Officers of Avalon Responds to Police Violence in Occupy Movement

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 19, 2011 — 126 Comments

Peter Dybing and Officers of Avalon have responded to police violence in the Occupy Movement:

Over the past several days the membership of Officers of Avalon has become highly concerned with both the images of police actions at Occupy sites and the discussion within the Pagan community about these events. This leaves the organization in the precarious situation of having to find a way to support freedom of expression, arguably a Pagan value, and also support our fellow officers.

For most of the last two months police and the Occupy movement has coexisted in a mostly peaceable atmosphere. Over the last week political leaders across the country made decisions to confront the protesters by directing police departments to enforce curfew, sanitation and nuisance laws. This has resulted in confrontations where a few officers have crossed the line and used unreasonable force. Let us state clearly, Officers Of Avalon believes that the use of excessive force on peaceable protesters is a violation of the rights of protesters, clearly immoral and in extreme cases felonious.

That being said, we are highly concerned that much of the discourse within the Pagan community has become “Anti Police”. The vast majority of police officers in this country are middle class, hardworking, honest and interested serving the public in any way they can. As a group, police officers have also experienced the economic instability, uneven distribution of wealth and severe reduction of opportunity that the current economic situation has caused.

It is not the police who are the enemy of this movement. Many officers in fact support the Occupy movement. Certainly, Pagan police officers clearly support the rights of the protesters to openly express themselves. Holding local officers accountable for the decisions of politicians is both unreasonable and illogical. It is no more reasonable than blaming your local bank teller for the actions of their CEO’s on Wall Street.

Officers of Avalon would clearly like to se a more substantive debate around recent police actions. An example of this is noted in the following passage from a recent Democracy Now report:

“There are many compassionate, decent, competent police officers who do a terrific job day in and day out. There are others who are, quote, ‘bad apples.’ What both of them have in common is that they ‘occupy,’ as it were, a system, a structure that itself is rotten. And I am talking about the paramilitary bureaucracy.”

While Officers Of Avalon takes no stand on the validity of such positions we do applaud the tone that does not vilify the police and leads to real debate.

We call on the community to continue to support your Pagan first responders and not participate in the unnecessary and wrongful vilification of an entire profession based on the actions of a few.

For the Board of OoA,

Peter Dybing
President
Officers of Avalon

The Officers of Avalon is a fraternal, educational, and charitable organization. We seek to provide a community and network for Pagan first responders and to serve as a voice for them. We seek to provide accurate information and improve public perception about Pagan spirituality through education. We seek to defend followers of Pagan spirituality by working against misinformation, discrimination, defamation, harassment and intimidation. We are an outreach to Pagans in the Emergency Services. We also seek to demonstrate that Pagans are a charitable people. To that end, we work on the collection and distribution of donations to communities in need for natural disaster relief. Join us today as an Officer of Avalon or a Friend of Avalon. Details may be found at the website http://officersofavalon.com/

We expect to cover Pagan responses and involvement in the Occupy movement more in the future and look forward to the discussion this engenders.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lupa-Bi/644493626 Lupa Bi

    Thank you for this; I’m glad the OoA have spoken out about the Occupy situation. It never ceases to amaze me when members of one group (pagans) that faces a lot of problems due to stereotyping turn around and subject another group (in this case, police officers as a whole) to another sort of stereotyping. In either group, the badly-behaved (and often more noticeable) members do not represent the entirety.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      “[…M]embers of one group […] that faces a lot of problems due to stereotyping turn around and subject another group […] to another sort of stereotyping.”

      Alas, it *has* ceased to amaze me, though it always makes me cringe. It’s human, all too human.

  • Johnny Lemuria

    Members of the police who do not actively pursue the termination, arrest, and prosecution of their ‘brethren’ when they act in a an illegal or unconstitutional manner are just as guilty as the actual transgressors. We do not just blame the priests that molest; We blame those that cover it up, as well as the institution that facilitates it. We do not just blame the coach that molests; We blame those that cover it up, as well as the institution that facilitates it. The scum that attack 84 year old women and veterans, that torture students whose only crime was sitting down, rate no higher to me than child molesters. And those that cover it up, and the institution(s) that facilitate it, are just as bad.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZC4IW4YGIQYK7P46R7PWEDK7WE Shannon

      Thank you, exactly. There is an institutional culture of corruption, and enablement of corruption that is the problem. It is not the one officer that peppersprays harmless protesters, it is the 100 standing behind him that did nothing to stop it.

  • Slyypper

    *thud*

    how about a little outrage, brothers and sisters

  • http://twitter.com/xxOccupyxx Occupy Everywhere

    While I appreciate this message very much, I must ask the author a direct question:

    If you are a police officer, given an order to don riot gear and pepper-spray and/or arrest peaceful protesters, how are you going to handle that order?

    If only the ‘bad’ officers are committing these brutalities, why do the ‘good’ ones stand by and allow it?

    Understand, I am not being provocative in my questions; I really would like to understand this from some police points of view. Thank you.

    • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

      Officers are not given orders en-masse to Pepper spray protesters, they may be given orders to clear an area, how they do it is dependent on their training and personal integrity. Officers can not choose which laws to enforce. None of us would want to live in a country where they can make that choice, police as judges is a bad idea all around that can lead to tyranny.

      I do not find your questions provocative only slightly uninformed. Should officers abandon their duty at will, we will all pay a terrible price. Where we need to look is the politicians who are ordering these actions and moving the police in like chess pieces.

      • Anonymous

        ‘Just following orders’, right? I think we’ve heard that excuse before. What should officers who disagree with their orders do? Calling in sick would be a good first move. Refusing to obey would be a good second. The pepper spraying of students at UC Davis wasn’t done by one bad cop. ALL of them are culpable… and all of them should pay the price.

        Blog entries like this are another way of excusing what’s being done in the name of ‘the rule of law’. The right of citizens to peacefully protest is in the constitution. I don’t think the rights of cops to beat and pepper-spray citizens IS.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          So…does peaceful protest include deification on cop cars, and throwing bricks, signs, bottles, and other objects at the police? How about storming barricades? Harassing private citizens? Yes, these are the signs of peaceful protest.

          Do officers not have the right to defend themselves? What about enforcing the law? From the sounds of it, you would like to see the police force work much the same way it did in Demolition Man. No swearing, no guns, no violence, and the worst they can do is a strongly worded rebuke, but not too strong, because that’s abusive.

          Look, no one want Judge Dredd here, but seriously, saying that everyone is responsible for the actions of an individual is just as bad as the whole “following orders” thing. You want the ability to say what you want, good. You want to do it in safety? Realize that the only way that rights are protected from those that would take it away is by force. Force against Force. Because if you meet force with pacifism, you might have the moral high ground, but he’s the one that gets to write the rules.

          • Anonymous

            ‘To Protect and Serve’ doesn’t mean spraying pepper spray into the faces and mouths of subdued CITIZENS. What is sickening about the UC Davis videos is the number of cops standing by, like it’s just another day on the police force.

            Do cops have the right to defend themselves? Are you serious? Every photo I’ve seen of Occupy interactions have had the cops protected by Kevlar battle gear. Trust me, I’ve seen that firsthand during anti-war demonstrations in DC.

            Might I suggest that you turn off Fox News and actually think seriously about what these cops are doing in the broader scheme of things? Is THIS how we want things to work in the U.S.? If it is, then it’s already too late for us.

            It’s pretty embarrassing that the Arab Spring seems to be teaching Americans a thing or two about what’s at stake. While they’re fighting for greater liberties, many couch potato Americans sit back on their couches and expound on how ‘losers’ are getting what they deserve for daring to practice their constitutional rights.

            And all the while, the cops become more and more brutal. Where do YOU think this is going?

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Where do I think this is going? No where good, that’s for sure, especially if we’re taking our Que from the Arab Spring. After all, one of the first things to happen in the “Arab Spring” is the mass harassment, persecution, vandalizing, kidnapping, and killing of the Coptics in Egypt. Even as we speak here, at our computers, minorities, women, and many others are watching their rights and safety disappear in the so called “Glorious Arab Spring.” So yeah, if that’s where the lessons are coming from, I think police brutality is the least of our worries as both Pagans and citizens. Their greater liberties? It’s enacting Sharia law and hardline conservative Islam, things that were suppressed by the dictators. Horrible, violent men who some how managed to protect a lot of people who suddenly find themselves under the knife of religious intolerance and totalitarianism.

            Also, I wasn’t watching fox news. I think it was like CNN or something, and youtube. So you’re all too cliche attack on my source material falls flat.

            Also, just because a person is “Subdued” doesn’t mean they’re gonna stop fighting the first chance they get. Kevlar has it’s limits, like all armor. I’m not saying it’s right. Just saying don’t buy the evil cop line.

          • Koivutar

            Deification on cop cars is illegal now? Sheesh, so much for the first amendment!

          • Nick Ritter

            “deification on cop cars”

            Unless you’ve heard that someone is making gods on police vehicles, I think you mean something else.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            sorry, stupid spell check. it was supposed to be defecation

          • Anonymous

            I think your problem is bigger than spell check, you seem to be irony deficient as well. You’re bringing up all these wingnut talking points about violent, filthy protesters and you seem to be making the case that they’re all collectively responsible for the actions of a few, thus justifying the violent response that affects all of them. Yet this call for collective responsibility seems to be absent when a violent few among the cops, such as at UC Davis, take actions that are just as deplorable if not more so since they’re being performed by people charged with the duty of upholding the law and paid to do so.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Enabling an action causes that action to continue. Those protestors who block police from enforcing the law are enabling the violent acts.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            If the police are justified and present to make an arrest, then it is on them to do so. It is not incumbent upon the police to pepper spray and brutalize protesters. The police and others who stand by and allow the brutalization to go unchallenged are those who enable violence. The protesters may be committing civil disobedience, but this is far from requiring the same tactics used to break up prison riots.

