comfortable about the demeanor of the crowd around them.  Again, it takes one idiot (and judging from the people I saw and heard, there were many in the crowd who potentially fit the bill), and hundreds of people go into full blown anarchy mode, with the police being an obvious primary target.  As an officer in that mix, I’m certainly not going to quietly ask the people to kindly, please calm down and let’s talk about this rationally.  And if you are in that crowd and keep pushing and end up getting hurt, then sorry, it is your own fault.  You may not agree with the police, but they are…the police, and as law abiding citizens, we obey them, or things get violent (and not necessarily by fault of the police).

And finally, this video.  In it, an Iraq war veteran goes on a tirade to the police that hurting unarmed US citizens doesn’t make them tough.  He repeats this over and over, getting more and more agitated as he does.  Soon, a crowd starts to gather to listen to him yell at the police, and he soon becomes a hero to them.  A couple of things stand out to me here.  First, I’m sure that none of the cops are out there trying to hurt people so they can feel tough.  If you think this is why they are there, then you need to reexamine the whole “police called to deal with an angry mob” scenario.  My guess is that none of those cops really want to be there at all.  Just think of the fun of being ordered to control an angry and often unreasonable mob of people who are trying to make a point by being disruptive and rebellious.  Ummmmm…no.   The other point is that there was a vet who was recently badly hurt during a clash at one of the protests.  Now I’m the first to say I’m forever grateful to the men and women who put their lives on the line for my freedom.  They do something that not everyone could do, and the conditions in which they must protect freedom are some of the most inhospitable that you’d find anywhere in the world.  They are special people.  That said, even special people take a risk when they participate in a mob that is being lawless.  While it is exceptionally unfortunate that this guy was injured, he took a risk being there.  He could have walked away, as could have any of the other protestors, and he would have been just fine.  But when you choose to challenge the police, or become part of a mob that is challenging police, then I’m sorry, you are risking being seriously hurt or killed.  Don’t act like you had no idea it could come to that, and don’t act like it is the police who are always at fault for stirring up the violence.

So one question raised was….does this make the city proud?  Of course not, but many of us would claim that the reason is not b/c of the actions of the police, but rather because of the actions of the protestors.  Frankly, you embarrass my city by the actions of some of your members.  Another question was “tell me why these people deserved bully clubs, guns and riot gear”.  I explained that above.  When the police have to control an angry mob, why on earth wouldn’t they go in with as much force as possible just to make sure they wouldn’t be overrun?  People say the same thing about SWAT teams that completely decimate a target only to find out he maybe wasn’t armed, or he was high, or he had mental problems.  Should the police go in one on one, just b/c there is a possibility that the target might be subdued by one person calmly?  Of course not.  And the same with the protesting crowds.  A few hundred people can do a hell of a lot of damage if it is so inclined.  No police force in their right mind would do anything less than meet it with as much force as they had to make sure they had the upper hand.

So again, it is admirable that many of the protestors are trying to be nonviolent.  I disagree with many of OWS’s points, but if they have nothing better to do then chant mindlessly on a street corner and hold signs and not interfere with anyone’s lives in the process, then go for it.  But some of the bigger protests are bound to get violent, and people are going to get hurt when that happens.  They’re taking a risk by being there, and they are the only ones who can decide if it is worth the risk.  To many, it is.  And in that case, don’t act shocked and surprised when you find yourself on the receiving end of one of those clubs b/c  you wouldn’t move when the police asked you to.

Thank you, doogman, for reinforcing my beliefs about the composition of these protests.

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