Occupy the World

I’m a supporter of the Occupy Movement (see Occupy America)  I only wondered what took everyone so long and why more are not donating, protesting, etc. This post, however, is more about how we deal with management of protesting members of the Occupy Movement.

A Facebook discussion broke out when a young person started kvetching a bit about the Occupy protesters not skirmishing with the police, who are also members of the 99%.

For those of us “of an age” to remember the Chicago Police Riots of 1968 and Kent State Massacre of students by the National Guard this was really an eye opener. Apparently the young of today do not remember how inadequate the powers that be are in dealing with protest without resorting to violence, extreme violence, and murder. At least the dogs have not yet been unleashed on unarmed and helpless people – although one dog was brutally abused and then shot to death by a D.C. cop during another type of peaceful march.

The problem is:  What do we use police for?  We have police – talking about our hard-working street and patrol cops – to protect the citizens of our country from criminal activity. Many criminals are violent. The police are trained in the use of violence in order to protect themselves from dangerous, violent, criminals.

The police have a serious job to do. They are experts in arresting drunk drivers, robbers, burglars, etc. They deal with many people who are mentally disordered, highly intoxicated on drugs and alcohol, and who are often armed with knives, guns, shivs, saps, brass knuckles and god knows what else. They are trained to subdue, and they are also trained to react quickly to anything perceived of as a threat that could end their lives.  Most of them have never had to fire a gun in the line of duty. Most hope never to do so. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and our neighbors and friends and virtually all of them are decent, hardworking people.

Our police are not experts in crowd management and crowd control. They try, but they just don’t have the training and experience necessary. It is too easy for things to spiral out of control.

This brings to mind the video from (I think) New York where an Iraq war veteran was there observing the Occupy protests when the police lost control and the police had their own little riot.  He shouted at them to stop abusing unarmed men and women engaged in peaceful protest. This gentleman and his fellow Armed Forces members are actually the best people we could use for crowd control.

Now there is a thought!  We have unemployed veterans who know how to deal with crowd control. They know how to deal with unarmed men and women without abusing them. They have been trained in “winning the hearts and minds.”

Why are we wasting resources of our thinly stretched police forces?  Each man or woman at an Occupy movement location could be doing what he or she really needs to be doing.

Cities could advertise for individuals from our large pool of unemployed Armed Forces who are trained in this sort of work, form an organizational structure in short order and have a special unit trained in crowd control. They could be on contract rather than a regular part of the force, so once the demonstrations were over, they could be decommissioned. In fact, these units of veterans could market themselves for crowd control and go from place to place, like smoke jumpers.

Peaceful protest is a right of every American.  We can quibble about tents or no tents, we can quibble about various things, but we’re totally stressing out our police officers and taking away from their legitimate concerns.

Let us Occupy America peacefully and agitate for change.  And let’s not allow cities  to use police as a form of repression as is going on in some Arab states.


  1. Great post! So…. could they legally use the military?

    I agree that it’s the mindset of the organization- which is FAR different from the mindset of individual people.

    I also support Occupy Wall Street. I have great hope for the future when so many of your young people are using pro-social means to kick-start a dialog and instigate change. A far cry from my generation that has resorted to listening only to talk show hacks of both the left and right that say what we WANT to hear and not what we need to. These young people are forcing us to think about what we think about our system of government, our country’s economic inequality, and how we treat big corporations and banks as opposed to small business.

  2. No, we cannot use our Armed Forces against the people (Posse Comitatus) without the reason arising from the Constitution or from an Act of Congress.

    That being said, we have millions of unemployed Veterans who could easily be hired as contracting agents with the police department to specialize in crowd control. Sort of like deputizing civilians to do specific work. They could not arrest, but they could do crowd control. It might take a little tinkering with liability forms and such, but it is within the realm of possibility. The ultimate commander would be the Chief of police and there would have to be oversight by the police department, but these men and women are actually trained in this work. Why not utilize their skills?

    In Seattle an 84 year old woman was maced by the police (apparently the aged are a real menace) and she could have been trampled (perhaps killed by trampling) in the crowd. She was saved by an Iraq war veteran. Ms. Doreli Rainey said, “Thank heavens a young Iraq veteran grabbed me, otherwise I would have been on the ground trampled… Whatever you do, take one more step out of your comfort zone. It’s so easy to say, ‘Well, I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around and watch television or eat bon-bons… but somebody’s got to keep them awake.” I am in awe of her. Here is a photo of her: http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/388762_233625820038733_217514361649879_656032_1109293620_n.jpg

    I am happy to note that Boston is entering into mediation with Occupy Boston to reach an agreement of how to safely and peacefully protest. Good for the Mayor of Boston and the Boston Police Department.

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