      • AnonGuest

        The word “duty” gets twisted around from respecting yourself and others and serving one’s own and the common good to being obedient to anyone writing them a paycheck

      • Anonymous

        Peter, respectfully, the politicians may be making the decisions but that does not absolve anyone who enforces those decisions and it definitely does not absolve them for how they choose to enforce those decisions.

        “Officers are not given orders en-masse to Pepper spray protesters, they may be given orders to clear an area, how they do it is dependent on their training and personal integrity. Officers can not choose which laws to enforce. None of us would want to live in a country where they can make that choice, police as judges is a bad idea all around that can lead to tyranny. ”

        If those officers are choosing to clear that area by pepper-spraying a bunch of sitting kids in the face, they are all ready acting as judges and dispensing punishment as they see fit.

        And let’s be honest here, as sindarintech points out below, it’s not just one rogue cop here and there. Tony Baloney in NYC was an anomaly; wherever the level of force has escalated at the Occupy protests it hasn’t been the actions of just one cop doing his own thing against the wishes of the rest of the cops there. It’s been coordinated action involving just about every cop present. Or worse yet, maybe they don’t even think about whether it’s right or wrong and they just do it because that’s what their peers are doing.

        This is why the “a few bad apples” thing sounds a bit hollow. It doesn’t matter how few of the “bad” ones there are; as long as they can continue to count on the “good” ones to back them up both in the moment and after there might as well not be any good ones. You can’t have it both ways, reminding us of your humanity at one turn and then saying you’re nothing more than pawns of those more powerful at the next. Yes, those higher up the ladder bear some of the responsibility. So do those carrying out their orders, ESPECIALLY if they know those orders are immoral, illegal, or both. You’re either in control of your own actions and capable of policing the actions of those around you, or you are not. We’re not asking you to abandon your duty. We’re asking you to remember it.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Just caught a page on msn.com that two cops have been suspended over the UC Davis pepper spraying scene that went viral. (My system is too primitive to give you a link.) From the text it was not easy to tell if they were city or campus cops.

          • Anonymous

            Aye, read that earlier today. The cynic in me is wondering how many vacation days they’ll lose.

        • Anonymous

          And let’s not forget the code that officers follow not to snitch on their brother officers. That kind of mentality makes it highly unlikely that any officers will stand up against other officers. And, all the while, the media continues to describe the Occupy activists as ‘losers’, ‘rabble-rousers’, people who aren’t willing to work for a living… something I find highly objectionable. Heck, look at some of the replies here! it’s kind of sickening to read so many people (who ought to know better as members of minority faiths) describing the various protests groups in the same terms that conservative Christians describe US. They should be ashamed of themselves.

          Here’s the historical reality: Nothing, absolutely nothing, changes without groups fighting for that change. While there is great diversity among the various Occupy groups, they’re ultimately attempting to raise awareness of injustice within our society. When a very small minority (aka ‘the 1%’) hold the vast majority of the wealth in this nation, it greatly diminishes the ability of other citizens to get a piece of the pie. And with the financial power that comes with being in that 1%, there also comes great political power to ensure they continue to BE the 1%. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that there isn’t a single neo-pagan, heathen, or anyone else reading the Wild Hunt that can claim to be part of the 1%.

          SO WHY ARE WE ALL FIGHTING EACH OTHER? The answer is because that’s how our society is set up. There are still a number of us who turn a blind eye to the injustice in our society, and the greater injustice in our economy. Yet this same group continues to believe the big lie that all we have to do is work hard enough and we’ll be able to build our fortune. This is a politically necessary lie, and it serves to keep us bickering amongst ourselves while the injustices continue. I think that THAT is a damn shame.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZC4IW4YGIQYK7P46R7PWEDK7WE Shannon

        You conflate the arbitrary enforcement of law by the individual officers preference with the decision to enforce a law or order based on its constitutionality.

        The former is unethical, the latter is an essential duty.

        Nobody is saying that the police should enforce the law based on whether or not they feel like it, the issue is that the police are required to evaluate the constitutionality of the law/their orders.

        “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office, it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never never been passed.”
        NortonVs Shelby County
        118 US 425 P 442

        “No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it”
        16 Am Jur 2d, sec 177
        late 2d, sec 256

        “Where rights secured by the constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.”
        Miranda Vs Az

  • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

    The police at-large are not the enemy. When I went to a large Lansing Occupation, the officers were courteous and engaged, were not wearing riot gear, and engaged us all with respect. They even let the Occupation take to the streets around the capitol and do a march, let us Occupy the local park near to the State Capitol, and answered questions when asked. No matter which officer I talked to, the emphasis was on protecting our civil liberties, while also protecting the populace of the city.

    Not all officers conduct themselves anywhere near as well as these awesome men and women of the Lansing PD.

    Officers who use extreme force, who batter, bruise and maim Occupiers, especially without cause, or who seek to stamp down, physically or through intimidation, the voice of the Occupation movement make themselves enemies. They are enemies of Occupiers and other citizens who seek to raise their voice. They are enemies of Occupiers and others who seek to raise awareness of injustice in a time where corporate greed and political corruption run roughshod over those who either cannot pay enough, or don’t know the right people. Officers can make their own personal choices on where to stand on the debates regarding the Occupation movement; what I am saying takes nothing away from that.

    Officers, however, are not automatons when it comes to law enforcement, and the use of force. They are trained on when to use force, in what capacity, and whether or not the use of force is even needed in a given situation. I cannot abide anyone justifying the pepper spraying of students who are merely sitting in disobedience in front of a University. I cannot abide the justification of shooting peaceful demonstrators with rubber bullets. I stand by officers who do right by their fellow citizens. I stand by officers who deploy such weapons only when they are clearly required.

    I appreciate that OoA has issued the statement decrying the extreme use of force on peaceful demonstrators. I hope more officers’ fraternities and organizations take up a similar call.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      What happens if they have cause to use force though? What then?

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        If they have cause to use force then they use it. I’ve already said I support that.

        However, when you have a group of students merely sitting on a sidewalk, or women standing on the street protesting, without due cause to suspect weapons or physical resistance potentially resulting in physical harm to the protester/dissent/etc. or others, that is NOT due cause to use the egregious amount of physical force we have seen used on Occupy protesters. As I said earlier, police are trained in the deployment of non-lethal weapons, and as far as I understand it, the uses don’t include using these weapons on citizens engaged in peaceful, public dissent.

    • Crystal Kendrick

      My tiny little city has great cops as well. Our Occupy movement doesn’t really have a police presence. They show up once a week or so, just long enough to see that nothing much is going on that shouldn’t be and then go back to other duties. It’s kind of nice.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    It is vitally important not to demonize the cops. The most effective strategy is to appeal to police officers as ethical human beings who are part of the same communities as the rest of us. It really helps a lot if you personally know people who are in law enforcement. A lot.

    Public sector workers in general have a crucial role to play in the movement that is developing for greater social justice in the US. We saw in Ohio that the police can be an important ally in the regard when they stood shoulder to shoulder with teachers, firefighters and other unionized public sector workers to defeat the union busing collective bargaining “reforms” proposed by the Republicans.

    The cops are part of the 99%, even though they are sometimes employed to do the dirty work of the 1%.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I was in my twenties in the Sixties, so I remember the role of the police in the Civil Rights and Vietnam marches. That was sharply in my mind when I saw (not as a participant) the much milder police response to the abortion clinic protesters, barricaders and invaders in the Eighties, despite loud complaints. What I’ve seen of the police response to Occupy I would peg, with a few noxious exceptions, as further along in the same direction. I can’t blame the authorities for not tolerating hygenic hazards or crime, nor to police for following those orders.

    I was on an anti-war march in Manhattan in the Vietnam era, and our line had to be interrupted to let cross-traffic pass. I recall one cop holding back (as it were) a phalanx of marchers curb to curb and a block long. I was at the front of the crowd and could tell the cop was nervous. I wished I could have offered reassurance, but didn’t know how without potentially making things worse.

    I remember Kent State, and the tragedy within the tragedy that there were kids on both sides of the guns, and that this was seldom recognized. I would hope for awareness of the commonality on both sides of the badge this time.

    • Unconfirmed

      Maybe its complying with police orders which prevented you from stopping the war. The 60s peace movement failed to stop the Vietnam War.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        The anti-war movement helped coalesce popular opposition that made continuance of the war impossible. Had we rioted we would have been popular pariahs — the small number who did commit principled vandalism got that rep — and the war would have been longer.

        • Unconfirmed

          Continuance of the war was made impossible by the fact that you cant destroy a peoples army when they are well armed, well funded, and deeply entrenched in their homeland whose populace is on their side. Also, there were riots in the 60s. Plenty of them. They were larger than riots today in fact. And I have yet to see a riot at any occupations. “Take Off Your Riot Gear, We Don’t See No Riot Here!” is a regular chat at the occupations.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            The anti-war movement by and large did not riot; the “Bring the War Home” faction was loud but minuscule.

            It was true at the beginning of the war that you can’t destroy a well-equipped, well-rooted people’s army. That fact alone did not prevent the war and did not, by itself, stop the war. What stopped the war was rejection by the American people.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Actually, we could have destroyed their army, but no one wanted to use Nukes, thank the gods.

            And personally I don’t blame the cops for not taking of the armor. :P

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Yes, the US could have gone nuclear, and there was constant nervousness that it might yet, but it was constraint by the Realpolitik of both international and domestic reaction.

            I don’t know enough of the specifics of any Occupy situation to know if police armor was appropriate or oppressive. I sure as heck am not going to get a clear picture from anyone posting here. :-D

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Really? I thought it was aggression from hostiles that failed to stop the Viet Nam war, and protestors who prevented the U.S. from winning the Viet Nam war.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          The protestors can’t catch a break. They are portrayed by revisionists as either having no effect at all or as treasonously undermined the war effort. ;-)

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      “I can’t blame the authorities for not tolerating hygenic hazards or crime, nor to police for following those orders.”

