By Michael Snyder
How in the world can the United States condemn other nations for how they are handling their protest movements when we treat our own protesters so brutally? No matter what you may think of Occupy Wall Street and the other protest movements that have sprung up across the United States, the truth is that you should be incredibly alarmed about the tactics that law enforcement authorities are choosing to use against them. If we decide to accept these tactics now, then the exact same "police state" tactics will be used against you when the time comes that you want to protest against the government. In recent weeks, we have seen law enforcement authorities brutally dragging female protesters to the ground by their hair. We have also seen them use pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang stun grenades against protesters. If this is how protesters are going to be dealt with from now in America, then we have completely lost the moral high ground. How will we ever get other nations to take us seriously when we criticize their brutality against protesters when we are so brutal ourselves?
Yes, the Occupy Wall Street protesters have attempted to occupy some places that they are legally not allowed to occupy. Yes, some Occupy Wall Street protesters have done some things that warrant arrest. But that does not mean that the police have to act like they are working for Hitler, Mao or Stalin.
Yes, police have a very hard job. But there is no excuse for the police brutality that we have seen happen all over the nation recently. The police can enforce the laws and treat us all with gentleness and respect at the same time. If there are any police out there that do not believe that they can do this, then they should quit their jobs. There are lots of other people willing to fill them.
If you do not understand what I am talking about yet, just watch the videos posted below.
In this first video, a police officer walks up to a row of seated, unarmed protesters at UC Davis and sprays them repeatedly in the face with pepper spray. This video is almost too crazy for words....
How in the world can such brutality be justified?
Sadly, we are now seeing pepper spray being used quite liberally all over the nation. The following are a couple more very disturbing YouTube videos about pepper spray being used on protesters in recent weeks.
Also, be sure to check out this incredible photo of an unarmed young woman getting sprayed directly in the face with pepper spray during the Occupy Portland protests.
Is this what America has become?
Another brutal incident that made headlines all over the nation recently is shown in the next video posted below. In the video, you can see police brutally dragging three women by their hair to the ground.
One of the women is UCB English Professor Celeste Langan. She actually offered her wrists to the police and told them that they could arrest her, but that wasn't enough "fun" for the police. Instead, they yanked her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Then they did the same thing to two other women....
Is this how we are going to treat unarmed women in America from now on?
Do we now live in a country where "Big Brother" gets to do whatever it wants to do?
At the Occupy Denver protests recently, police fired rubber bullets at point blank range and showered the protesters with huge amounts of pepper spray in an attempt to get them to disperse.
This video speaks for itself....
For more about this shocking confrontation, check out the following video....
But it is not just at Occupy Wall Street protests where we are seeing these kinds of tactics.
For example, LRAD sound cannons are now being used by law enforcement authorities all over the United States. If you have never encountered an LRAD sound cannon, you should be thankful. They are absolutely brutal.
Exactly how much "damage" can an LRAD sound cannon do? Well, it turns out that they can actually do an immense amount of damage. The following is how Alternet recently described these weapons....
The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, built by American Technology Corporation, focuses and broadcasts sound over ranges of up to hundreds of yards. LRAD has been around for years, but Americans first took notice when police used it in Pittsburgh to ward off protesters at the 2009 G-20 summit. It is generally used in two ways: as a megaphone to order protesters to disperse; or, if they disobey, as an “ear-splitting siren” to drive them away. While LRAD may not be deadly, it can permanently damage hearing, depending on how it’s used.
LRAD sound cannons can be incredibly deadly. According to Wikipedia, they can "destroy the eardrums" and while they are supposed to be non-lethal the reality is that they can "kill under certain conditions".
If you get too close to an LRAD sound cannon while it is in use, permanent damage can result. Small children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
Sadly, these vicious weapons are now being used in a wide range of situations. As the video below shows, an LRAD sound cannon was actually used to help break up a college block party near Western Illinois University earlier this year....
This kind of stuff didn't happen in America back in the old days.
Is this what we are degenerating into?
Should we just accept that our future is going to be filled with pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, LRAD sound cannons and lots of police brutality?
Yes, our society is becoming incredibly unstable. But when law enforcement authorities do crazy stuff like this it just adds fuel to the fire.
Another major U.S. financial crisis is coming. Unemployment is going to go even higher. The economic crisis is going to get a lot worse. The protests in our streets are going to grow larger and more intense.
So will cooler heads prevail, or will confrontations between protesters and police become even more brutal and even more violent?
Once again, I am not defending all of the behavior of these protesters. Neither am I defending the things that all of them stand for.
However, the brutal crackdown that we have seen in recent weeks is an attack on all of us. The message that is being sent is that if you decide to stand up and say something in America today, you might be the next one to get pepper spray in the face or a boot on your neck.
America is becoming a much different place. All over America hearts are growing cold. It has become "normal" to be brutal and cruel to others.
What has happened to us?