I posted this because I just don’t hear the kind of outrage that seems warranted by how these people were treated. I mean—there was all this love in the air. The L.A. Weekly wrote about “The Zen of Chief Beck” in an article describing the LAPD’s laid-back approach to the L.A. Occupation. And then after the bust…..I remember reading a piece on Occupy L.A. by someone at Firedoglake, after the raid and the imprisonments, and it sounded..well, not outraged at all.
Of course, a reason you don’t hear outrage might be that the attention span for outrage is limited to maybe half an hour, about the amount of time it will take you to regret that what they put in your bag at the fast food drive-through wasn’t what you ordered at all. Then it’s time for another news cycle and time to move on.
Endlessly, endlessly moving on. But staying in one place, because as long as serious issues go ignored, undealt with, we will be spinning our wheels….and that may feel like a life powered by blasting energy, event after event after event after event, but it’s all the same in the end. President Obama said we had to “move forward and heal,” but healing won’t happen without justice, and justice won’t happen until problems have been fixed and responsible parties identified.
Just because the broadcast news cycle is driven by headline-flash stories that are gone tomorrow, doesn’t mean actual life and actual deliberation of options has to follow that rhythm.
I don’t know if Cmdr. Smith will take offense at my letter or see it as some sort of challenge. I’m not really sure how it comes off. But, waiting and waiting to hear some outrage in L.A. over what happened, all I hear is crickets. So consider it my cry from the rooftops, or whatever. Here today, gone tomorrow. He doesn’t have to reply, and no one will remember it in a week.
This is a bit long, but it’s not an easy issue.
Thanks for writing in to this blog, which I have just recently become familiar with. I don’t want to address this post except to say that I really appreciate what Ron Kaye is doing here and the fact that he’s covering Occupy L.A. so well. I also understand the point he’s making about intimidation toward people trying to effect social change. With the Defense Act just passed, things look grim for those who would engage in civil demostrations–which have become the only way for regular people to be seen or heard, in a system that’s broken, maybe beyong repair. If you don’t think it’s broken, it may be because the mainstream press doesn’t portray or dwell on the parts that are broken. I understand these are the folks you work with every day. Nevertheless, the press, as a rule, is not reporting or focusing on issues that are of crucial importance right now–they are more focused on entertainment and keeping their access to public officials.
But about busting up Occupy L.A., which is the real reason I feel compelled to write to you here… The wrist-binding, the humiliations dished out even to an 80-year-old woman, the hours spent waiting on buses, the sadistic practice of telling people they could go, if they went over here–only to arrest them—the way protesters were jailed on misdemeanors–these things do not even seem to be lawful. I saw you on the television before it all went down and you seemed to honestly be saying that protesters would be treated with respect.
In my years living in L.A. I have had no personal complaints about the L.A.P.D.
But to treat these Angelenos as one would treat out-of-control criminals was shocking to me, despite the fact that it’s happening all over the U.S. I thought L.A. would be different, and indeed, with the things the Mayor and the City Council were saying, it did appear for a while that Los Angeles might be different.
It’s the understanding of the law that’s causing such problems here–and the minimization of the importance of the Constitution is a deceptive trick used all over the country to insinuate that the protesters have been “breaking the law.”
The problem is that once you start to learn all the things the news media doesn’t focus on, you start to see the entire picture in a different light–including who is doing the most harm with their lawbreaking.
Consider the fact that the city of L.A. has lost, according to the Controller, 200 million dollars over the last two years, to fraud. Two hundred million of our money, yours and mine, as taxpayers. Fraud is illegal. It is against the law. Those who are stealing from taxpayers are the criminals, and they run banks.
The city refused to consider a Responsible Banking plan which would have pulled city money out of those banks. The City of L.A. is suing these banks, and yet still lets them have its business. City officials would have you beleive that if the city tries to find an alternative to this, the banks will ding them by tens of millions in withdrawal fees. But is this really true? If public opinion played a part, what alternate scenarios might be possible? Nevertheless, the City Council dropped the Responsible Banking plan which Occupy L.A. was trying to promote.
As police officers, understanding what criminal behavior is and who is doing it is an essential part of your jobs. You see the physical and violent crime in the streets, but what protesters are upset about is the white-collar crime that gets swept under the rug.
They are not the criminals. The criminals are those in authority who allow serious crimes to go unchecked, while police forces provide the muscle to beat down anyone who protests these civil crimes.
A politically-aware, informed and socially responsible police force is something we desperately need. When those in authority don’t understand the nature of which abuses are worst, how can rule of law really prevail?
