|Thoughts on Occupy Wherever
||[Oct. 27th, 2011|03:49 pm]
Some of you may know that in 1989/1990, I was part of Operation Rescue. I participated in non-violent sit-ins. My reasons as a 22 year old fresh-out-of-college student seemed valid to me at the time. The fact I am no longer participating is a fair indication that I learned a lot from my experience, which included being arrested a couple of times and spending 5 days in the downtown Seattle jail. That, however, is not what I really want to write about.|
To listen to the people at Occupy Wherever squall about 'police brutality against people exercising their right to peaceable assembly and freedom of speech,' you'd think it had never happened before in the history of America (except maybe to Freedom Riders and Vietnam protesters).
The Occupy protests are hurting local businesses and local individuals attempting to work. So did the Operation Rescue protests. The Occupy protesters - most of them, anyway - are purposefully non-violent. So were the Operation Rescue protesters. In fact, OR participants often signed pacts of non-violence which were kept on file by leaders. The leaders generally knew who comprised their groups, in advance. This helped them identify infiltrators and to enforce their own brand of conduct.
And when the police cracked down, sometimes they did so with violence, including breaking the arm of at least one protester who refused to move when ordered to do so: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-06-11/local/me-3216_1_anti-abortion-operation-rescue-abortion-foes
Occupy Wherever have a right to protest peaceably. They don't have a right to riot. They have a right to make their voices heard, not to throw paint or stones. They have a right to protest activities that are perfectly legal, among which is the right to get stinking rich and to use legitimate loopholes in the tax code to avoid paying taxes. I don't have to agree with their platform, but I acknowledge their right to do so.
And oh, by the way: Operation Rescue had (and has) a right to protest legal activities, peaceably. This didn't prevent them from being on the receiving end of police violence, arrest records, grinding endless court dates, fines, jail sentences, and lawsuits under the RICO act (racketeering). You don't have to like their platform, but you have to acknowledge their right to do so, because your right grows from the same root.
I'm afraid the Occupy Wherever people are going to learn these things too, the hard way. I hope none of them who celebrated (if any) when Operation Rescue people suffered those fates are now surprised when that same violence (and everything else, except probably the RICO act) is and will be used against them. I'm afraid the police make no long-term distinctions between one group of annoyances and another. And no, I do not believe that a group's just grievances are justification for perpetrating violence and for immunity from the law.
Why did I get out of Operation Rescue? The grinding court dates wore me down. But also, when I heard that Shelly Shannon had flown to Kansas City and shot George Diller, well known 3rd trimester abortion provider, and that the group I'd worked with in Portland OR had come out in support of her action as "godly violence", I was done. The whole movement was dead to me. When you start calling for or committing violence, you've lost your claim on peaceable assembly and any protection under color of law.
Good lucky, Occupy Whatever. Your experience with the police isn't new, and it isn't unique. It's happened before, and it will happen again. And I do wish you success, insofar as your goals align with those of most people in this country: to root out corruption, to return our country to its roots as a representative republic, and to ensure the continued God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our country could use a lot more of those things.