Over the last several days Occupy protests have been raided and broken up by police across the country. Mayors and Municipalities are claiming they need to shut down the protests because of concerns over safety. Mayor Bloomberg was stupidly bold enough to say “We could not wait for someone in the park to get killed.” Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!? I don’t know if you’re aware of this Mr. Mayor but New York suffers about two murders a day as opposed to the zero in two months of occupy. I’ve lived in the Bronx all my life and I fail to remember a moment when armies of police came into to protect the safety of its citizens. This had nothing to do with the safety of the protesters, or criminal elements within the movement. Believe me I more than anyone feel funny even thinking this but this is the man keeping the people down.
Look I’m not saying that this was a utopia of peaceful protest with no safety concerns. There were homeless people camping out there, idiots who drank too much and caused ruckus, and people who could have had mental issues and serious needs. All that said, I have yet to see this level of response in any other community across the country. Nor can anyone point to anything indicating that these negative elements were present in greater numbers within this movement than throughout the city. Walking around the city this weekend I saw homeless sleeping out on the streets, idiots who drank too much causing a ruckus, and people in need of serious mental help, but what I didn’t see is any cops.
Too often we’re told things have to be done to keep us safe. The safety canard has been used to justify some of the most brutal and oppressive acts our government has perpetrated on us and around the globe. Korea, Vietnam, Rockafeller drug laws (where an ounce of a controlled substance gets you charged with intent to distribute), Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, The Patriot act, warrant-less wire taps, waterboarding, hell even Citizens United was protecting the safety of free speech. We live in an unsafe world. Many things we do are dangerous, and some of them will even get us killed. It is one thing if the people of occupy were going to the police and telling them we don’t feel safe, protect us–they weren’t. It is another thing entirely to say that although you’ve voluntarily decided to risk the night, the elements and all the other dangers of being out in the street in new york near the start of winter the government can arbitrarily determine that your safety is at too great a risk to stay there.