However, about 3 days ago I was right at the crossroads of a political skirmish/clash/line drawn in the sand. I was at Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk, a monthly event that brings middle class folk like me down to the ‘revitalized’ downtown area to admire art and mingle with artists and who knows, maybe even to purchase something that moves me. (Within my financial means, of course.) I was full of yummy food truck delights like Nom Nom sandwiches and Cool Cow gelato (met the owner/maker/seller, love small businesses!), and my friends and I were returning from seeing some really amazing work at The Hive gallery. I was parked at 2nd and Spring and we sauntered our way back, noticing that for some strange reason, people were walking in the middle of the street.
And there they were: a line of police officers in riot gear and a line of angry civilians. “What’s going on?”
What followed was a bit of organized chaos. The police were clearing the streets. They did this by systematically running in a line formation swinging their batons. Anyone in their right mind would know to get out of the way. We started running the other direction. (Yes, we were herded like cattle.) There were a few people who didn’t move, and yes, they did get hit with the clubs. I was in shock. I almost forgot to move if it wasn’t for my friend’s gentle but insistant tug on my left arm.
The the police would stop. In about 3-4 minutes they would do this running with clubs motion again and stop again after about 30 feet. It was very effective and efficient.
But what surprised me most was the crowd. Sure, there were a lot of lookie-loos like myself, people caught in the cross hairs, but there were some people who would shout and chant “F*ck the police!” “F you!” “There’s your tax money at work!” If anything was thrown at the police, it was a cue to move forward with batons, even if it was a soft drink cup.
Now here’s my thought, why are we against the police? What are they, merely people doing their job? I wouldn’t want their job. I wouldn’t want to wear a uniform and endure the ridicule or much less, the danger of being a walking target. I’m not saying that police are uncorrupt (I’m sure there’s always a bad egg somewhere, some places more than others), but I’m not understanding the overall hatred of them.
Apparently, the whole conflict stems from Occupy LA’s Chalk Walk. Ah! I remember them! They were on the right side of the street and they had chalked all over one particular sidewalk. (Apparently, chalking public property is illegal.) If I remember right, to the north of them were stationed a line of silent police officers standing in the military ‘at ease’ position. They weren’t in riot gear, in fact, these police were bike cops, the kind that rode on Schwinns or Giants. (To me, a cop with a bicycle helmet is slightly funny, but I digress.) And if my memory serves me right, the protesters were kinda…. mean. Of course, that’s MY opinion, but I found it was rude of them to be taunting the cops, “Get out of here PIGS!” Or whatever they were saying, and they would get into the police officers’ faces (in their personal space) and shout something that I couldn’t make out (or chose not to remember) while the officer stood stock still, looking forward. It was obviously confrontational, and when the protesters were coming up to me with chalk, it was “Come on! Go ahead, take some!” it was in that way that bullies used to ask me to do their math homework or the way my older cousins would taunt me to climb up a tree (before they would take away the ladder and run away. Yeah, bad memories)…
For me, it was too much negative chi and I remember making a decision to walk far to my left to get away from that powerful energy.
I don’t what I’m saying, and like I told you, I’m not so knowledgeable. I know that the Occupiers are supposedly fighting for me, because yes, chalking should not be illegal, but at the same time, belligerence is unbecoming and disconnecting… and how are we going to get anything done when we are so disrespectful to each other?