It has been a peaceful protest, organized along anarchic practices: no figureheads, no permits, no clear hierarchy; Critical Mass without the bicycles.
America has a tradition of peaceful protest and civil disobedience. The way it works is the activists protest and block passage; police arrest and remove them; there is a contest of attrition to see who blinks first. Nobody should get hurt.
Unfortunately, that's a 9/10 mindset. Nowadays any protest in New York (other than over the Prospect Park bike lane) is seen as a re-enactment of 9/11. They will not tolerate disturbances. They will use military tactics on peaceful citizens. There are no civil rights if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Protesters = Enemy.
Here are two news stories about the New York Police Department. The juxtaposition of them is mind-boggling.
Exhibit One: NYPD Macing Non-Violent, Kettled Girl ProtestersFrom the New York Times:
The above video, posted by USLaw.com, captures a confrontation on Saturday between the police and several protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement.Can it be true that an American city government will spray chemicals on peaceful protesting civilians in order to keep business running?
In slow motion, and with annotation explaining what is happening, the video seems to show a high-ranking member of the New York Police Department spraying a substance — the video says it is Mace or pepper spray — toward several women who were standing behind a wall of orange netting. After the spraying, one woman can be seen dropping to the ground, screaming in apparent pain.
More than 80 people were arrested on Saturday as they marched from the financial district, where many have been encamped for over a week, north toward Union Square.
Exhibit Two: NYPD Can Take Down Planes, Too!NEW YORK (AP) --
The chief of the New York Police Department says city police could take down a plane if necessary.We note that any civilian talking about taking down a plane would be taken into custody. We also note that Kelly is still a civilian. He is, right?
Commissioner Ray Kelly tells CBS' "60 Minutes" that after the Sept. 11 attacks, he decided the city couldn't rely on the federal government alone. He set about creating the NYPD's own counter-terrorism unit. He says the department is prepared for multiple scenarios and could even take down a plane.
Kelly didn't divulge details but said "obviously this would be in a very extreme situation."
Juxtaposition: Macing Girls & Taking Down Planes
It shouldn't need to be said, but: Shooting down planes is something best left to the military. It requires judgement, experience, and command-and-control.
People with the "judgment" that leads to macing penned-in, non-violent girls should not be carrying guns, let alone have the capability of shooting down planes on their own assumption of authority.
Something is rotten in the Big Apple.
Closing thought: What would the 60's have been like if the kids all had videocameras and they could communicate instantly with each other?