      I’ve been trying to point that out recently, and have been met with denial that there’s any crime connected to the Occupy movement.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        AC, the comment of yours that I get by email is different from this one that it links back to.

        In any event, we can disagree about how much crime there is in the Occupy moverment but agree on how it should be handled.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          That may be a Disqus thing, Baruch. Try using the button to have comments sorted from oldest to newest at the top of the comments column on TWH. Then they seem to appear in order.

  • val bobincheck

    I read this article and was nodding my head in agreement, until I continued reading my updates on the OWS movement at UC Davis. I am sorry, but when I watched the many videos, my blood began to boil. Here in Spokane, WA, our police are under federal investigation for so many fatal shootings. I no longer trust the police. They are more a force to be feared than looked to for help.

  • Vhelen

    Thank you, Peter. I have been concerned by the anti-police rhethoric. I support the protests, but I have begun to worry that people are photo shopping photos of people being pepper sprayed. At least one or two I have seen seem suspicious to me

  • http://www.elementforge.com Adrian Hawkins

    From theiacp.org

    On my honor,
    I will never betray my badge1,
    my integrity, my character,
    or the public trust.
    I will always have
    the courage to hold myself
    and others accountable for our actions.
    I will always uphold the constitution2
    my community3 and the agency I serve.
    http://storify.com/adbusters/police-brutality

    Honor means that one’s word is given as a guarantee.
    Betray is defined as breaking faith with the public trust.
    Badge is the symbol of your office.
    Integrity is being the same person in both private and public life.
    Character means the qualities that distinguish an individual.
    Public trust is a charge of duty imposed in faith toward those you serve.
    Courage is having the strength to withstand unethical pressure, fear or danger.
    Accountability means that you are answerable and responsible to your oath of office.
    Community is the jurisdiction and citizens served.

    http://storify.com/adbusters/police-brutality
    These cops have made their choice. They chose safety of their jobs and violence over the right thing to do.

    If the cops are sympathetic they should strike.

    • Sindocat

      I am sure many police are sympathetic. But a police strike could have terrible repercussions in terms of emergency response and so on. I think that far and away, most of what police actually do is work that needs doing. I would love to see statements from organizations such as the FOP. I’d love to see officers come and talk with protesters, get involved in the General Assemblies.

      But I don’t think a police strike would help. I think if anything it could badly damage the effectiveness of the Occupy movement, which I fully support.

      • http://www.elementforge.com Adrian Hawkins

        How would it hurt the Occupy Protests if they cops went on strike?

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          It wouldn’t hurt the protests, but ordinary citizens would experience a rampant crime wave, and we’d either have martial law or vigilante justice, because ordinary Americans aren’t just gonna lay back and accept criminal behavior. Not in a country when nearly every family has a gun.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            I’ve never seen a cop in my neighborhood and we aren’t currently experiencing a crime wave. Lack of supervision doesn’t translate into criminal behaviour. Perhaps you should exhibit a bit more faith in your fellow humans.

            Not only that, most of the people I know don’t own a gun and don’t want one. Canadians have more guns than we do. They just aren’t as obsessed with them.

          • Anonymous

            It must be nice living somewhere crime free and safe. Many, if not most of us have to live in the real world instead. I live in fourth most violent city in the US. Faith in my fellow humans gets me mugged and my wife and daughter raped. While I put more faith in the power of my Glock 23 and my Mossberg 500 to keep my family safe than in the police, the idea that a strike by police anywhere with a significant population would result in anything but violent anarchy is beyond laughable.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            Folcwald, well done. You are officially more badass than me. Do you have to walk uphill in the snow to get to work as well?

          • Anonymous

            Nice way to evade my point, which I will restate: It is nice that apparently in some places without police presence you don’t have to worry about crime. Those places are exceptions. The rule is that in much of the world if you take the police out of the equation, as Adrian’s suggestion of a strike by police would do, you will inevitably get an increase in violence. “Have faith in your fellow humans” is not a response to this reality.

    • Pent69

      I’m not sure they’re allowed to strike. An old math teacher of mine who is/was a pillar in her union told us they were unable to, however the bus drivers union could and did. It’s a state by state thing. The important part is to VOTE.

  • Adam

    Greetings to my brothers and sisters across the Ocean from Pagans in THe Home office. WE were once teh UK Border Agency Pagan Association but have now grown to encompass all pagans in the Home Office. I suppose we are lucky in the UK especially London , that there has been no violence between the police and the occupiers. THe Occupiers for there part distance themselves from any of the more confrontational aspects of anarchists and the type of criminatlity that brought the biggest riots ever to London about 2 months ago.
    I suppose I should be thankful I live in sleepy laid back England.

  • Sindocat

    One of the points I have tried to bring to Occupy is “Cops are Union Workers, Too”. An adversarial relationship with the police, whose job is public safety and law enforcement, is misdirected.

    Here in Ohio, we recently overturned a measure by our state legislature that would have stripped police (as well as teachers, nurses and firefighters among others) of their rights to collective barganing. Maybe that issue made us see the police as allies whose job simply happened to entail crowd control around our encampment. Then again, I am not sure how clearly my message got through.

    I think is is vital to have this discussion regarding law enforcement and civil disobedience and the misplaced conflict this can generate. I would like to see this discussed in our General Assemblies (where these are still able to convene). I’d like to see police officers come be a part of that discussion, as well.

  • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

    Okay, let me start this off by saying I’m not really a fan of the police. One could argue I play for “team evil” half the time and on a philosophical level I’m not really a big fan of “Law.” That said, I do recognize the need for Law in society and accept that it, like so many other things i’m not always a fan of, have their place and their purpose in this world.

    That said, I question the reports of police brutality in regards to this OWS movement. Generally, police brutality gets plastered across the news, and honestly that hasn’t been shown. Also, I question the “peaceful” nature of the OWS, especially because of the posted videos (often by OWS) on youtube tend to look a bit violent at times.

    I see a lot of anti-police rhetoric in the comments. Most of it looks like people got their view of the cops in the sixties and never bothered to update. People, this is not the sixties. They aren’t out there with the dogs and the fire hoses attacking the peaceful little people. The protestors are not the peaceful hippies of the sixties either. These are people raised on Anonymous, rock music, liberal educations, and violent comics and games and movies. They aren’t “free love and peace”. They’ve been lied too, brain washed, used, and sold a bill of goods that turned up sour. We were told we had to go to college, that we didn’t want the manual labor jobs, that such things were shameful, that we could get more money and better jobs with an education, so we did it, and guess what, they ain’t there. They don’t know how to get along with a bunch of people with different points of view. They tweet and facebook and find people just like themselves, they form tribes and organizations that are more exclusionary than those they claim are “exclusive”.

    This ain’t the sixties with their evil police and noble protestors. This is the 2000s, with our generally much nobler (if still somewhat assholish cops) and a bunch of protestors who have more in common with the generation of young people that gave you the Bolshevik revolution. So I ask people to remember their larger histories, and not just the ones fed you by the pretty tv and that liberal arts professor who’s had a hard on against the cops ever since they took their weed and doused them in water.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      “Generally, police brutality gets plastered across the news, and honestly that hasn’t been shown.”

      It simply does not fit the narrative the mainstream media is playing right now. When and if any shots of these protesters appear being mistreated or outright beaten by police, it is often with a boatload of justification heaped on top of it.

      “They aren’t out there with the dogs and the fire hoses attacking the peaceful little people.”

      Nope, they’re out there with rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and batons. They’ve used them, and they’ll keep using them if they’re not otherwise ordered.

      “They aren’t “free love and peace”.”

      Perhaps not, but on the whole the movement at large has been quite disciplined about making sure everyone is on the page of non-violence.

      “This is the 2000s, with our generally much nobler…the generation of young people that gave you the Bolshevik revolution.”

      There are gross oversimplifications here. This isn’t the sixties, but if you think that things have gotten better, overall, for people on any side of this Occupation movement other than the 1% you’re kidding yourself. What about ‘free speech zones’? They existed in the sixties, and they exist today. Also, I would say it is quite a stretch to judge at all whether that our police today are any more or less noble than in the sixties. Not being alive back then, I haven’t the faintest idea.

      “So I ask people to remember their larger histories, and not just the ones fed you by the pretty tv and that liberal arts professor who’s had a hard on against the cops ever since they took their weed and doused them in water.”

      What larger history am I supposed to be remembering? I’m not even sure of what you’re trying to imply here. Not sure what you’re trying to get at, beyond possible straw men and non-sequitors with the comment on liberal arts professors.

      • http://www.elementforge.com Adrian Hawkins
      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        History that goes back further than say the sixties. Like say the forties, thirties, on back. Look to the history of the revolutions, not just here in America, but in France and Russia. Look to the rise of governments after the Great Depression.

        Society seems to me to have gotten fixated on the history we get from the TV and Movies. This is understandable, it looks real. But despite the fact that we all look at the 50’s like it was Leave it to Beaver, and the sixties with the news clips of protests, hippies, and civil rights, it is important to remember that those are just as much processed and prepackaged as the news we get now.

        Also, It isn’t that much of an over simplification, and frankly a lot of things have gotten better for the “99%” since the sixties. To insist that only the 1% has benefited is really the grossest and most incorrect assumption, far worse than me saying my gen has more in line with the Bolsheviks than the hippies. For instance, since the sixties, everyone who is a legal citizen can vote in an election. Pretty much all houses have indoor bathrooms (not the case back in the sixties) we have equal rights. Hel, We have affirmative action just to make sure that certain people aren’t screwed out of jobs. The general income of pretty much everyone has increased, the technology in households certainly has. Healthcare has. Admittedly, education has fallen across the board, but that is a different topic. So on and so forth.

        • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

          I fully agree with you that history goes back further, and is definitely more than the prepackaged news. I’m woefully under-educated about the revolutions in Russia and France, so this is a part that I will need to do more reading and research on to see your point.

          Neither to OWS nor I am saying that things have only benefited the 1%. What we are saying is that they have benefited them the most to the overall degradation of the 99%. Sure, many of us might have indoor plumbing, awesome heating systems, etc. Many of us are looking at downright losing it.

          The 1% do not need to worry about their homes being taken from them because they were signed onto bad deals with their mortgage, or their company shut down operations here and moved to Mexico, leaving them, their family, and community devastated. The 1% are not making the choice between an operation, medication, or food. The 1% have tax loopholes practically given to them on a platter, and the income disparity is to the point where a CEO can make easily 200x the lowest worker’s wage. This lowest worker, unlike the CEO and other 1% may well be on food stamps because shi cannot make it based on the meager salary they are given. They might have to take another job or two just so they can stay in the cramped little apartment that they are in, or keep their heads above a rising mortgage.

          In the sixties you could work for a company, have the spouse stay home with the kids, and have a good life. This is simply untenable in most cases now. We may have a lot of awesome advantages over citizens in the Sixties, but a great many of those advantages are eroding, if not crashing around our ears. The social safety is being torn apart, while those who are without a job and left to look for years are told just to suck it up and pull it up by our bootstraps….which we would be happy to do if we didn’t have to boil them for food.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Alchemist, a lot of the improvements you qualify as being “since the Sixties” have come about *because* of what happened during the Sixties, especially voting rights.

          It is true that the 99% is better off than in 1960 but not so much so than in 1980; real wages have been flat since then.

          It’s evident you didn’t live through the Sixties. No shame in that, but you might listen with more respect to those who did and whose experiences were direct and not mediated by today’s news forms.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            I grant respect, Baruch, but I also feel that having not lived through the sixties (which was an experience, apparently) that I do have some objectivity about it and what happened. I don’t have colored glasses, for both good and ill. By not living through it i don’t have the emotional attachments, but I also don’t have the eye witness nature.

            For instance the police thing. No I didn’t live through the police brutality of the sixties, so I don’t know what it was like first hand. But it also doesn’t color how I view the police and their actions today.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      “We were told we had to go to college, that we didn’t want the manual labor jobs, that such things were shameful, that we could get more money and better jobs with an education, so we did it, and guess what, they ain’t there.”

      Meanwhile, the people who trained for and got the manual labor jobs, who invested their savings, who ARE successful, are being sneered at by those with the college degrees, and used by those in the 1%. Sorry, but I had to point that out.

      • Crystal Kendrick

        Not by everyone. Recently I’ve been having conversations with lots of educated friends where we’ve been mourning the fact we didn’t all become plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. I am not being facetious at all. I’ve also had conversations where I’ve warned people against going to college if they only want a better paying job. I can’t fault anyone for wanting an education for the sake of acquiring knowledge.

    • http://godsrbored.blogspot.com anne johnson

      Norse, I don’t remember seeing you say how old you are. I remember the 1960s and early 1970s. This reminds me of that time in spades. For every peaceful hippie, there were many hot-headed renegades.

      What we have now is a situation that becomes inevitable when the distribution of wealth becomes fantastically uneven, and educated young people can’t support themselves. My question is this: What will the Occupiers do if they’re just left alone and allowed to protest without the massive police presence? Are they going to storm the Morgan Stanley building and start murdering office workers? What is the fear here, exactly?

      I live near, and work in, Camden, NJ. Let me just say to the OOA and every other fraternal order of police that each time a YouTube goes up of police officers pepper spraying protesters, the life of a Camden policeman gets that much cheaper. Think of your brethren on the front lines and just let the Occupiers crap on lawns and tie up traffic a bit. They will go away. The ill will won’t.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        “…just let the Occupiers crap on lawns and tie up traffic a bit. They will go away.”

        So, Anne, I can just pitch my tent in your living room, and crap in the corner of your dining room, and break your windows, and threaten, spit on and shove your family, and obstruct you from going to work, and shoot heroin and steal all your wedding silver to pay for it, and you won’t feel the least little impulse to call the police and evict me?

        And if I resist arrest, and get pepper sprayed, it’ll be the police officer’s fault, right? And you’ll be in the wrong, too, because after all your family makes more money than mine, so I’ve clearly got a reason to take over your house.

        Welcome to anarchy.

        • Crystal Kendrick

          I suggest you go to an Occupy event before you repeat these claims, Alice. These stories seem wildly fantastic.

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        Arguably, the distribution of wealth has always been “fantastically uneven” throughout history. As wealth is often an extension of Power, and Power tends to gather into the hands of certain individuals, so too will wealth follow. Even in systems designed not to allow this to happen, it occurs (look at the Communist countries, both past and present).

        Yet interestingly, we also have the highest quality of life ever.

        This situation has not arisen from an inevitability due to the concentration of wealth. If anything, it is due to the concentration of power in the hands of certain people who having seen their opponent organize, seeks to do the same, on both a conscious and subconscious level.

        “My question is this: What will the Occupiers do if they’re just left alone and allowed to protest without the massive police presence? Are they going to storm the Morgan Stanley building and start murdering office workers? What is the fear here, exactly?”

        In a short word: That is a high possibility. let me explain.

        We have a large group of people and as any Psych 101 class will tell you, this lead to “Mob Think.” Now, while this might not be a problem if say the speakers to the “mob” were peaceful, the speakers I’ve seen rarely are that. There’s a lot of anger at these Protests, they feel they have been wronged, and all it takes is a single spark, and suddenly the mob is awoken, aroused, angry, and out for blood. They will not see the individual workers, they will see only faces of the company.

        Doubt this, here’s an experiment for you and everyone else here. Go to a store, and find an employee. They will be wearing a uniform most likely, possibly with a name badge. However, will you truly see that employee? Will you consider them a person with hopes, dreams, and the feeling that their job is slowly crushing the life out of them? Or will you simply see a “Face” to that company. If that working stiff is rude to you, will it not effect how you view that company?

        Now, let’s say you pass the test and you “see” the person. Good for you! Now, observe how other people interact with that employee, or other employees. Do they see “people” or “Faces?” Try watching customers who are angry. Do they see “people?” 99% will no doubt see only the “face of the company.”

        How do I know this? Two ways. One: reports of “rudeness” from “service people” is on the rise and Two: I’m on the other side of the counter, and they don’t see me. They see Who I Work For. If one employee did something, they don’t care that it was someone else, I get yelled at for it. If I do something, my fellow workers get yelled at.

        No, put a large group of angry people together. Get them going. They go into a building, they aren’t going to see Maggie the bank teller with a kid at home and a troubled marriage. No, they will see only an “Face” of the “Banks that Screwed them!” They won’t see Harold, over worked corporate stiff whose wife is cheating on him, they’ll just see a face of a stock broker who “robbed them to be part of the 1%”

        Right now we have police and barricades and the knowledge (and practice of rubber bullets and tear gas) to keep the OWS from getting too stoked up (but even that is failing, slowly). What happens if we take the police away? Then there is no check. The more radical and violent elements will not be contained, they will be free to roam, and they will spark. Then mob think takes over, as anger at one’s place in life, mixed with the stress of living in a crowded area with too many angry people, all mix up with angry words about people that “done you wrong” living in comfort.

        Boom.

        “Think of your brethren on the front lines and just let the Occupiers crap on lawns and tie up traffic a bit. They will go away. The ill will won’t. ”

        The ill will isn’t going to go away if the police do. I don’t know what “brethren” you speak of, but be it police or OWS i find no brothers in either. Just let the OWS crap on lawns and tie up traffic, ’cause they’ll go away? What reason would they have to go away?

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      “This ain’t the sixties with their evil police and noble protestors.”

      You accuse people of holding a simplistic view of the Sixties while you yourself cling to one.

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        I was more commenting to the stereotype than the reality there, Baruch :/

    • AnonGuest

      I really love how there’s an assumption there are lots of manual labor (factory / construction /farm /cleaning types) to be had that pay a living wage for citizens and people just rejected doing them.
      The fewer than is needed manual labor jobs are often taken by non-citizens who though they lack the benefits some citizens get from said work get the benefit that they don’t have to apply and fill out forms and applications.

      The economy depended on citizens being able to do manual labor jobs. They can’t, because they come out of school with no actual skills for said work. They can’t because said jobs are sent overseas and now all the factories are closed. They can’t because if they took the usual, they would work all day without benefits and still couldn’t feed their families.
      40% of the profitting in the US economy been made instead in the financial sector, and not by the bank tellers, but those ripping off the “average” person with debt costs, fees, and a trillion from the government and public. This is why people are looking at banks, the stock market, lenders, real estate (also known as “land” though nobody calls it that because that sounds too feudal) speculators, etc. and though their message is often confused and diluted, this deserves protest.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Actually, it is still relatively easy to start a small business here in America. Why be dependent on others to give you a manual labor job? Be your own employer.

        I don’t feel too much sympathy with today’s college graduates who can’t find work. If young people educated themselves in useful professions, such as computer science, auto mechanics, medical technology, instead of something like religious studies, history or “women’s studies”, they’d be more likely to get a job.

        If we ejected all of the illegal aliens, we’d be more likely to place Americans in manual labor positions. But liberals constantly reject this option for “compassion”. Seems to me that compassion is grossly misplaced.

        Agreed that banks are charging unreasonable fees and high interest, hence banks and corporations must be stripped of their “personhood” status. How is a protest going to solve that problem? Marching in the streets, camping in parks, waving placards and chanting slogans will not lower interest rates or fees, will not remove the entity status of corporate businesses. Lawsuits and working to change legislation actually works.

