Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Occupy

Earlier yesterday I heard about the following incident at UC Berkeley.

A man allegedly threw an aluminum water bottle at a UC Berkeley student Thursday evening on campus, causing minor injuries to the victim’s face.

Why did this man throw the water bottle at the woman?  Because she wasn’t going to attend and support the local occupy rally.  I promptly tweeted it and from doing so it was placed on Facebook.  A friend of mine replied with a comment and there was a small exchange.

facebook_occupy_bf

I began to write up a response on Facebook and it grew to the point where it became a post in and of itself.  It became a clear cut definition of why I can not and will not support the movement.

The first and most principled issue is that while I agree that there is a problem, I have a strong disagreement with the proposed solution coming out of those involved in occupy. Their solution to the corruption is more government power and expansion. Completely disregarding the fact that large government provided the power to create this problem in the first place, much less grow it to its current size.  Give the more power to the government to regulate industry, never mind that government interference in the market is what allowed the bailouts.

So between that and the type of behavior I see out of occupy, it limits the support I’m willing to give.  Instead of fellow protesters acting to remove or turn in those committing crimes, they are acting to shield them from the police.  This makes them as guilty as the criminals.  See aiding and abetting.

Janelle’s example of the video out of Portland provides another window considering their camp as a whole issued that statement as a representative of occupy. 

Janelle’s statement is right, they have no respect for women, and their actions prove it.  Not only do they recommend not reporting the rape, but are actively discriminating against women.  I am not the only one with that type of view, and it was a woman who brought it to my attention complaining about the discrimination.  Add that to the initial incident I posted about being a woman assaulted by a man it becomes quite relevant.

If they acted like adults instead of spoiled children throwing a temper tantrum I might actually care and converse.  Sitting around occupying an area while attempting to prevent others from using the space to draw attention to your plight is like a kid rolling around on the floor of the supermarket screaming because they didn’t get what they want.  Not all are like this, some I actually have had a decent conversation with.  Those however have not been the majority experience for me.  Then add that up with the violent crime as well as general theft and it’s obvious they have a serious deficiency with their views of private property as well as personal rights.

This childish behavior has also been quite visible to me without doing much effort on my part.  More often than not my experiences have been similar to this:

fun trick: give #iamthe53 people an injury that will force them into a hospital stay. suddenly the system doesn’t work anymore

Even more than the quote promoting violence against those with differing opinions read through the comments too.  One guy, who’s post was censored, did nothing but spew profanity and call names instead of discussing the topic. 

From my position the difference between occupy and the tea party is best put with this image:

TeaParty-vs-Occupy

So it can be surmised as this, every time I see something like in the original post, it further cements my feelings for two reasons.

1) No one polices themselves as stated above.

2) No one attempts to remove themselves from the group to separate themselves from the behavior and instill the point of disagreement, but instead remains in place there by condoning it.  (Find me a counter presentation to Janelle’s video that tells occupiers to saying to report crimes instead of the message provided above to prove me wrong).

My integrity and my word is unbelievably important to me.  I will not loan my credibility or integrity to a group of individuals with such low morals who do not stand for the same beliefs and principals as myself.  My support for occupy is limited to allowing them to exercise their right to speech and peaceful assembly.  However their actions towards private property as seen in Oakland have indicated their move in a different direction.  Couple that with the damage and costs being accrued to be covered by the taxpayer, who may not support their cause, and we arrive back at my original position.  I cannot in good conscience support them.

It is said that your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.  The same goes with your right to assemble and speak.  When you inhibit and prevent other members of the public from travel on public roads, when you damage public property sending tax payers the bill, and then go and damage private property in the end, you no longer have a right.  You no longer have a right because you are taking property and inflicting your will upon others there by inhibiting their rights.  If the protesters want to take over a park for an extended time a couple things need to happen:

  1. They need to take over maintenance of the park.  This includes cleaning it and operating it since they have now taken over principal use from the general public.  I.E. pick up your trash and clean up after yourselves.  Camping like that is extremely high impact on the area.
  2. They need to find an efficient way to share the space and ensure others can use the space who are not a part of their protest.  Being harassed while trying to go for a walk in the park isn’t acceptable.  The likelihood of harassment increases if you do not agree with the sentiment of the protestors.  The longer the protest, the more you prevent the rest of the public from using the park.

