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,
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.