        • Crystal Kendrick

          “I don’t feel too much sympathy with today’s college graduates who can’t find work. If young people educated themselves in useful professions, such as computer science, auto mechanics, medical technology, instead of something like religious studies, history or “women’s studies”, they’d be more likely to get a job.” If you repeat it often enough it will become true. I know many who have very practical degrees who can’t find work. I have a relative who has a degree in computer science who used to make a good profit who now works as a repair guy in a big box store making peanuts. That’s all there is for him. And it’s easy to start a business? Really? Business loans are hard to get these days particularly during such rough economic times. Secondly, it’s hard to keep a business afloat right now. Nearly every family-owned small business in my town has had to close its doors. The people who care about such businesses have had to cut back so much we can hardly support our locals anymore. But please keep repeating the myths. They’re very comforting.

        • Anonymous

          Wow, over-generalize much? You’re making a lot of assumption with your statement about graduate majors. I work in software development and can tell you that U.S. corporations have been shipping IT jobs to India and China for the last decade. I know a number of highly qualified developers who can’t get jobs. This isn’t just an IT issue either. Engineers and scientists are under-empliyed as well.

          Sure, there are many students who have majored in less desirable majors. But I don’t think there’s evidence to support your opinion that they’re in the majority.

          It’s amazing to read someone spouting off the typical Fox News statements on a forum for pagan news. Actually, what you’re doing is probably more like regurgitation, but let’s not quibble over details.

          Regarding your final point: I think that the evidence would point out the fallacy in your argument. If OWS never existed, the issues they raise wouldn’t be getting talked about. That’s what social protest is about… but maybe they covered that in one of those ‘liberal’ college courses you missed out on.

    • val bobincheck

      I notice a change in perspective in your letter; “They’ve been lied took brain washed, used and sold a bill of goods that turned up sour. WE were told we had to go to college, that WE didn’t want the manual labor jobs, that such things were shameful, that WE could get more money and better jobs with an education, so we did it and guess what, they ain’t there.” So YOU must also be part of the 99%, but would rather identify with the 1%. If you make less than 6 figures and cook your own meals and pay your own bills, you are only a cog in the machine as well, no matter how much you would like to pretend otherwise. You will never be part of that group. Perhaps that is why so many others form their own exclusionary tribes…they are emulating what you tell them is so exemplary about the 1%.

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        Uh, no I don’t really identify with the 1% there. The main point was that I managed to avoid most of the brainwashing that went on. XP

  • Charles Cosimano

    I’ll take this seriously when they come forward to testify against the bad ones.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    I would like to ask the Officers of Avalon, and other law enforcement personnel, if they believe they’re being obstructed by Occupy protestors when there is a legitimate reason to enforce the law.

    I have been reading, viewing and hearing about “crime waves” in cities as a result of the Occupy movement, both within certain camps and as a result of police having to monitor protestors rather than protect the citizens of the cities. And I wonder why politicians are being blamed for police actions, when ordinary citizens are calling upon those politicians and police officers to enforce the law?

    Also wish to stress that most of the protestors seem to be non-violent and law abiding. However, they do seem to be enabling those who break the law.

  • Tara Miller

    Peter, perhaps you could host a discussion panel with Officers of Avalon and Pagan activists who have been to the camps such as T. Thorn Coyle and Star hawk. It would be an opportunity for the community to learn more about what it’s like to be a Police Officer (what is and isn’t under their control) and to learn about the views of activists. There are a lot of topics that could be covered such as how activists and police can communicate more effectively, how to address members of the force or protesters who become aggressive.

    • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

      If someone were willing to help work out the details I would be happy to.

      • Tara Miller

        Great. I shared my comment with T. Thorn Coyle on her blog and she asked me to coordinate. I’ll send out some emails to get things started. When members of the Pagan Media interviewed Gary Johnson they used a Google+ hangout and recorded it. That would be a good route. Tara “Masery” Miller http://www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/

    • Anonymous

      What a great idea.

  • Obsidia

    It’s true….everytime we make sweeping statements: ALL policemen, ALL occupiers, ALL pagans, ALL christians, ALL witches, ALL americans, ALL chinese, ALL women, ALL men, etc……everytime we do this, we are not talking about the truth.

    It’s better to speak of those certain specific individuals who perform certain acts.

    Each individual must look into his or her own heart and deal with their own situation. May each of us be filled with true courage and true clear understanding. We are all part of All-That-Is, and we can come through this challenge with more love, more wisdom, more spiritual connections, than ever before.

  • Anonymous

    I just want to know why more officers and politicians aren’t standing up to the violence. The police are following orders to beat protestors bloody with batons, shoot them with rubber bullets and spray tear gas canisters at them (shrapnel damage.) Its a disgusting level of violence and this is sending the message that it is okay to beat unarmed individuals. We must all remember Gandhi and stand up to the brutality with non violence but people in positions of authority should be standing up for the rights of Americans. Unfortunately the silence of president Obama seems to say that he doesn’t think our safety is as important as corporations bottom line.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

    The police are not getting orders to abuse protesters, there is no evidence of that. Individual officers have chosen to exceed their authority and acted badly, they need to be held accountable. We are Peace Officers!

    “orders to beat protesters bloody” How can you make such a statement with no evidence.

    • kenneth

      I suspect the more likely problem is that some of these departments are not getting orders NOT to to abuse protesters. If departmental and public leadership does not set a clear and consistent expectation of professionalism and reasonable force, the bad apples will run riot, so to speak. I doubt there’s any order per se to beat protesters, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the message from mayors on down to watch commanders was “do whatever has to be done.”

      This is, at some level, a problem that all of us created in this society. After 9/11, a majority of Americans either vocally supported or turned a blind eye to policies of torture, pre-emptive violence, even extrajudicial killings of anyone our government felt was “the enemy.” Those chickens are coming home to roost. A government that is absolved of any accountability and encouraged to learn violence as a primary tool of human relations sooner or later is not going to lose a lot of sleep over the citizenship of the people they’re using it against.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1006464595 Cathryn Bauer

    I’m also glad to see this statement. I consider myself generally supportive of law enforcement while acknowledging that, first, there are good and bad people in absolutely every profession; second, that there are some very troubled law enforcement agencies in the SF Bay Area where leadership and lines of authority are reportedly unclear; and that the use of force by law enforcement throughout the United States and elsewhere needs an exhaustive re-evaluation. My personal solution would include a massive infusion of trained personnel working in and with law enforcement in the areas of training and education, as well as clear cooperation and support from City Hall and the District Attorney’s Office in all locales. I have had numerous opportunities in family and civil courtrooms to see psychology professionals defuse situations and teach conflict resolution. I routinely greeted mediation teams who came to the courtroom with, “Hi, heroes,” a title they well deserved. There are fewer of them now given recent budget cuts.

    I greatly admire OoA and would be a member if court reporters qualified. I sympathize with Mr. Dybing. And I am especially sorry for the many caring and intelligent law enforcement personnel I have encountered in my career as a court reporter and also at several protest actions I have been part of. They do not deserve the inevitable backlash that the behavior of officers at UC Berkeley have brought on their peers. But it is inevitable. The prosecution of those who used deadly force on nonviolent, nonthreatening protesters is not only legally and morally right, but mandatory if there is to be any improvement in attitudes toward police. I do not believe that we have any business opposing those who speak angrily about law enforcement until this happens.

    I believe the most constructive action we can take at this time is to call for prosecution of those “few officers who have crossed the line and used unreasonable force.” We also need to call for better screening, training, and education of all law enforcement personnel in nonviolent solutions. Our elected representatives need to hear that change in this direction is a top priority.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s not forget the code that officers follow not to snitch on their brother officers. That kind of mentality makes it highly unlikely that any officers will stand up against other officers. And, all the while, the media continues to describe the Occupy activists as ‘losers’, ‘rabble-rousers’, people who aren’t willing to work for a living… something I find highly objectionable. Heck, look at some of the replies here! it’s kind of sickening to read so many people (who ought to know better as members of minority faiths) describing the various protests groups in the same terms that conservative Christians describe US. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Here’s the historical reality: Nothing, absolutely nothing, changes without groups fighting for that change. While there is great diversity among the various Occupy groups, they’re ultimately attempting to raise awareness of injustice within our society. When a very small minority (aka ‘the 1%’) hold the vast majority of the wealth in this nation, it greatly diminishes the ability of other citizens to get a piece of the pie. And with the financial power that comes with being in that 1%, there also comes great political power to ensure they continue to BE the 1%. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that there isn’t a single neo-pagan, heathen, or anyone else reading the Wild Hunt that can claim to be part of the 1%.

    SO WHY ARE WE ALL FIGHTING EACH OTHER? The answer is because that’s how our society is set up. There are still a number of us who turn a blind eye to the injustice in our society, and the greater injustice in our economy. Yet this same group continues to believe the big lie that all we have to do is work hard enough and we’ll be able to build our fortunes so that, one day, WE too can be part of the 1%. This is a politically necessary lie, and it serves to keep us bickering amongst ourselves while the injustices continue. I think that THAT is a damn shame.

  • Daylanofguardiansgrove

    I find it very interesting that this entire column discussed the occupy movement and the few police officers that may have stepped over the line but doesn’t ever touch on the facts of all the violence, aggressiveness, destruction of both private property and disruption of small businesses that these supposedly honorable people are perpetrating. I fully support the first amendment and every individuals right to speak his/her mind. I do not support a mob mentality that operates with an attitude of moral self-righteousness that empowers them to break the law, tresspass, destroy private or public property and in general show themselves to be poor citizens of this country. The Tea Party gatherings have been nothing like these unruly gatherings and there is no excuse for it. I am a Pagan and I have served my country for 30 years in the military and out. My father served twenty years, going to vietnam twice whether he wanted to or not. My grandfather served in WWII and Korea. I find it shameful that you comment on “uneven distribution of wealth” yet not one peep over the horrible conduct of the Occupy groups.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Bless you for your comment and thank you for your service.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Dylan, the press release is from a police organization. It is not about the demeanor of the occupiers. That’s what comments are for.

