I just saw a video on the Washington Post of the pepper spray viciousness at UC-Davis. People sitting down with linked arms. And a big, beefy cop just walking along spraying them with his grotesque orange mist, as though he were killing dandelions in his lawn. Then I saw a picture of an 84-year-old woman who was among those sprayed. Now Officer Pike has been inserted into many well-known paintings and pictures, spraying his orange pain in Guernica, in God’s face in the Sistine Chapel, in Taylor Swift’s face as she receives her American Idol award.
Actually, I am not in favor of using chemical / oil-based poisons on the lawn either, dandelions or not. But pepper spray is not benign. It hurts like heck and can damage the eyes and other sensitive areas. And these folk were just sitting there, protesting the unfairness that now permeates our society and culture.
Standard procedure would have been to pick them up and carry them to the paddy wagon (so named in honor of my ancestors, the Paddys and Micks of earlier protests). And some cops would have allowed the protestor’s heads or other body parts to bang into the ground while they were moving them. That is pretty routine, from what I have seen. And I have seen cops being very cruel to my sons, as they protested the World Trade Organization and the start of Bush’s War.
I am always amazed that cops are so willing to protect the status quo, and to harm those who basically share their own lot in life, income wise and future pr0spects wise. And that the officers have no problem being completely vicious about it. They seem to like taking orders that allow them to torture fellow beings, without taking responsibility for giving those orders.
I have two more thoughts – 1) I believe before one is allowed to spray another human with pepper spray, one should be sprayed first. It would be harder to lie to yourself about what you’re doing that way. Same for tasing.
And 2) I have long believed that folk who want to be police officers probably shouldn’t be allowed to. Or at least should be closely managed, and not allowed to do so longer than two years. After two years, perhaps they could be employed in a position to serve folk – a hospital, a nursing home, the Peace Corps – for some period of time.
Our current policing / criminal justice system simply doesn’t work for anyone involved with it, good guy, bad guy, peaceful protester.
P. S. If you want to see the system in action, go to the Hamilton County Courthouse any day. The official racism is breathtaking. Almost all the lawyers and professionals are white, almost all those involved with the system are black. And all the people in the Courthouse, whether called a good guy (woman/person) or a bad guy (woman/person) believes in the system, or at least cooperates with it, with or without awareness.