Neither of these matter in the case where someone has actually donated private land for them to use.  That’s fine and they have every right to be there for as long as they want without police harassment until such time as the owner of the land feels they should leave.  You absolutely have a right to protest and peaceably assemble and I support that right.  The question is what right do you have to, infringe on the rights of others to conduct business, have the government take their money to pay for your protest, and prevent others from the free use of public space and facilities for extended periods of time.

So given the fundamental beliefs, their attitudes towards crime, and their actions towards the rights of those who are neutral or against their stance I can not and will not support them.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

About Barron

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.
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9 Responses to Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Occupy

  1. Nobody says:

    You’re out of your mind, Barron.  “Get arrested for violent behaviour”?  “promote violent behaviour”?  You can find outliers in everything.  I could probably even find some tea partiers who make sense…  (rimshot!)  You are cherry picking, and you know it.  Meanwhile, the latest news on the movement  overwhelmingly denounces the police over-reaction to peaceful protestors.  (ie, http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/the-moral-power-of-an-image-uc-davis-reactions/248778/)

    I fully agree with the second sentence of your original post here, but it doesn’t support your premise at all.  There are PLENTY of reasons not to support #occupy, but protestor “violence” is not a logical reason.

    • It is a very valid reason given the prevalence of violence as well as their attitude towards the offenders.  Or are you too dumb to understand that?

      I’m not cherry picking, how am I cherry picking.  How many murders happened at Tea Party protests?  Last I counted for occupy the score was three.  How about drug overdoses?  Prostitution?  Theft? Assault?  Give me a count if you have outliers for the Tea Party I’m listening. 

      Then again, why should I bother replying to “Nobody”?  You’re not even willing to put your name behind your statement yet you tell me I’m out of my mind.

      Apparently this is Ben since I saw the same comment on Facebook. You obviously feel so good about your stance that you’re willing to actually stand behind it with your name, at least on a wall only seen by “friends”.

    • As for that article.  It’s amazing what happens when you have pictures out of context.  I learned that lesson when I heard the story of anti-war protesters beating the crap out of a MIT researcher who was saved by a police officer.  There was a photo taken showing the cop picking up the man to pull him to safety while beating off the protesters.  The image was cropped to remove the other protesters and made to look like he beat the man.  My dad watched the whole thing happen and saw the picture on the front page of the news the next day as a case of “police brutality”.

      I would suggest reading this article that dissects the UC Davis incident specifically: http://macyoungsmusings.blogspot.com/2011/11/police-use-of-force-on-peaceful.html?spref=fb

      The initial image provoked much the same response until I found video of what was said and done prior to the OC.  It was used to disperse a crowd who was given a lawful order it refused to obey.  The order was lawful since the group was prohibiting free travel across a public space.  This action is equivalent to a blockade.  

      blockade: An act of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.

      Blockades are a violent act even if passive and internationally viewed as an act of war.  The act of preventing free travel infringes on the rights of others.  If they wanted to stand with signs fine.  But actively blocking a main thoroughfare is not acceptable.  They were given multiple chances verbally.  Soft force was used to no avail, finally they used OC to attempt to make them disperse.

      I’m not the only one that has come to this conclusion. make sure to read his comment further down after the post.  He was one who agreed  with the force being over the line until he really thought about the problem.

      What would you propose the officers do instead?  Use straight physical force, that would have been more arrests, and more physical and permanent injuries.

      You say I’ve lost my mind, yet here you are arguing for a group of individuals who are taking violent actions, while some may be “passive”, and obstructing the rights of others while acting like a spoiled child.  If you notice only part of my post centered around the violent incidents but obviously you are illiterate from your time in academia to notice that the main thrust was the lack of respect of the property and rights of others.

