One issue that I believe should be discussed more, is fear felt by the Police. Despite (or because of) the brutality they have demonstrated, I suspect they are dealing with a lot of personal fear. Police pension funds have been robbed, just like other funds. Their kids will have to live in a world where the environment has been damaged, with some parts destroyed. Their kids will not be able to afford college, without going in debt. They will suffer from the inflation caused by the printing of trillions of Dollars of new, bailout money. They will be confronted with growing desparation and violence in the streets, as millions are forced out of homes and into poverty.
The fears that the 99% are now reacting to (and finally applying a fight reaction to, instead of one of escapism!), apply equally to the police. Yet, they are forced to stand by decisions made in the halls of power, and act against those speaking truth to power. They are the ones who face the brunt of the force of all the individual protestors, and their occassional outbursts. Police officers have protestors screaming in their face, and the brass and politicians pushing them from the back. The 99% are spending a lot more facetime with the police, than they are with the targeted 1%.
If I was NYPD, I’d be a bit worried about the things going on in my life. It would suck incredibly, to be trapped in the increasingly marginalized middle class, while being forced to oppose those fellow Middle class people, who are resisting the marginalization. There is a class war going on. It has been going on for 30 years, and only now is the Middle Class starting to defend itself. And the police find themselves caught between sides, forced to betray the middle class, or risk losing their jobs and falling out of the middle class completely.
Clearly, some of the police violence we have witnessed has been caused by personal failures to cope with the pressure the police are under. The violence is a series of extremely stressed out moments boiling over. I can’t help but suspect that some of this stress is caused by personal reflection on what is happening. Surely some police are wrestling with the desire to “do the right thing”, and are waking up to the reality that what they are being told to do is not right. This is a realization that has dawned on quite a lot of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In this video, a Giant Marine gives a group of police a piece of his mind. He screams at the police: “why are you hurting these people? There is no honor in that!” Why indeed, have so many fought to promote democracy abroad, only to return home to find democracy under attack in the US itself. The mammoth Marine challenges the police: “This is not a war zone, these people are unarmed!” A message to put the stress of the police, real though it may be, in some perspective. The Marine does not end the confrontation, until he is approached by a police officer who identifies himself as also having served in Iraq. Unwilling to get into it with a fellow soldier, the marine finally moves on with a parting question: “How can you allow this?”
I hope everyone realizes what a precarious and vital group the police represent. Showing them love will make it harder for them to justify participation in repression. Getting in their faces, and calling them Nazi’s, will effectively prevent them from being able to participate with the 99%, and will force them to remain obedient to the Policy makers, the legitimacy of their policy be damned.