MUSINGS FROM THE ICONOCLASM!

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Frank Apisa

Frank Apisa
Location
Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Birthday
August 09
Bio
On a political continuum with Extreme Liberal at 1 and Extreme Conservative at 10, I can be found at position “P.” I get a chuckle at much of what passes for liberal thought, but don’t much chuckle at anything conservative. Quite frankly, I consider American conservatism to be one of the most dangerous pieces of garbage ever to pollute the planet Earth. A major problem with this mindset is occasioned by the fact that I am a 72 year old, white male who works at a county golf course in one of the richest, most conservative counties in the United States. Since I get free golf (at five county courses) as part of my compensation package, I play 4 – 5 times a week. Bottom line: Goddam near everyone I work with or play golf with, almost all of whom are 70+ year old white, males, is a die-hard conservative. I love each and every one of ‘em—love every bone in their heads. Truly! Sure is a tough haul, though—‘cause I am not given to holding my tongue. Just think of all the fun I have at work and play! Don’tcha envy me?

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Salon.com
OCTOBER 7, 2011 3:56PM

THE COPS ARE NOT PIGS…AND THEY ARE NOT THE ENEMY!

Rate: 7 Flag

 

 

 

Well, it has started…and about time. We have meaningful protest going on in America…protest that is long overdue. Good for the people making the protests…I not only wish them well, I wish them victory insofar as it seems most of the protest appears to be directed at wanting our country to be a fairer, more even-handed country. I fervently wish them victory in protesting the disgusting and unconscionable disparity in wealth and earnings.

 

 

But some here in OS are already making the cops the enemy.

 

 

Folks, the cops monitoring these protests have a job to do—a job that involves making a commitment and offering a pledge to protect people and property.

 

 

Some of these cops are people just like the protesters—people on the lower end of the earnings continuum and people whose jobs are in jeopardy. They have family and friends out of work—and they are just as bothered by the wealth disparity tearing our country apart as anyone protesting.

 

 

Some heads are going to get busted!  That is a given.

 

 

There has never been a meaningful protest or meaningful demonstration that has not had some heads busted. The busting in going to be done by cops—very often reasonably carrying out their duties, obligations, and orders.

 

 

Oh, there will definitely be some cops who bust heads because they enjoy busting heads, just as there will be people here in OS calling law enforcement people “pigs” just because they get off on being able to do so.

 

 

 In many cases, the busting is going to be deserved—perhaps even requested after a fashion. Every meaningful protest and demonstration has profited from zeal and excess on the part of law enforcement—and my guess is that every meaningful protest and demonstration has courted the zeal and excess for that reason.

 

 

Keep a level head, folks. Let’s not look for enemies where they are unlikely to be. Be fair to the cops also.

 

 

There was a thread here this week talking about Hank Williams, Jr. mouthing off using the words “Hitler” and “Obama” in a poorly conceived way. The general consensus among OS posters was that Williams had a right to say what he wanted…BUT that there were consequences that accrue. Protesting also is a right…and consequences accrue. Sometimes the consequences of protesting is a baton to the head.

 

 

Just sayin'!

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Hey, I understand. One thing, sometimes the cops are the enemy because they work for the powers that seek to subjugate us. If that makes one a pig in someones eyes well, just like that consequence where I get my head cracked, that is the consequence that the officer faces. No offense to any law enforcement types that are just enforcing the law but those who are out there in an ideological battle are fair game for any insult they earn.
Yup, Bobbot…make no mistake about it. SOME cops are pigs. Some teachers are pigs; some shoe salesmen are pigs; some truck drivers are pigs; some taffy makers are pigs; some carpenters are pigs; and some pigs are pigs. (Okay, all pigs are pigs, but you get my point.)

But we don’t go around saying that teachers are pigs or shoe salesmen, truck drivers, taffy makers or carpenters are pigs--or that they are the enemy.

And we shouldn’t get into the habit of calling cops pigs either--or considering them to be the enemy…especially if we are going to have a lot of protesting going on.
The enemy? Cops have never been better trained and paid then they are today. The also know that almost every move they make during a protest will be digitized.

Protesters who cross into the perp catagory might also think twice. It has never been easier to pick a target out of a crowd.
Some of these cops are people just like the protesters—people on the lower end of the earnings continuum and people whose jobs are in jeopardy.

Point taken.
The problem is, a few rotten apples can spoil the barrel, and trust me, I've had enough rotten apples when it comes to the police, but I don't call them pigs, why ruin the good names of the pigs(I LOVE bacon!! :D)
Snowden…good point. Orwell thought it would be the government that would have total access to what we do. But it seems the general public is doing a pretty good job of tending to that. Cameras all over the place.

Margaret…thanks. And the job they have can be very dangerous. I can tell you this—it would take a hell of a lot of money to ever get me to consider being a cop in the Big Apple…or any large American city.

Tink…always good for a laugh. I like bacon, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks all of you.
Protesters have a responsibility to be civilly disobedient, not a mob; police have a responsibility to be keepers of order, not thugs. Call me idealistic, but mobs automatically forfeit their humanity; so do thugs.

