In the wake of the incident in which ex-Marine Scott Olsen was hit in the head at an Occupy Oakland event, apparently with a police weapon of some sort, and left with a cracked skull, in critical condition yesterday (since stabilized to a point where his life is reportedly no longer in danger), Oakland Mayor Jean Quan “apologized for what happened.” For what happened… not for anything specific that might put the city at liability for the damage its storm-trooper police officers caused… you understand, it all just “happened.”
Then Mayor Quan undertook to preach a bit…
“When there’s violence there are no winners,” she said. “It polarizes us and opens old wounds rather than brings us together, which is the aim of Occupy Wall Street and uniting the 99 percent.”
No fucking kidding, lady. Come clean. Who sent those rampaging cops onto the street? Who authorized tear gas, flash-bangs, “beanbag” rounds and/or rubber bullets? It’s not as if the Occupy protesters initiated any of the violence. And maybe, Mayor Quan, you’re forgetting that literally almost everybody carries a videocam in his or her pocket these days. After Mr. Olsen was felled, I SAW… EVERYBODY SAW what happened next, when concerned protesters gathered around him and one of your wannabe army threw a canister into the middle of the group of people who were ONLY TRYING TO HELP. Was that action within your mandate to your assault troops?
I am old enough to remember the police riot (sic… that’s what the official report deemed it) at the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968. I remember the police actions in Seattle outside the WTO meeting in 1999 in which the crowd was pepper-sprayed.
And I remember the Kent State shootings of 1970. In fairness, that one was actual National Guard troops, not police pretending to be military troops.
So in the span of my lifetime alone we have a forty-plus-year history of violent suppression of protest of all sorts, including… in the case of Oakland… classic suppression of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” From the standpoint of good order at a demonstration, Oakland was a police officer’s dream… until those very officers turned it into a nightmare.
And as to the rest of us poor idealistic saps… If you thought you had the right of peaceable assembly to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” forget it. You no longer have such a right. If you attempt to do that, the powers-that-be will see to it that your skull is cracked, and then they will “apologize.”
I’m sorry… Mayor Quan, it’s just not good enough. Call off your goons.