November 19, 2011

Think Twice Before You Assume

I have something to say because this really gets under my skin.  This has absolutely nothing to do with my normal writings or D/s.  It is waaaayyy off topic.  But I'm tired of hearing about it and all the bad publicity that is thrown in the direction of the fine Police Officers that face this.  I'm talking about all the protesting going on in the U.S. right now, mainly centered around OccupyWallStreet...or any street for that matter.   For the record before I start, I have no feelings one way or the other against or for this movement.  This is not about being for or against it. 

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but everything else that happens surrounding that picture can be worth a million.  This picture is floating around tumblr with lots of bad comments against the police for using pepper spray against seemingly peaceful protestors.  So many people are commenting in support of the protestors, so I feel the need to make a comment, because it’s always about the poor protestors…and that is wrong.

If the Police are there, they have a legal right and obligation to be there and take action.  Typically it’s because the protestors are trespassing or causing some type of disturbance.  The Police never act in these situations without first requesting that the protestors remove themselves from the situation peacefully.  It’s their refusal to obey legal authority that leaves no choice but to take things to the next level.  Using pepper spray is the best way to try to disperse the group without having to use force and a hands on approach, which can lead to someone getting injured, protestors and/or police officers.  When protestors continue to disobey legal commands to disperse, that’s when hands on and arrests begin taking place.  The protestors fight and resist, and things escalate.

So…who’s fault is it that we see scenes in pics and on tv that look bad?  Usually it’s the lack of cooperation from the protestors that have led to what we see.  It’s NOT the police.  They don’t want to be there doing that any more than the protestors want them there.  The police officers would rather be doing other things, I can assure you.  Yet, it’s their obligation and sworn duty to be there and uphold the law.  The protestors know when they start how this will go.  They know they are breaking the law and yet they choose to do so willingly, even knowing the consequences.  The police are following protocol and procedures in dealing with people and situations.   They are doing exactly as they are trained, to protect themselves and the public at large.

This isn’t about the protestors, and that they are being picked on.  It isn’t about what they are protesting and what they are fighting for.  The cause can be anything...PETA, Occupy, Redwood Trees, abortion, anything.  It’s about their blatant disregard for authority and the law, and purposeful breaking of the law.  It’s their own actions that have taken this from a legal and peaceful protest, to being treated the way the media loves to exaggerate and show as one sided.  The police will do everything possible to end this as peacefully and with as little force as possible.  But when left no other choice by the protestors, they must step up their actions to affect the necessary results.

I saw a picture the other day of a protestor on the ground, handcuffed, and bleeding.  All the comments were in regards to how unnecessary that is.  Really?  He probably was protesting and then legally asked to leave.  He refused.  He was encouraged to leave more, and he refused.   The police began using their hands to remove him, and he not only refused but resisted and fought.  What choice is left.  At this point he is breaking the law, resisting and fighting with the police.  Do you really think the police are going to say "ok, well since you are resisting you can stay"?  No!  They are going to affect the arrest of this person, to protect themselves, to protect the protestor, and to keep him from antagonizing the protestor crowd into a frenzied mob. 

Feel free to disagree with me if you like.  Remember though, there are two sides to everything.  People don't get singled out and picked on just because they protest a cause.  It's usually because they leave the police no other choice by their own actions.  Just think twice before you automatically assume, by a single picture or video, that you know all the circumstances that led to what you are seeing.  There are almost always situations that preceded what is seen that have led to the actions.

10 comments:

  1. Well said!
    People should remember that peaceful protests rarely get media attention. Many protesting groups (not all) WANT to get these photos of police brutality because it creates sympathy for the protesters. Ergo, the protest.
    The thousand words a photo speaks can also be re-written after the fact with graphic work.

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  2. DV - I have several police officer friends. I won't reiterate what you've said. You are correct. The police are there to protect the community. These protesters leave them no choice but to handcuff and arrest them when they resist arrest.

    Beibg a police officer is one of the most thankless, underpaid, dangerous jobs out there.

    Thank you for sharing your point of view. It's not easy going against 'mob mentality and/or being politically incorrect'.

    Take care. Sky

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  3. I couldn't agree more with you. The police have a job to do to protect the population in general and as Sky said, it is a thankless job.

    These protesters do have a right to assemble and be heard, but what they so often forget is they may not trample on the rights of others in doing so.

