On the distribution of resources

Included in HuffPo’s coverage feed of OccupyWallStreet today was a link to this, a guest post about it by a member of the NYPD.  No surprise, it’s chock full of false assumptions:

I have friends on both side of the Wall Street picket line. I have tried to see both sides of the story. I would love to understand what the protesters are trying to accomplish.  All I see are a bunch of unorganized kids wasting the NYPD’s time and resources. What is your goal and endgame?  All I know is that my wife is being forced to work on our weekend together because you want to sleep in the park and pretend you are part of something making a difference.

Public protests, in principle, are meant to draw attention to a situation the participants find objectionable.  This means that to what extent people previously unaware find out and start formulating responses to it, a protest is accomplishing what it was intended to do: people are speaking about it, discussing the subject of the grievances.  In the case of the OWS protesters, they may have differing views on the solution, but they all are pointing out the general problem: the economy is a rigged game.  If I could recommend anything to them on that count, it’d be to keep in mind the role of the state in how it got that way, but to be honest I’m still getting over the shock of people concluding that (figuratively speaking…) it’s Pitchfork Time on such a scale.

The whiffing by of the overarching point to some people, I think, is due to a psychological system blindness of sorts: you get so used to the environment you’re in that you forget anything keeps it that way, so for you it just Is.  Imagine being stuck in a single room for a really long time: maintain that position long enough, and if you hear people outside making comments about how the building containing your room was built one day, you just may ask “what are they talking about? There’s just this room!”

We are not rich “wall street devils”. We are hard working moderate people trying our best to make a living in a tough city. We both have sacrificed for our city and our country, regardless of the politics of the moment. I served under both Clinton and Bush, Democrat and Republican. I am proud of my country and will always protect our citizens’ right to protest. BUT… protesters… you are not doing a thing to hurt corporate money, you are helping guys like the Park Slope rapist. You are taking resources from the real crime and wasting time “storming” wall street.

While there is cause for concern in the perception of quid pro quo in the recent donation by J.P. Morgan to the NYPD, anyone there that is calling the cops “rich wall street devils” is clearly missing the point, in terms of both target and reason (it’s not the money, it’s how they got it. There’s nothing wrong with the gains derived from honest exchange in an open market, the problem is that’s not what we have).

As for being forced to work the park (his wife is also a cop, which must make for some interesting family arguments about the day), and the acknowledged waste of resources, I propose the following: since the protesters aren’t harming anyone, and thus far no one other than other police officers has assaulted any of them, the patrol force should en masse declare a hiatus of sorts.  Tell whoever determines what patrols happen where that barring an emergency call you refuse to enter the perimeter where the protest is being held.  Would they really rather you all just walk off when they could simply accept a recalibration of priorities?  If so, what does that say about their view of police work?

Grow up and realize that the real heroes are the troops serving this country every day. Send your food and support to the troops who are really doing something for this country. You wanted Obama and you got him. No more Bush to blame. Put away your iPads, iPods, gap shirts, Sony cams and really do something to effect change in the country. Grow up and stop blaming everyone else for your not being a productive member of society.

Um…how did this suddenly segue into “support the troops!”?  And why? Regardless of ones view of the ongoing wars, the only extent to which they have anything at all to do with OWS is the stock tickers of weapons manufacturers & mercenary companies.  Sure, the likelihood is high that many of these protesters also oppose the U.S.’s Violence First foreign policy (as do I), but to conflate that with some sort of mythical spitting-on-soldiers thing is ridiculous.

“You wanted Obama and you got him”?  Do these really look like partisan Democrats to you?  Are the ones carrying around “End the Fed” signs just lost?  How exactly do you look at the crowd at this event and conclude “yup, they wanted the guy now claiming a power that got King George’s boys ran off the continent”?

BTW: note the subtle insertion of the Goldbergian “unless you haven’t eaten in a week, life is gravy, so STFU” rhetoric…

The NYPD is not your enemy. We are your friends, neighbors, and family. Don’t break the law and expect the NYPD to just stand by. The law is enforced equally whether you are the KKK, Black Panthers, Wall Street protesters, or Neo Nazis. Grow up, make your point and stop making the lives of the very people you pretend to represent more difficult.

“Grow up”?  Isn’t a key indication of maturity concern about the world outside of you?  I’d be more inclined to tell someone to “grow up” if they sat around on the couch all day not giving a damn about anything beyond which pizza place they were going to call up.

That term, over and over: “grow up”.  “Grow up“.  “Grow up“.  The repetition of this, as if it were itself a devastating blow at the entire protest, actually suggests to me a politically warped interpretation of maturity. That is, broadening ones scope of consideration from toys and ice cream to government, economics, and war isn’t credited as a progression under this view.  Rather, society simply remains exactly what it is, with anyone questioning the status quo being a “dreamer” who should drop their line of questioning, get in line, and schlep on like the automaton they’re expected to be.  There’s a statement on the Political Compass test (which asks participants whether they agree or disagree with each one) showing this view:

Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity.

A peace agreement needs both sides on the same page to work.  If the establishment has no intention of peace with you, then making peace with them is more accurately described as surrendering.


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
This entry was posted in philosophy/life, random shots. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to On the distribution of resources

  1. Man, oh man. There’s so much hurlworthiness there. I singled this out, though:

    We are hard working moderate people

    Sorry, there’s no such thing as a moderate cop.

  2. B Psycho says:

    You sure about that web address? I clicked and it redirected to some fake YouTube sweepstakes thing.

  3. Todd S. says:

    I love the whole “you are causing us to be there” bit. I’m fairly certain no one at the protest called the cops and said, “hey, come on down here and cordon us off and occasionally mace people”. It is the system that you’re protecting that is forcing you to be there.

  4. fatfinger-fu! That’s better.

  5. B Psycho says:

    Ok, it works now.

  6. Rad Geek says:

    Um…how did this suddenly segue into “support the troops!”? And why?

    I could be mistaken, but my interpretation when I read that was that the cop author is thinking of himself as part of the “troops” you are supposed to support.

    There has been a really big PR and internal propaganda push over the past several years — a lot of it from the NYPD specifically — to get more people thinking of cops, and more cops thinking of themselves, as soldiers, tasked with fighting a domestic counter-insurgency against an omnipresent “enemy.” I think this is most likely just an unreflective expression of that view.

    The reason he “has” to be out there threatening to beat up #OWS protesters is because when it comes to Occupation, the NYPD doesn’t tolerate any competition.

  7. B Psycho says:

    Thanks for the context there, that did slip my mind.

    The embrace of police-as-occupying-army itself explains more than they realize: have problems getting information in certain neighborhoods? Well, who wants to be seen as a collaborator with the invading forces?

  8. Kevin Carson says:

    “The law is enforced equally whether you are the KKK, Black Panthers, Wall Street protesters, or Neo Nazis…” …or cops? Didn’t think so.

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