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Red Blue America


When Do Police Resort Too Quickly To Violence?

November 27, 2011

By Ben Boychuk

While there are many, many good cops serving our communities, there are also a great many bullies - men whose proclivities probably would’ve landed them in jail if they hadn’t earned a badge and a gun.

This is where conservatives can serve their communities. Many are willing to cry “tyranny!” in the face of new environmental regulations but happy to support cops, no matter how egregious their abuses. (Fox News has been a shining example of the phenomenon this week.) That must change.

Let’s sell the tanks and drones. Let’s put the riot gear in mothballs.

Police must be allowed to keep order in their communities -- but they usually need not resort to such extremes to do so. Otherwise, if cops keep treating citizens as the enemy, they might one day find out they’re right.


It’s true they can give you a badge, a gun, and a canister of pepper spray, but they can’t give you good judgment. Spraying students in Davis, tear-gassing demonstrators in Oakland, cuffing a wheelchair-bound elderly woman in New York City - that sure looks bad.

But looks aren’t everything, and context is crucial. The viral videos exploding on the Internet show the very worst scenes, under the worst circumstances. We rarely see the moments leading up to confrontations.

Let’s not romanticize the plight of these demonstrators too much.

Occupy Wall Street protesters from New York City to Oakland wanted a confrontation with police. They needed a spectacular event, especially as the tide of public opinion has steadily turned against the “occupations” that have befouled public spaces in every major city in the country for months now.

And, sure enough, they got it.

A New Yorker profile of Kalle Lasn, the Canadian founder and editor of Adbusters magazine and the man who dreamed up Occupy Wall Street earlier this year, underscores the point precisely. Lasn was first alarmed, then overjoyed at the late-night police raid on Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan.

Lasn “quickly decided that the apparent end of Zuccotti was not a tragedy but the latest in a series of crisis-driven opportunities, what he calls ’revolutionary moments,’ akin to the slapping of a Tunisian fruit vendor,” according to the story.

“I just can’t believe how stupid Bloomberg can be!” Lasn tells the New Yorker reporter. “This means escalation. A raising of the stakes. It’s one step closer to, you know, a revolution.”

Yes, Americans should be skeptical of the idea, as author Stephen Hunter once put it, that “it’s a good thing to turn police units into highly militarized, heavily armed commando squads.” But the need to reassert public order at lawless encampments - placed that have seen thefts, robberies, assaults, and even rapes - cannot be denied.

Behold your “revolution” - now make it stop.

Original Source:



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