Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"You have the right to remain SPRAYED IN THE FACE"

Good day, interwebs.

I fired up my computer with all intentions to promptly begin writing. Those intentions evaporated as soon as I noticed Pandora's new format. As I toured the updated site, nostalgic ol' Sum 41, Blink, Zebrahead, and Goldfinger helped keep my feet happily tip-tapping as I began to confuse people sitting nearby. Then Bowling for Soup popped up and quickly shattered my mental vacation. They're the closest thing to having someone hold your head steady as they vomit directly into your ear. Blech.

There have been a few things in the news that have made me shake my head of late.

News broke out about a handful of protesters in New York City that were doused with pepper spray by a rogue officer with an itchy trigger finger. I certainly don't know all the details surrounding this event, so I'll attempt to restrain myself from assuming too much about what happened.

Essentially, there has been a group of protestors - apparently comprised mainly of young, twenty-somethings that have declared war on the bourgeoisie for being rich, fascist pigs, or something along those lines - who have occupied a stretch of territory near Wall Street to hold a week-long gathering. As it so happens, the NYPD were inevitably asked to reinforce what could and could not be done while the protest partied onwards. At some point, the police were setting up a makeshift fence and bumped boundaries with a small section of the protestors. As showed in a video, an officer seems to randomly - and without provocation - douse four or five young ladies as they mill about inside the fence. This scene has prompted an explosion of responses worldwide debating things from the Constitutional rights of the crowd to the demanding of the officer's resignation.

                "Would somebody PLEASE stop whoever is playing 
                            that damnable Bowling for Soup?"

Here's my take:
A) It's one officer. I realize that the NYPD has some notoriety for being brash, violent, and thuggish, but one should keep in mind that this is a single officer's action, not the department as a whole. The sheer volume of responses that directly accuse all police in all locations of being brutes that abuse their power is sickening. I don't feel as though someone could claim widespread police brutality from this lone incident. If the police were authorized to use such force to ensure the general tranquility for the rest of the public, then the officer's actions are excusable to a certain degree. Again, I'm not privy to that kind of information, so I can't make that assumption.
I am going to assume that at some point in his career, the officer has been subjected to a battery of verbal assaults from the general public. Frustrated by having the police interrupt their day, John C. Public seems to think that it is fine to lob his frustration at the officer that has confronted them.

It's similar with telemarketers, I guess. People love to tell stories about how they challenged a telemarketer and beat them in a trolling game of logic. Congratulations. That solves nothing. It only makes you look like an ass.
The police also have the lovely task of directly dealing with the portions of society that are usually avoided by others at all possible costs. Officers get it from both sides: sneered at by the public, insulted by frequent offenders, and now accused of being tyrannical agents of the faceless government. Being chastised daily by people is certainly no excuse to randomly start spraying people, but it wouldn't kill us to be civil and respectful to the people charged with upholding our statutes and laws. Is it any wonder that there is enmity between the police and the general public at times?
Again, I don't know the officer. Maybe he is a grade-A d-bag.

B) Someone hacked into the NYPD's records to release the information of the officer that did the spraying. That's concerning. Where's the public outcry for this officer that had this happen to him? "Oh, F that guy and his rights. He's a jerk. We're worried about our Constitutional rights, not his. Who cares if we broke some laws to distribute this man's information. Breakin' laws is a great way to get the support of the police." Double-standards. Sheesh.

C) After cruising their website - the group is called "Occupy Wall Street" - I had a general skepticism towards them. I also realize that I am biased towards the law enforcement in this situation (biased enough to write this, I guess). The group comes off as your average, run-of-the-mill squad in many regards. They do make use of the word 'revolution' a tad much for my taste. They also make it a focus to videotape everyone saying reinforcing phrases such as, "We are the 99th percent," and, "Join us. Join our conversation." There is also a large portion of their website dedicated to show abuses the NYPD has shown some of their members.

(Yes, I had some Conspiracy Juice this morning and a tiny voice in my head is claiming that the pepper spraying is being used a publicity stunt. If that's the case, next time simply hire a bunch of skateboarding cats wearing cute party hats. That's always a crowd-pleaser.)

                                  ...go on. You have my attention.
As a twenty-something, I certainly emphasize with some of their points; but not their tactics. The military-esque feel of the march and protest - it all feels like a great way to spend a week with your friends, but not really a stellar way to get your message across. Sure, you can heckle the wealthy or make fresh, exciting promotional videos to gain support, but I feel as though it somewhat reinforces some of animosity between the groups. If I was a wealthy, monocled-and-top-hat-wearing fat-cat and I was getting ribbed by a group of good-for-nothin whippersnappers, I wouldn't stop to hear their points. I would simply rue the fact that I hadn't purchased a warehouse full of 1980's sunglasses to sell to them.

Overall, it's not the most jaw-dropping bit of news out there by a long shot. I'm sorry to report that I was sucked in to a non-story by sensationalist media. Shucks.

In all reality, it's a topic that's incredibly important to some, and I apologize if my light-hearted take failed to address certain points. I realize that there are many sides to this story and I'm sure that I could write plenty more on this. However, this seems to be quite long already. I also hoping to address the new laws dictating drug testing for unemployment or welfare candidates, but that can wait for another day, my friends.


Xenocide - Orson Scott Card
I'm on a big Card kick again. Empire series was OK, but I'm back to finish book three of Ender's series. Hiphip!

Your Republic Is Calling You - Young-Ha Kim
Korean spies! Eep!

Major/Minor - Thrice
It seriously may be the last music you'll ever need. It's glorious.

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