      • Nobody says:

        I’m not interested in a FOX style who can shout louder debate.  If you’re going down the road of redefining terms (hello Glenn Beck!) and calling those who don’t believe your revisionism stupid, then this conversation is not worth having.  But if you’re capable of opening your mind up, then perhaps you should read some history on civil disobedience.  You know, that little thing in the history books that led to the ability of black people and women to vote, and led to the ability for you to crack open a cold beer, etc.  But I’m sure that’s too much for you, so just go on out and shoot up an Obama poster and rant about big government and bad cops.  Except when those bad cops are beating up hippies, because that’s just wholesome good fun.

        Oh, and no, I never see the need to tell disqus who I am.  My apologies that it offends your sensibilities so much, but I’ve got no reason to change now.

        • No but posting anonymously does tell about your character and willingness to stand publicly behind your statements and convictions.

          There’s civil disobedience which is violating an unjust or unlawful law.  This is not civil disobedience because it is infringing on the rights of others.  Here you are saying I’ve lost my mind and then say I need to open up my mind or go shoot up an Obama poster.  Yeah that’s rich right there.

          FACT: Man who shot at the White House stayed at Occupy.  Branch area’s even held vigils for him.  Evidently he’s mentally ill and I’m willing to dismiss it except for the fact that you seem to think that I have some want to assassinate the president.  Yet here is a part of the Occupy movement holding a moment of silence for solidarity for the criminal who shot at the POTUS. 

          While I may hate him as a person, disagree with his policies, and overall feel he’s a domestic enemy, that does not change the fact he is the POTUS and deserves the respect given that office.  You accuse me of a who can shout louder style debate, yet here you are coming in and accusing me of not knowing history, ignoring facts, yet you present none yourself.

          Instead you accuse me in a round about way of wanting to the POTUS assassinated.  You’re right we are done here because obviously you can do nothing but attempt to ridicule who I am and make me out to be something I’m not.

          So is this an example of civil disobedience? I thought that’s called a riot.

  2. L. Fraser says:

    I’m a little confused as to how “We will take our cues from survivors and not release any information about their assaults, even to the police, if they don’t explcitly tell us to” is the same as encouraging people not to report their assaults to police.  That’s a pretty standard confidentiality approach to take, and one that I have encouraged others to take when doing sexual assault awareness training.  Also confused as to how constructing safe space is discrimination.

    I share some of your misgivings about the Occupy movement, but this doesn’t seem to me to be a valid criticism.

    • Confidentiality is one thing, actively protecting a predator is something different.  Any victim should be encouraged to pursue their attacker, it is not their fault and doing nothing about it does nothing but shield their attacker allowing him to continue preying upon others.  They way the confidentiality is being treated though is, don’t contact the police first, contact us.  That’s not confidentiality, that’s protecting the predator.  Telling people to come to us before the police != protecting confidentiality.  Confidentiality means you speak to NO ONE about it.

      As for a “safe space” that is nothing more than the social equivalent of a “gun free zone”.  Instead of actively pursuing the threat, the response is to group and “shame” the victims as being unable to protect themselves.

      • Dave M. says:

        Am not a victims rights counselor, but as I understand it, in the real world, their position is: “We will support you whatever your choice ends up being.  If you choose not to go to the police we will help you never the less.  If you choose to go to the police; label your attacker; press charges; and cooperate with their investigations: we will support that as well.”

        As I understand it, empowering the ‘victim’ often leads to improved cooperation and prosecution.

        In my own opinion the “teams” need to cultivate positive relations with real world analogues of their positions: i.e. figure out what it would require to comply with current regulations and responsibilities, so that they are free to use their rights and voice their concerns.

        • I do not see this as an attempt to empower the victims.  Empowering the victim means giving them a voice and not trying to centrally control the information.  As I pointed out above the statement of come and see them prior to reporting it to the police is disturbing.  That implies that the victim should seek out the support of the local occupiers prior to actually reporting it to the police if they so desire.

          If they want to provide counseling to victims they should say so, but saying “come here before the police” is the WRONG type of statement to make.  Doubly so since that type of statement can have an impact on the behavior of current and future victims that is NOT for the better.

          Society as a whole has a very nasty habit of providing negative reinforcement against those who are victims and actually bother to report it, or convince victims that they should.  It is down right despicable and I see that statement as a further effort in adding to the negative reinforcement.