      Thank you for your service.

  • Uncle Draggi

    I just read every comment below, including ones that just made me shake my head at the apparent “cluelessness” of the poster. Oh, well, as the saying goes, “Opinions are like a$$….. – everyone has one.” I’m going to =try= to keep my ‘opinions’ generic enough that =any=one- can think about them. YMMV, of course.

    1. **Not all police officers act like or condone “the few bad apples”, etc, etc, blah blah blah.** Okay, that’s a fair statement, I guess .. but it deliberately ignores a -large- “pebble in one’s shoe”: “All that is needed for Evil to triumph is for Good Men to say/do nothing.” -Where- are the ‘noble’ police officers who are -publicly- calling out “the few bad apples”? =WHERE= =are= =they=?!! Silence is the same, effectively, as condoning, enabling, accepting (whatever the evil is). If you neither say nor do =any=thing- to put a stop to “the few bad apples”, you have essentially just become one of them, by -your- -own- =choice=! If you do not -publicly- speak out, I have no more sympathy for you than for “the few”, because you have =chosen= to condone, to accept what they’re doing by your very silence.

    2. **Police officers have the right to protect themselves from harm.** That’s true enough .. but falls apart under closer examination (in these many situations). An officer has steel-toed footwear, a bullet-proof (±) vest, and may have a helmet with or without visor. The officer also has a sidearm with one or more reloads, a baton or club-like device, and pepper spray and/or a tazer device of one form or another. A protester has -none- of these things .. yet the officers (the “few” -or- the ‘noble’) are afraid for -their- safety from a bunch of kids sitting down and not saying anything?! Riiiiiiight! These officers are either so -incompetent- they should resign =immediately=, or they’re throwing horse$#it in your face like they’re swamping out a stable. Personally, I think it’s the latter in order to CYA, nothing more .. because anything less is just plain laughable, at best.

    3. **No one has (as far as the public knows or can determine) =ordered= the police to bust heads, etc, etc, blah blah blah.** Very well, let’s presume for the sake of discussion this statement is true and accurate. (I highly doubt it, for reasons I won’t go into, but for the sake of discussion…) First, I, =personally=, have plenty of experience/knowledge of how orders can and have been given without actually “officially” giving any [US Army, 1963-66, for starters]. I’m also sure most of you are aware of “Will no one rid me of this pesky priest?!” Secondly, if the officers ‘busting heads’, et al, are simply doing this on their own and/or because this is all their training has prepared them to do .. what does this say about the quality of training they’re getting -and- the best choices they can come up with in the field?! If -either- of these is true, the officers are too incompetent to be turned loose in public!

    4. **There’s no =proof= of almost anything the police are accused of doing (even when the results are staring you in the face).** For starters, “Omerta”, or the police equivalent, does not ‘excuse’ a damn thing, period. Neither does “spinning” or out-right ignoring what one doesn’t want to see/hear. How many times has ‘nothing been proven’ because the participants/witnesses have maintained a solid front of ‘The Three Monkeys’ .. yet years, decades later it all falls apart when one person’s conscience finally forces him to tell the truth about what -really- happened? And this doesn’t even go into the “Colonel Oliver North School of Lack of Evidence/Proof”! [>For those of you too young to remember, this means deliberately destroying the proof needed to prove (whatever it is). In Col. North’s case, he simply locked the door and began shredding/destroying records. Everyone -knew- what he was doing, but it =some=how- took over 24 hours for ‘the authorities’ to decide to break down the door! By then, of course, you couldn’t even prove what time of day it was .. figuratively speaking.<]

    5. **Video postings to various sites are falsely/misleadingly selective – 'everyone knows' some protesters -are- violent a/o provocative, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.** Misleading? Sorry, but -even- =one= out-of-control cop is too many! Harsh? No, it's not, because the police, for 'better' or for 'worse', regardless of how anyone wants to 'spin' it, have a very, -very- great deal of 'power', and with great power comes greater responsibility. If you can't, or =won't=, properly handle the responsibility, don't take the power, period, full stop! As for 'violent' protesters, we have a serious "problem". Various police agencies =themselves= have -publicly- -admitted- they've use 'provocateurs' to try to cause trouble which would then be used as excuses to bust heads, et al .. so how can we -know- with =any= certainty who is =really= causing whatever so-called violence the protesters are being accused of?!

    I could go on and on with this, but, frankly, if you haven't figured out what I'm trying to say by now (or if you only like to argue for argument's sake), well, have a nice evening…….

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      Oh let’s do this, just for the sake of argument. ;)

      1. Good and Evil are a matter of perspective. You say all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. You say the cops who do nothing to stop the “brutality” are as responsible for the “evil” of the police brutality as those that commit it. Alright, fair enough. But what if we flip the perspective as a thought experiment, and say that those cops who are “brutal” are actually the ones doing something to stop “evil” (in the form of mobs wanting to harass law abiding citizens, attack people simply because they make more money, or overturn the government?) What then? Who then is “good” and who is “Evil?”

      2. The existence of superior armor and weapons means nothing in the realities of defending oneself from violence. History is littered with less equipped mobs defeating groups with superior arms and armor. The first use of the English longbow, for instance, by men wearing cloth armor, wiped out the superior armed and armored French Knights come to fight them. Look up a weapon called the guddendag (sp?) which I believe is from Finland. A giant wooden club with spikes, used by peasant against armed knights. It wiped the floor with them. Look at most of the revolutions in history, civilians armed with little more than brick and clubs destroyed armies and police. So the fact that the police have guns and Kevlar doesn’t mean defacto that they are roboocop or Ironman. They’re flesh and blood and can be easily killed.

      3. The whole “secret orders” thing is all nice and very Tom Cruise (YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!) and yes it exists. That said, we must deal currently with that which can be proven (not with what amounts to a conspiracy theory).

      4. Videos can be edited. We’ve got vids of the protestors and the cops both being violent. Everyone has an agenda. You can scream Olly North all you want. Proof isn’t that important in life. Truth and lies are equally powerful and of about the same meaning as long as they are believed in. Indeed the argument could be made that it is belief that makes a thing true, and if a person acts as if a lie is true, for all purposes it is. What is truth and lies here may never fully be known.

      5. see 4. And there are many philosophies of power. Not everyone follows the Tao of Peter Parker. And I’m sure you could find protestors that “provoked” police brutality.

      And if I might make a final point. It is easy to sit in one’s chair and condemn the violence of the police. However, as pretty much anyone with combat experience will tell you, things like “appropriate brutality” aren’t always in the mind in combat. There is generally only instinct, and the knowledge that if you don’t put the other guy down, he’ll put you down. From martial arts to the military, it is taught “Don’t stop till they can’t get up.” So remember, that “Brutal” cop has a better chance of being scared for his life than he is tripping on power.

      • Anonymous

        NA wrote:
        So remember, that “Brutal” cop has a better chance of being scared for his life than he is tripping on power.

        That is probably one of the wisest things I’ve read on here in a long time. (nods hat to NA)

        • Uncle Draggi

          Hmmmm, haven’t been watching any of the ‘activities’ of the cops in New York city, have you? It is rather plainly obvious from their actions AND WORDS CAUGHT ON TAPE just how “scared for his life” a lot of these guys are. Uh-huh, just shaking in their boots. Yep, sure are.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            And you’ve never covered fear with big words, Uncle Draggi? Huh. Interesting

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        The goedendag was originally from Flanders, not Finland.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          Ah, thanks. I knew it was something that started with an F

      • Uncle Draggi

        Why did the ‘flavor’ of your reply not surprise me? Oh, well…

        I’ll only make a couple comments — I don’t have time to play games with you.

        1. “Good and Evil are a matter of perspective.” Oh, really. I suppose you’ve never heard the names Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Sachsenhausen or Treblinka. “Just” a matter of perspective? You might want to give that a second thought .. unless you’re one of those into ‘revisionist history’. I don’t know you, so I can’t say .. but some of the choices of wording of your various comments here and elsewhere might make one wonder…….

        2. “Proof isn’t that important in life.” Oh, really. Well, that certainly says more than you probably intended .. but don’t bother trying to ‘spin’ your way out of it, now. “The moving finger writes” and all that.

        3. “It is easy to sit in one’s chair and condemn the violence of the police. However, as pretty much anyone with combat experience will tell you…” Uh-huh. I see. And YOU presume to tell ME this .. why, again? What was your MOS, when and where, again? Oh, yeah, and just in case you haven’t noticed, none of the Occupy sites have been the jungle or the sand-box. Actions appropriate in those places are TOTALLY inappropriate for the streets of the United States of America, and ANY police officer who can’t figure that out needs to turn in his/her badge immediately and go do something else, period!

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          The flavor of your reply speaks much to you. Zealotry is a terrible thing, Uncle Draggi.

          1. Revisionist history? No, that’s not something I’m really into. Alternate interpretations as thought experiments though, in order to see beyond that which we are force fed as the truth? Sure, I dig that. You bring up the Nazis, which are held up as pretty much the clearest cut case of good and evil. But let us look at this in perspective. The Nazi’s killed about 12 million people in their camps. Yet, despite the fact that they are the “greatest evil known to man” their kill count is far less than that of the USSR’s 60+ million. Indeed, some might argue that the Nazi death camps were far more humane than the Soviet and Chinese camps. So your cases of “absolute evil” can still, arguably, be placed on a scale of evil and wouldn’t bottom it out. Were the death camps unacceptable behavior? Absolutely. But the reason we call them evil at this point is because we won and the Nazi’s lost. Remember, at the time, most people outside of Germany probably would have thought it “Good” to get rid of the Jews.

