When They Do It To The Least Of Us

You don’t have to watch much of this, the part you need to see is pretty much over in the first 50 seconds. These are college students and yes I suppose from the policeman’s point of view they were being a pain in the ass. But here’s my take. They weren’t any threat to the policeman at all. They were peacefully assembled to protest something. Well within any interpretation of the 1st Amendment.

They weren’t armed, they weren’t committing any violence. The police are armed, dressed for a riot. Carrying the economy sized pepper spray dispensers. Carrying guns and batons and paintball guns loaded with pepper balls. Who did the provoking here?

I think the whole OWS movement is a bunch of misdirected crap, but what’s the lesson these kids learned from this event? That they are powerless in the face of the weapons of the State? That peaceful protest will be met with force? I don’t have to agree with your views or your beliefs to think that you have a right to assemble and protest, to seek redress for your grievances. I want the same rights for myself.

Here’s a two minute history lesson. The firehoses come out at 1:50.

I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.

–John Fitzgerald Kennedy,
Radio and Television Report to the American People on Civil Rights, June 11, 1963


7 thoughts on “When They Do It To The Least Of Us

  1. I think the worst part is that the crowd, which massively outnumbered the cops, didn't immediately begin to use those numbers to stop the cops from continuing their completely unjustified assault.

    If I had been there I would have used deadly force, as I was watching a felony in progress, and had no other means to stop it. In addition, philosophically, if the second amendment is to mean anything, then when I observe tyranny happening, and have no other redress, then second amendment remedies must be taken.

    What is it that Solzhenitsyn said?

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?”

  2. You do not have a First Amendment right to block a public walkway. You do not have a First Amendment Right to disobey a lawful order. If you do either of these things you can and should be removed and prosecuted. Pepper spray was the lowest level of force the police could use to remove them.

    An I seriously doubt gunssmithingandpolitics would have done a damned thing if he had been there. If you were going to do anything based on the reasons suggested you should be finding a politician or police officer to shoot in the face right now.

  3. Perhaps you are right RobertM. Perhaps I wouldn't have done anything. And perhaps I am overreacting, over the top as ASM826 said.

    And as I said originally, I do not agree with the #occupy morons, and I have zero respect for their “demands.” But that policeman used unjustified force. The level of force he used was completely out of proportion to what the #occupy people were doing. His position seemed to be “you people are irritating me, so I am going to use chemical weapons against you.”

    But you seem to think that the police can issue “lawful orders” for people are “peaceably assembled for a redress of grievances” to disburse. I disagree. Which means that any action that he took to enforce his “lawful orders” for them to disburse was unjustified. That made his actions felony assault. In the moment, using deadly force to stop his assault would be justified. In the same way I would be justified in shooting a gangbanger who was beating the crap out of some kid. But now that it is a week later, it would be murder for me to hunt him down and shoot him. Just like it would be murder for me to hunt down politicians, or policemen and shoot them. But thanks for implying that my objection to the organs of the state engaging in criminal assault means that I am a murderer.

  4. I think for me, gunsmithing&politics, it is the question of appropriate response. Acting to stop an assault is a moral act. But if the assault can be stopped without using deadly force it should be.

    The example that comes to mind is this:
    1. You witness a man slap a woman and he appears to be threatening to slap her again. The appropriate response, intervening to prevent further assault, does not (without further incident) involve deadly force.
    2. You witness a man beating a woman, and when you approach him, you see he has a knife in his hand and is threatening to use it on her. The appropriate response now includes things up to and including deadly force, both to protect the victim and yourself. The court may disagree, the laws in your state may not be in line with that, but it may still be the moral thing to do.

    In neither case, however, are you doing more than any one should, acting to protect someone and stopping an assault. For me, it's more subtle than it seems at first, because everyone involved is a human being and the goal would be the protection of all.

    I very much like that Solzhenitsyn quote and have read the book it comes from. In this case, the police were not executing the students, or engaged in behavior that was likely to threaten the student's lives, or even arresting them to send them to long term imprisonment in a gulag.

  5. I agree that one should only use the minimum amount of force necessary to stop the assault. But as a bystander in the crowd, my ability to stop that policeman's assault is extremely limited. I don't regularly carry OC, so that isn't an option. The only tools I regularly carry that could serve to stop the assault are my voice, my pistol, and my fists. Reasoning with him didn't work, as evidenced by the crowd, and I rather doubt that I could stop him using only my fists. That leaves my pistol.

  6. Gunssmithingandpolitics, first the police can and do issue lawful orders for people exercising their rights and are justified in doing so. As I said in my earlier comment we do not live in a society of unrestricted freedoms and never have, nor was it intended by the Founders that we should. If a public space belongs to everyone, then no one group can take it over for their exclusive use. To prevent this we have police who are authorized by law to remove those who try.

    As for implying you are a murderer, I did no such thing. I merely suggested that if you felt the police use of force in this case was an abuse of power justifiable of deadly force then it was time to go after all police and their paymasters because what you saw was a tactic used every day in this country.

    Finally, I ask both you and ASM826, what should have been done? Should the public area have been given to them? For how long? Should they have then been responsibility for it's care and upkeep at that point? Should they be held liable for anything that happens in their zone as if it were their exclusive property (crimes, accidents, etc)?

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