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  4. The mere act of assaulting peaceful protesters with chemical weapons is stupid and counter productive. Makes the police look like asses! But from the comments I think of Ben Franklin- "Those who will give up freedoms for security will have neither freedom or security!"

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  5. Thanks for your comments Dannah, Sky and W.

    Bill...Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that spraying them is a good option. Anyone who's has ever been sprayed (and yes I have) knows how bad it hurts, how you have snot running in giant streams from your nose, and how it affects your ability to breathe. If there are other choices, then that would be preferable.

    How would you prefer they be removed? Physically and forcibly? This leads to possible injury for all. Keep in mind, they are breaking the law or they would be allowed to stay and protest peacefully. Pepper spray is minor compared to physical force and possibly more serious injury. It is meant to debilitate so that they cannot resist when removed. It's the less of the evils. I do take exception to considering them as being assaulted. Assaulted would be them being sprayed without provocation, and with the intent to cause injury. I'm sure they were well warned prior to being sprayed and given the opportunity to disperse. The choices the protestors made led to the actions upon them. Injury is not intended with pepper spray. Discomfort and a lack of being able to fight and retaliate is the intention, thereby allowing the police the chance to remove the law breaking participants without near as high a likelihood of injury.

    I'm all for a peaceful protest and a person's right to do so. But when you break the law, and are asked to leave, then you must do so. Police work is an ugly ob by nature. Nothing about it is pretty. It is thankless, most of the time, and extremely scrutinized. Most officers do it though, because they love it. Yet, at the core of their being, going home as safe and healthy as their day started is what is top priority, as it should be. They risk the potential of injury and death every single day, and it can happen in an instant.

    Thanks for your comment. That's what this is about...seeing all views and sides and being able to debate it if necessary. We all have our own views and opinions, and ultimately, it's being able to express those views that make this country great.

    DV

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  6. Define breaking the law. I s gathering in a public space to protest the wrongful actions of the government breaking the law? Is voicing that descent on a public sidewalk, breaking the law? You cannot have it both ways and that is what is happening in New York, Oakland, Portland, etc. If the police wish to have peaceful protests, don't come to the party dressed in riot gear and swing batons and using tanks! And as an aside, WHY do police departments need tanks?

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  7. Breaking the law is drug use, rape, murder,and destruction of private property. These are all things that have happened at these "peaceful" protests. Not to mention the drug overdoses.I'm sure the people in the picture were warned repeatedly to disperse because they were blocking the rights of others to go about their daily business. No you can't just block a sidewalk because you want to. Can I go block the entrance to the White House because I think the President is destroying this country. I would be arrested in a heartbeat without a doubt. The reason police need tanks and riot gear, is because criminals now have machine guns and possibly heavier weapons. They are the first responders to any possible terrorist attacks and they need to be prepared for the worst. Sorry DV for the rant, but that mentality really pisses me off.

    William

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  8. William...not a problem at all. Feel free to chime in any time.

    Bill...You are proving my exact point. I even said, peaceful protest in public places are fine. T's when they are breaking the law, trespassing, causing a public disturbance, or a public safety hazard, etc...then the police have the right and responsibility to disperse the gathering. Even at the NYSE, they were allowed to stay and conduct their protest for weeks on end. It was only after they became a public safety hazard with all the garbage and human waste that they were removed. A city can shut down a public park and ask all people to leave. When those people refuse, that is when the problem starts. The police don't show up and become physical with people. They use riot gear because they know the so-called peaceful protestors will be a problem and throw things at them. So yes, they wear riot gear to protect themselves.

    Again, I'm not against protesting and peaceful protests, no matter what the cause. I have said that from the beginning. Have at it and protest until your heart's content. Just do it lawfully and cooperate with the authorities when asked. It's this refusal to cooperate that causes the issues and require the police to take further measures.

    DV

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  9. Bravo!!! Very eloquent post and one needs to get the facts before believing a snapshot in time. I believe the police officers were not acting inappropriately at all! They were doing the job that needed to be done.

    Kitty

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  10. So sad that the fringe labels the whole. When I was arrested, clubbed over the head with six stitches I was sitting on a sidewalk out of the path of what you obviously feel are the proper citizens. I will continue to protest banks foreclosing on out of work people and our government doing corporate bidding for oil and other resources. Hopefully we can fix the problem with resorting to blood in the streets but I doubt it.When they have stripped all our freedoms from us I hope your not to inconvenienced.

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