As Julian Assange said at Occupy London last fall, “This movement is not about the destruction of law, but about the construction of it.”
You, as police, are part of us, part of the 99 percent.
You and your colleagues are one of the most important groups at play as we American citizens proceed toward the future. We all face similar problems that have to do with the breakdown of rule of law, whether it’s dealing with criminal rejection of health care by insurance companies, or the massive theft of taxpayer money.
Speaking to you about it when your men are holding guns and weapons will not work. You represent the law-abiding people here—at least, you’re supposed to. And it is an essential part of your jobs that you understand the true nature of where rule of law is breaking down.
The night of November 30th and December 1st were dark days for Los Angeles. Those were days the LAPD did not protect and serve the law-abiding, conscientious people who dedicated their time, money and civic pride to stand up for rule of law at City Hall. The cruelty with which these folks were treated is disgusting.
I doubt this post will make a difference, but I felt I had to say something.
“…. To the long ass post from the Occupy person you should be questioning why you had no support from the People of LA and read all the negative postings on media blogs and blogs about how Angelenos were fed up with Occupy LA. You didn’t change a thing and wasted time. You could have really made a difference. As to the LAPD actions interesting you fail to post your protesters were throwing rocks and bottles at officers and it was learned the Occupy LA protesters had ready made weapons to use on police officers.”
And Anonymous said (same person? Who knows, but there are plenty of Occupy-haters out there):
“Cindi Burkey, too bad most of your Occupy LA partners never cared about that stuff and were just in it because it gave them a stomping ground to smoke weed, do yoga, and steal food from people trying to enter City Hall.
“I’m surprised Lil Wayne hasn’t popped in here and complained about how LAPD has turned his lily white enclave of Encino into a third world country. He must’ve taken his meds today.
“Other than that, it’s nice to see Ron get his hand slapped for making shit up to smear civil servants and muckrake. Which is basically how this blog operates. Can’t wait to see who he smears tomorrow. $100 says it won’t be Trutanich.”
Well, thank heaven someone in L.A. understands the value of muckraking.
Too bad these responses are so unoriginal. If they were more interesting, I’d probably be pissed off enough to reply.
There are a number of great articles on Ron Kaye’s blog about Occupy, Redevelopment, and all kinds of tomfoolery and chicanery that the Media Freaks want you to think is too complicated for you to understand, when the real truth is there’s just a veil of silence because people are covering for each other in a complicated, far-reaching web of nefarious and doubtful doings, in which our future is shakily bound up.
Every little crack in that silence is what’s called journalism. A reporter getting an acceptable-for-broadcast comment from some generic politician who’s not going to say anything unexpected (even if he does say something offensive)–that is not journalism.
But journalism is the conversations that lead to truth coming out. It’s a tricky business. And real journalists make people mad–the people they expose as doing wrong, breaking trust, or even those they simply scrutinize. It’s just a fact of life. It’s their job. Their job, as 4th Estate and as described by the founders, is not to hobnob and rub elbows and join the Political Classes at dinner parties. Their job is to observe the workings of government and of those who move and shake things and make them happen. It’s an important enough job that it’s mentioned in the Constitution–as a job with an essential bearing on government. And it’s a job that means you can’t be friends with everyone. That’s not the gig. If you like someone personally, and he or she is misusing taxpayer money, and you know about it, you’re obligated to share that information—if you’re a journalist.
In fact, it’s a little like policing. It has to do with asking questions and figuring out what’s going on. So you need access to know what you’re talking about, but if you’re going to actually do your job, it’s going to mean being a hardass sometimes. The object isn’t to smear anyone. And in fact, the truth may reveal itself as extremely complicated, with various threads to tease out, before it can be seen in a wide enough view to understand the lay of the land. It’s not about animosity, just a healthy, and justified, mistrust of authority; and a responsibility to communicate essential information in the best way one can, after teasing it out.
The object is to make sure taxpayers are being represented, dealt honestly and fairly with, to make sure the law is being honored not just in letter but in spirit–the job is to find out what’s going on and tell people. It isn’t personal, any more than it’s probably not personal for politicians who horse-trade away the rights or well-being of constitutents. That’s the nature of the game, they didn’t invent it, they’ll tell you; and it’s true, they didn’t. But it does come down to personal, individual responsibility. We are all writing this story as we go. At any point, one can look at one’s path and say, “This needs adjusting.”
The buck is passed so often, it’s not even clear these days where one can find it at any given moment. So the need for honest journalism is desperate.