Police take an oath to protect and serve; they also draw a salary. Busting heads is unacceptable. End of story.

Protesters have the right to free speech; they also have a responsibility not to compromise the rights of others. End of story.

No cop is the enemy when he or she upholds the principles of his or her profession.

If it were all this simple, Frank, you'd have no post to write.

Sadly, it is not this simple, and your point is necessary and well taken.
Some teachers are pigs; some shoe salesmen are pigs; some truck drivers are pigs; some taffy makers are pigs; some carpenters are pigs; and some pigs are pigs.

you forgot to add that some bartenders, strip club managers and some passive aggressive psychopaths are pigs, too.
Thanks Paul Fornale...well said.

I hope this thing plays out with as little violence as possible...here, and in the other parts of the country.

The protests are necessary. Something has to be done to focus attention on the problem of the unconscionable disparity of wealth. These (mostly) young people are doing it…and the nation owes them a great debt of gratitude.
"Sometimes the consequences of protesting is a baton to the head." Bravo...No better way to say it.
The best way for this movement to have an impact is to remain nonviolent. We can count on someone behind the scenes sending in thugs to try to provoke a riot. This will cause some police to take license with the batons and sprays but the bulk of the crowd needs to remain calm and nonviolent while continuing to protest and film those who get out of hand.
rijaxn...thanks for the comment. Cops can let their power go to their heads—almost anyone can let power, if they've got it, go to their head. But a cop has a special duty to remain in control. I think MOST do...an they are probably as bothered by the few who are bad apples as much as any of us.

Ira, thanks for stopping by...and AMEN to everything you said.
This leaves me with a question:

On one hand, I get that the cops who bust heads are following orders and that directions as how to handle protests, particularly high-profile protests (like Wall Street), come from Upstairs. On the other hand, when non-violent protesters are handled violently, a case in which the legality of police conduct is questionable at best, do we hold street cops responsible for in essence breaking the law, which those they're arresting may not be doing at all? The "I was only following orders" defense doesn't exactly have a history of holding water in all cases.

Pigs? No, that's silly. I find that demonization is usually a counterproductive exercise unless you find a party so consistently over the top in the wrong direction that they actually deserve it. However, responsibility is responsibility, and these are guys sworn to uphold the law.

So, where do you suggest drawing the line?
Thank you. The poor cops.

Course your name will be even more trashed around here for this, but you seem tough. (I think it goes with the Italian surname! I'm joking, I'm joking! Sorta. Kinda.)
Kosh...I've been off OS for a couple of days and just saw this post of yours. Thank you for posting—and for considering my response.

You wrote: On one hand, I get that the cops who bust heads are following orders and that directions as how to handle protests, particularly high-profile protests (like Wall Street), come from Upstairs. On the other hand, when non-violent protesters are handled violently, a case in which the legality of police conduct is questionable at best, do we hold street cops responsible for in essence breaking the law, which those they're arresting may not be doing at all? The "I was only following orders" defense doesn't exactly have a history of holding water in all cases.

I tried to be as careful as possibly not to make my reply include the pathetic “I was only following orders.” I despise that defense—and tried to include a reasonable depiction by addressing that area with, “The busting in going to be done by cops—very often reasonably carrying out their duties, obligations, and orders.” I expect that to be the case—some force at times done because of cops carrying out in a “reasonable” manner their duties, obligations, and orders. For certain, there will be some who will use any excuse to get a pounding in...but mostly, I expect reasonable action from the police.

In any case, as I see it, with all the cameras around, my guess would be that the “orders” are to be a careful as possible about the use of force. Most police departments do not want a bad reputation...and most cops are not truly interested in bashing in the heads of young people.

But I had a protest organizer once mention to me that “cops busting people's heads during a protest” is like the Vatican condemning a movie—great for business. I don't imagine the person getting his/her head beaten likes the idea...but the organizers often welcome confrontation as a means to getting much needed publicity...and there are individuals in most protests who will push the envelope in an attempt to precipitate escalating reactions from enforcement officials.

I do not deny that there are bad guys among the cops. There are bad guys among the general population and, because they are part of the general population, they will also be among the cops.

Perhaps because I have so many relatives who are cops—I do not like the term “pigs” being used with such generality. That really was the theme of my thread.

However, responsibility is responsibility, and these are guys sworn to uphold the law.

So, where do you suggest drawing the line?


I'd like to see it drawn damn heavy...and very, very close to the line. Any cop getting out of hand should be severely disciplined. But any disturbance ought to be investigated thoroughly before jumping to conclusions to see if the force, even if seemingly severe, was appropriate considering all conditions. I saw a a video of a white shirt pounding very excessively (or so it seemed to me)...and if that was as unwarranted as I think it was, I'd like to see the son-of-a-bitch fired, quite honestly. I am not asking for the cops to get away with brutality...and I suspect most good cops do not want to see bad cops get away with it.