          History and Victory are what creates good and evil, Mr. Draggi.

          In my experience, both personally and in studying history, ever “evil” act can be “morally justified” as “good.”

          Now, you can imply pretty much what you want about me, especially since you are safely at the other end of the internet. Indeed, you imply very strong things. Be mindful of them.

          2. Clearly you have not devoted much time to the philosophical study of “truth” and how it works in society, or you would understand what I said. In the workings of this world, belief is often more powerful than proof. Muslims believe that Mohammed was the perfect man. The proof often says otherwise. Yet Muslims act as if their Belief was true. Christians believe that Jesus was the son of their God. The proof is we really can’t even prove he lived. I believe in the Norse gods, but the “proof” of their existence doesn’t exist, at least not scientifically.

          People act upon what they believe. Truth or lie of the matter as can be “proven” doesn’t matter. Indeed, often “proof” is brought forth by those who believe something as the reason they believe. It is “proof” but is it “true” or merely acted upon as “truth” irregardless of any “absolute truth.” So you will forgive me if, upon this realization, I fail to live in the world of “proofs” and “truths” that you do, Mr Draggi. It must be comforting to live in a black and white world of absolutes. But there too, it is your “Belief” that the world is absolute, with your “proof” of such, rather than any actual “truth” to the matter.

          3. I presume to tell you this? Yes, I do presume. Why? because apparently in your world, Mr. Draggi, you do not realize it, therefore I think you should be told. And if no one else will step up, then I will. The OWS doesn’t need to be in the “sandbox” or the “jungle”. Is location truly important, or are the people? You feel you have the right to declare that certain actions are inappropriate. Kevlar and a gun mean little when outnumbered ten to one. Might I ask where you have gained this right to judge? Where, might I as, do you presume to judge from? Perhaps it is from the fact that your world lies in moral absolutes and your firmly sitting upon the moral high ground. ;)

          Well, speaking as someone who sits firmly upon the “moral low ground” by his own choice, permit me to say this. The world is not black and white. It is easy to condemn, to stand up high and look down upon the world and say “Shame upon you.” I don’t know where you come from, but your words tell me much about you, Mr. Draggi. I think you don’t even see the people in the riot gear and the uniforms. They are not people to you. They are uniforms. I think you see men and women granted power and who use it, and you feel compelled to judge them. But you do not have their power. You do not understand it, nor do you understand them as people. I presume to tell you that you speak not from wisdom, but from from moral absolutes which have no proof nor basis in this world. Your truth, Mr Draggi, is your truth, but I reject your truth because like all things, I find it flawed and illusionary, as most truths in this world tend to be.

          Be I wise or be I the fool, it matters not to me. Imply what you wish, Mr Draggi, the world sees you for what you are regardless, for you are known by your own words ;)

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Yes, the police shouldn’t be standing by when excessive force is used. By that same tenet, protesters shouldn’t be allowing or even enabling the crimes that some of their compatriots are perpetrating. Standing there while other protesters are tearing down fences on public property (which the taxpayers have to pay for), breaking windows in public buildings and private businesses, raping women, stealing from working people, assaulting their fellow protesters and those who are uninvolved, using illegal drugs, etc. etc. implies complicity on the protesters’ part. So, does this mean that the good, reasonable police officers should just stand by and allow criminal behavior? Why can’t the protesters use their power and authority to evict the troublemakers from their own ranks?

      • Uncle Draggi

        Two things about your comments immediately jump out:

        1. Do I detect more than a little bit of hyperbole? “Raping”, “stealing”, “assaulting” — sorry, but I haven’t heard ANYone mention these activities .. unless you’ve been listening to the likes of Rush & Associates. I don’t listen to the gas-bag, myself, but if his reputation is even 1/10th what it’s claimed to be, well, I wouldn’t put this sort of raving nonsense beyond him. And believe me when I say that if this sort of thing HAD been going on, it would have been in 2″ headlines (or the equivalent) in every bit of corporate media available! This is EXACTLY the sort of thing those trying desperately to discredit the various Occupy folks would sell their souls to get hold of. Sheeesh!

        2. Yes, it would be nice if the protesters could and would ‘police their own’ – World Peace would be nice, too. However you need to consider this in thinking about ‘self-policing’ among the protesters: a) most “peaceful protesters” are just plain not equipped, psychologically or physically, to deal with “troublemakers”, and b) I know with a very high degree of certainty that more likely than not the “troublemakers” are there SPECIFICALLY for the violence .. almost as if violence is their ‘drug of choice’, as it were. For example, people generally remember the “riot” at the WTO protests in Seattle (where I had a ‘ring-side seat’). They ignore the several days of peaceful protests and, in some cases, almost comradery(sp?) with a rather cooperative SPD. The media especially did not report (or even care about??) the fact that a) all the rioters were a bunch of faux-anarchists from the Springfield-Eugene, OR area who had come up here specifically for the excuse of the violence, b) they managed to have plenty of money to make the trip up here and stay (..somewhere safe..) and feed themselves and then tootle on home, c) these faux-anarchists all seemed to come from upper-middle and upper class families, and oddly did not seem in the least concerned about ANY legal difficulties they might run into, d) all of the violence and the cameras just happened to coincidentally be in the same location at the same time with the police nowhere around…hmmm…, and e) when a couple of ‘just plain citizens’ DID try to ‘apprehend’ one of these phony punks, friends of the guy appeared seemingly out of thin air with lead-weighted gloves and mini-bats and beat the citizens damn near to a pulp! But you didn’t hear a peep about any of this from the media, did you?

        So, Alice C, what would YOU have done if you were one of those ‘just plain citizens’ faced with this situation and the cops just happened to not be anywhere around?

        ((>I know what I would have done .. but I’m an old guy, a combat veteran with too many memories/nightmares, and [}self censored{] <))

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          I think violence *is* the drug of choice for the trouble makers, ie, that it tickles up the same part of their brain that booze or coke hits.

          Thanks for going sparingly on the – and = stuff. I do appreciate it.

          Call-out from another old guy: I carried a picket sign while you were carrying a gun. Funny thing, history, isn’t it?

        • Anonymous

          Actually, Alice posted quite a few references the other day, most of them from those madly conservative places like…the Huffington Post.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          “However you need to consider this in thinking about ‘self-policing’ among the protesters: a) most “peaceful protesters” are just plain not equipped, psychologically or physically, to deal with “troublemakers”, and b) I know with a very high degree of certainty that more likely than not the “troublemakers” are there SPECIFICALLY for the violence .. almost as if violence is their ‘drug of choice’, as it were” – Uncle Draggi

          Hmm, wait a minute there. You say that the protestors can’t police themselves because they aren’t equipped to do so. Yet you complain about the police policing (ba dum bum) the protestors, when they are equipped! And you’re complaining about the cops being violent to troublemakers, who you just said are there for the violence, and likely wouldn’t stop being violent unless forced to by the police! XD

          Congratulations, you win the hypocrisy award. Pick up your trophy by the door, your pic will be added to the wall of fame.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          Hyperbole: Not at all. Read about the many incidents of violence in the URLs that I posted previously, on another comments section under “Unleash the Hounds” this past week. There have been many incidents of violence directly connected to OWS camps in many cities, published in the mainstream press or network TV, including the more liberal papers and stations. I’d placed about 20 more on my FB page, over the past two months. We have had both pro-OWS and anti- on the MM news feed.

          Re the violence: Pagan festivals attract a lot of leftist, liberal people who often get drunk and make a lot of noise. Why is there very seldom instances of violence at Pagan festivals? Answer: Great internal security. I’ve been to many, MANY festivals where there’s controlled anarchy, left my money sitting in plain view on the dashboard of an unlocked car, my stuff sitting out, and there are people walking around completely nude, children playing freely — and there is very rarely ANY uncivilized behavior. Amazing internal security. At some gatherings, there are very poor people who are offered organized charitable help such as free food. No problems with stealing or assault. WHY? Security!

          This is why La Familia de Aldag will never again attend a Rainbow gathering. Stealing, sexual assaults, violent acts, open drug abuse. WHY? No internal security. They refuse a police presence. It is taken to “Mediation” by the internal council, who does nothing. They refuse to eject the criminals, because they have “rights”. Rather like these OWS free for alls.

          You asked what I would do in that situation? Well, let me tell you what was done when I was assaulted at a Rainbow festival, while I was holding an infant in my arms… a couple of combat-trained veterans grabbed the perp, and “rocked him to sleep”. It took a rather large rock. And we never went anywhere again where there is no internal security.

      • Crystal Kendrick

        From what I have seen, the protestors are pretty good about defusing situations and keeping each other peaceful. It has actually left me pretty amazed and awed. Prior to now I have had very little respect for millenials. I’ve had to eat a lot of my words.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Uncle Draggi:

      It is probably due to my own nervous system, but I can barely read your comment due to your use of characers from the top line of the keyboard for emphasis. I plowed through the above anyway but, if you continue to do it, I will skip your future comments for fear of a migraine.

      Thank you for your service.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

    The Pagan community needed to have this discussion. I have read all the comments. Some would be amazed to learn that I agree with some of you who seem to be saying that you take a contrary position. What is unsaid here is that we live in a community that is open to discussion about issues that inflame emotions, such can not be said for the wider American community.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZC4IW4YGIQYK7P46R7PWEDK7WE Shannon

    The police take an oath to uphold the constitution, and have the legal authority and obligation to refuse illegal/unconstitutional orders. Those who do not exercise that authority and do not hold to their oaths are not acting as law enforcement officers.

    When I was trained in law enforcement, I was taught that I was to be held to “A higher ethical standard” than the civilian, not that “just following orders in a corrupt system” absolved me of my actions.

