Monday, November 21, 2011

The Frogs Do Not Die In Sport, But In Earnest.

I can't think of anything more terrifying than being pepper sprayed or tear gassed. When I was a kid, my dad took me to a Ku Klux Klan rally on the steps of the city court in Memphis. It was a largely peaceful protest...until tempers flared. Amidst the tumult of acrid words and tense bodies, someone threw an orange...then a bottle of vodka...I remember that particular missile floating right over my head, even to this day.

Then, tear gas. My eyes felt like they were burning clean from my skull, my face felt like I had doused it in lava. I was blind. I was twelve. I ran, leaving my father behind in an attempt to escape the tear gas. Some could question the parenting skills of my father for taking me to such a place at that tender age...but I don't. The experience taught me more about race relations and the trials that I would have to face as a person whose ideals and very existence were an affront to the American way of being than any class or symposium or group of talking heads ever has.

Did the group of protestors in Memphis deserve to be gassed? Perhaps. It was a group of disgruntled minorities, people who had been trod upon their entire lives, listening to a group of entitled members of society go on about why they were treated in such a terrible manner. Things were almost destined to go bad, the amount of animus between the KKK and blacks is legendary. The Occupy movement doesn't fit into those same paradigms. Or do they? I'm not entirely sure yet.

What do I know? I know that still, then as today, the use of chemical control agents on largely peaceful groups a deplorable act. These men should not be allowed to continue as "protectors" of the public, when they respond with this measure of force to a group of people who are doing them absolutely no harm.

I wonder though, is casual act of personal terrorism attributable to the attitudes of men, or police? Or men as police?

Who can say?

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