I am not suggesting we condone or accept police brutality in any way. I AM saying we ought not to jump to the conclusion that all police aggressiveness is excessive. I also don't think it alright or appropriate to consider cops to be pigs.

I'm willing to discuss this more if you still have considerations about my explanation, Kosh.
There is an interesting aspect of law enforcement that is almost always overlooked except by those trying to do it, or those most in need of it when as their circumstances dictate. Maintaining the peace is overlooked by many, perhaps most, when one considers law enforcement. Peace is not the natural order of things. Power leveraging their might against the weak is the natural order of things. Another aspect of the question is morality and reason. The natural order of things is not moral, and it is not reasonable. The natural order of things uses fear and intimidation, and it exploits opportunities in the blink of an eye before right and/or wrong is even considered.

If you remove all law enforcement, you would have Somalia. Cops, like all other humans, make bad decisions. Cops, like all other people, have people in their ranks who exploit their position. The same thing happens here on OS daily. Opportunists use whatever is at their disposal, mostly anonymity, to commit crimes against ethics constantly. People make specious attacks on others for personal reasons because they can. That is the natural order of things. Neither a moral code, nor reason prevent such things. Motive, opportunity, and subjective conduct with impunity are what result.

When I park my car in my garage, I lock the car doors. If you do too, you are acknowledging the need for cops. I lock the doors of my house. If you do too, you are acknowledging the need for law enforcement. I don't own a gun, and I carry my wallet in my back pocket, and have for years. Mostly, the peace is kept, although it is not perfect. Do cops need to be watched to make sure that they are not "badge heavy"? Absolutely. Are they generally, in the normal course of things, exploiting their power to the detriment of the community? Hell no. Not even close.
Here is something that all citizens should know about law enforcement, and their individual rights. Federal statute 18,242 is U.S. Code for Color of Authority. This is a very serious statute which limits the powers of cops, and various other officials in their official capacities. This statute subjects officials to felony prosecution for the things that most would call abuses of power. These things do not have to include physical violence. These things can be as subtle as implied threats and intimidation. Every interaction that a cop has with a citizen is potentially governed by this restriction. It is a high level of potential jeopardy in the normal function for every single officer. All of that does not mean that officers do not make mistakes or abuses, but the notion that cops are generally acting in the function of their jobs with no concern for the civil rights of citizens is not consistent with reality.
Thank you, Bill. Well said.
At no point am I suggesting that the police in general are the enemy. At no point am I suggesting that the police are somehow an illegitimate or unnecessary institution.

This isn't the 1960's. I see no reason to conclude that confrontation with police is currently the norm in the United States among the populations involved in this set of protests. The cynicism of organizers concerning the press value of brutality on camera is less feasible than it used to be because the organizers aren't as organized as they used to be. They can't be - the goals of the protests are still too amorphous. It isn't nearlly as cut and dried as "get out of Vietnam now."

This pidgeonholing of the protesters as Hippies II, The Movie is a right wing thing rather than a left. All this "class warfare" language is another effort to label these frustrated workers as latter day commies, a label that only makes sense in the context of the 1960's, given that the Cold War has been over for about a quarter century.

The police reaction is likely to be excessive because those worried about the demonstrations are likely to overreact and that's where most of the political pressure is going to come from initially - from influential people who are connected.
Kosh,

I like you, and we agree far more than we disagree, but we disagree here, and I will show you where and why.

You said this: "The police reaction is likely to be excessive because those worried about the demonstrations are likely to overreact and that's where most of the political pressure is going to come from initially - from influential people who are connected."

Police reaction in a tactical setting is like driving a car. The driver is not ever going to react based upon some opinion or pressure outside of the environment. Granted, any human will be under more or less stress based upon psychological or chemical conditions, but "the police" refers to an organized reaction rather than a reaction or "over reaction" to some event presented in the moment tactically. This is a mistaken notion about how police confront crowds or riots. Any crowd or riot situation has an increased stress level. If that theory were valid, or "likely", all or most confrontations would end in violence between crowds and police. That is profoundly false, and not represented by the numbers. Increased pressure or stress may make excessive force more likely, but it is still not "likely." It is still rather unlikely. The notion that it is likely, irrespective of political zeitgeist, is where I find the comment misleading.
To say it more simply, saying, "police are likely to over react..." is an indictment of all police and the profession of policing. Police are no more likely to react in a stereotypical manner than Jews, or baseball players, or bus drivers, or librarians. Are individual people under stress likely to react as if they are under stress? Yes. That is generally true. Are police departments "likely" to react as if stressed under stressful situations? No. That is not basic human conduct. That is professional, coordinated conduct. The greatest likelihood is not ever reaction.
A policemen that I knew put a more empowering meaning on the word PIG.
Pride, integrity and guts.
He did indeed exhibit those qualities of respect, integrity and courage.
Well said! It's unfortunate that a few bad eggs give a black eye to their more professional colleagues, and even more unfortunate that some of the protesters give a black eye to the causes of Liberty and Justice by their childish reactions against authority.