    Sorry, I don’t buy the apologetic; when you help rob a bank, you are an accessory, when you are collecting a check as a bank teller, you are part of the machine, and when you enforce the illegal, immoral and unconstitutional orders of a corrupt system, you are still responsible for the actions of that system, even if you are “just following orders”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZC4IW4YGIQYK7P46R7PWEDK7WE Shannon

    This video pretty much says it all. One officer with his name tag taped over, 6 officers standing around doing nothing about it. And when a civilian points it out, the police start hassling him about his bike.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYpktWhswME

  • Kilmrnock

    i know a mayor or governor can use the police at their discression , but shouldn’t there be a review board to question such action b/f damage is done ?Or the violation of constitutional rights occurres.We know New Yorks mayors actions were politicaly motivated , being he is a 1%er himself , in defence of wall street .I believe he thought by diplacing OWC , they would crumple and disapear , it only strenthened OWC’s resolve . As did the arrests on the bridge a few weeks ago . Mayor Bloomberg has only made the protesters more resolved and stronger and increased positive public opinion. And as far as the police situation is concered i have to. agree w/ OoA. The sadistic , violent oifficers must be procicuted , but we should not place blame/ anger on the police as a whole .These officers were only following orders , the blame for unjust orders needs to placed where it belongs , with those who ordered such actions and the odd envolvement of Homeland Security w/ coorinating the actions .All of this needs to be examined and dealt with accordingly. Kilm

  • Kilmrnock

    Occupy Wall Street -OWS sorry

  • Kilmrnock

    I still believe we have to be careful about being angry it the police as a whole but , I’m going to date myself a bit here, does any one here remember mie lie during the vietnam war . I’m not even sure i spelled it right .Soldiers were told to wipe out a village where VC, we’re known to be using , turned out non where there , the commander was charged w/ war crimes for following a bad order . With this in mind , a police officer is not obliged to follow bad , unconstitutional orders . For our younglings here VC means viet cong , the enemy in the war. Kilm

  • Kilmrnock

    And just for the record , big city police departments and our own government don’t have a very good record when it comes to handling protesters. Does anyone here remember the 1968 democratic convention in Chicago , the Kent State demonstrations . I’m a child of the late sixties, early seventies , i personaly am tickled to see people rilled up about this mess. For those who don’t know students were killed at Kent state ……….by the National Guard.CSNY wrote a song about it , Ohio.In Chicago the police encited a major conflict w/ then peaceful demonstraters, Mayor Daley btw, at the Dem. political convention that year.The Cops showed up to break up a demonstration “too close ” to the convention site in full riot gear, just caused an ugly mess, sound familiar? Kilm

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Kilm, I remember Mi Lai (I think that’s the spelling) and I remember Kent State. We who lived through them have the burden of civilly discussing those times with people who read about them in history class. I daresay Uncle Draggi is in the same boat.

      I suspect our successes will be partial at best. In his book “Burr” Gore Vidal wrote from the viewpoint of a young person at the time Aaron Burr was aged, about the impossiblity of really understanding anyone who’d lived through the Revolution. After a bit they go off to someplace they alone know and those born later cannot follow.

      I’m sure we Sixties survivors are, at the end, comparably baffling to those who came along later. And that’s how it is.

  • Fireweed

    I woke up this morning to simultaneously seeing the video of the UC Davis protesters being sprayed and of retired Philidelphia police captain Ray Lewis being arrested in full uniform at an OWS protest. Like all groups of people, there are police officers of conscience and those who operate out of force and fear. We need to support the people of conscience and be careful not to tear them down, and we need to hold the unethical and/or violent people to account.

    Here is a photo of Ray Lewis for the commentors who are saying that police officers stand by and do nothing: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150939281120117&set=a.10150359595690117.589382.706600116&type=3&theater

    Here’s another source for these pictures of Ray Lewis: http://crosscrowdedrooms.tumblr.com/post/12958966202/retired-philadelphia-police-captain-ray-lewis

    What I’m noticing on every website comment area (FB, media sites, blogs, heck, this comment thread) is that people who complain about the actions of the protestors (protestors are defecating, protestors are violent, protestors are provoking and threatening police, etc.) never post videos or photos or even first-person accounts of these acts to back up their comments. When people talk about police brutality and post videos of brutality, the claims start that “the video was edited, Photoshopped, etc.” Sure videos and photos can be edited, but less than people think (it takes time and equipment for it to be remotely convincing), and that doesn’t change the UC Davis videos I saw as the students we quite subdued at that time. Regardless of editing/Photoshopping, it seems that the level of available evidence is much higher in the “the police acted inappropriately” camp.

    Here’s the video of which I speak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_embedded

    Am I wrong about the difference in level of proof between the comments that are pro-OWS protestors and comments that are anti-OWS protestors? Then prove it. Let’s see videos of violence/defecating/police threatening. Not just “I heard that protesters did this bad thing just before the video started.” See if you can find actual video and photos of this and please post them with your comments. Because from where I stand, even an edited video is more compelling evidence than vague, third-party hearsay of what happened somewhere else or happened “just before the video started”. I am open to being convinced. Convince me that the protestors are violent, vehicular defecators by showing us all evidence of them doing just such a thing.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      The links that I posted all had photos, one of protesters tearing down a chain link fence on city property in Oakland. The photo of the protester defecating on the police car I deemed too vile to repost, but hey, if you insist. There are also eyewitness accounts http://www.mogulite.com/occupy-wall-street-cop-car/ This is from a business magazine but if you Google it you’ll find more copies along with eyewitness accounts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rpaxton Robert Paxton

    It’s a hard problem. I’ve met thoroughly decent, ethical policemen – actually more of that sort than any other. I’ve also met power-tripping twits, some of them awfully close to home in my own chosen community.

    The difficulty: the concept of “the thin blue line” – – that police are interposed between the largely-clueless but well-meaning civilian population and the anarchic/stupid/mentally-ill criminal population, and that iron-clad loyalty to fellow officers is always appropriate.

    After My Lai, policies and training came about to the effect that each individual soldier is called upon to make _moral_ judgments, and if needed, disobey unethical orders. My understanding is there is no analogue in civilian protective services, but that there _has_ been a tactical militarization…perhaps without the social or procedural structure to rein in the sociopaths that will inevitably creep in.

    Very few things instinctively piss me off more than abusive police actions. But I also know that if there aren’t incentives – – and disincentives — carefully constructed to aim people down the right path, then it’s not going to happen.

    So…Peter (and I guess the rest of the Officers of Avalon): you’ve got a cultural problem that needs fixing. We all know there’ll be thugs on any force. But we civilians are seeing some real abuses happening without apparent negative consequences. If you don’t want cranky, contrarian Paganfolk to make unfair blanket generalizations about police, there has to be visible and swift negative consequences when people like Officer Pike hoses down kids with pepper spray like he was watering his lawn.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      The daily paper carried today the same news that I saw on msn(dot)com yesterday, that two UC Davis cops involved in the viral pepper-spray video have been suspended and the chancellor has started an investigation.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Saw that too… GOOD. That was certainly unnecessary force.

  • Kilmrnock

    But to comment about a previous comment…… a police officer is Not a soldier , and shouldn’t have that mentality. He/She is not dealing w/ enemy combatants or even criminals , protesters are citisens w/ a legitimate beef and constitutional rights to protest . A soldier mentality is not apropriete when dealing w/ citesen protesters . And just for the record the clearing of the park in NYC was done at night , 1am as i remember , w/o notice or provication. Kilm

  • Kilmrnock

    I’m with others here . Consider the source of this pic , and where or when did this happen , there is no source to prove its autheticity and location either way. Or if this freak is even a OWS protester . He may well be a whacked out homeless guy, that needs medical help. the evidence in this case is overwelmingly torward police misbevahavior than torward a few possible cases of protester wrongdoing. either way this stuff needs to be dealt with. Kilm

  • Anonymous

    Abu Ghraib was the consequence of a “few bad apples.”

    The Tailhook Scandal in 1991 was the consequence of a “few bad apples.”

    The Mai Lai incident was the result of a “few bad apples.”

    The Sand Creek Massacre was the result of a “few bad apples.”

    “How can we tell the True Christians from the heretics?”
    “Kill them all. God knows his own.”
    — Arnaud Amalric, Massacre of Beziers, 1209

    Though officially, Bishop Amalric never said this: the real reason for the massacre, according to historical record, was a “few bad apples.”

    I’m afraid I don’t buy any of it. In 1971, the infamous Stanford Prisoner Experiment performed by Phillip Zimbardo showed pretty clearly that social organization can turn ordinary college students into torturers.

    I have no illusions about this. It would likely have turned me into a torturer.

    Yes, I’m sure that the police organizations have their share of men whose “badges wear them,” as one ex-cop put it to me. They have a few bad apples: psychopaths, sadists, low men. Such cops exist. But it doesn’t take a bad apple to commit atrocities. There is zero support for that idea in history. Good men commit atrocities, when they are organized and ordered to do so.

    This is one time that I write, that I hope that I am a fool who is completely wrong. Because I will not be in the least surprised if the #OWS — or its successor movement, or the next successor as the disparity of wealth continues unchecked — leads to massacre, on the order of Tiananmen Square. On American soil. Committed by good men who have been organized and ordered to commit atrocity.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      I think we have less to worry about something like Tianamen Square, and more to do with the Bastile…

      • Anonymous

        That depends on which side the police take. As was the case in the storming of the Bastille. As made the difference between Egypt and Tunisia in the recent Arab Spring uprisings.

  • Kilmrnock

    In responce to A.C.. you can’t judge the character of an entire movement on the isolated actions of a few houligans and whackos.The movement is generaly about economic disparity caused by wall street , the banks , and unfair govt. policies that favor them . We the 99%ers have every right to protest these things , actualy protected by the US Constitution . The actions of local police and the US govt involving the OWS protesters is clearly unconstitutional .The Constitution guarantes the right to peacefuly assemble and protest , denying these right violates those protected rights .