Saturday, October 8, 2011

A View of "Occupy Wall Street" from the Other Side

This is a guest post written by a New York City police officer. His wife is also on the force.

I have friends on both side of the Wall Street picket line. I have tried to see both sides of the story. I would love to understand what the protesters are trying to accomplish. All I see are a bunch of unorganized kids wasting the NYPD's time and resources. What is your goal and endgame? All I know is that my wife is being forced to work on our weekend together because you want to sleep in the park and pretend you are part of something making a difference.

We are not rich "wall street devils". We are hard working moderate people trying our best to make a living in a tough city. We both have sacrificed for our city and our country, regardless of the politics of the moment. I served under both Clinton and Bush, Democrat and Republican. I am proud of my country and will always protect our citizens' right to protest. BUT... protesters... you are not doing a thing to hurt corporate money, you are helping guys like the Park Slope rapist. You are taking resources from the real crime and wasting time "storming" wall street.

Grow up and realize that the real heroes are the troops serving this country every day. Send your food and support to the troops who are really doing something for this country. You wanted Obama and you got him. No more Bush to blame. Put away your iPads, iPods, gap shirts, Sony cams and really do something to effect change in the country. Grow up and stop blaming everyone else for your not being a productive member of society.

The NYPD is not your enemy. We are your friends, neighbors, and family. Don't break the law and expect the NYPD to just stand by. The law is enforced equally whether you are the KKK, Black Panthers, Wall Street protesters, or Neo Nazis. Grow up, make your point and stop making the lives of the very people you pretend to represent more difficult.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I think the NYPD may be overreacting slightly. When I stopped by to see what these protests were about I was struck by how tame and obedient they were. I definitely understand being upset about losing a weekend with your wife-I've been there. But I think there is more focus in these groups than it seems at first. Also, I'm not so sure that they aren't having an effect. Democratic leadership has responded to some of their sentiment and Obama has said he wouldn't say no to a "millionaire's tax." That may not seem like much, but for the last 10 years talking about raising anyone's taxes has basically been political suicide. It actually says a lot that they think they can get away with proposing it. Their support is growing and so is their ability to accomplish something. From what I understand, the protests are trying to be a safe apace for people to make a point. The most commonly repeated points will be the ones that have the most sway. We'll se what they are.

Also, I'm sure not enough people thank the NYPD for their work down there. Despite what some of the protesters may think, NYPD (with only 1 or 2 minor exceptions) has handled this phenomenally well. The officers on the ground are usually nothing but polite and helpful and are being very fair about applying the rules. Thanks is in order from everyone, protestor and non protestor alike, because this could have been a nightmare. I hope you get a chance to have a weekend with eachother soon. It's draining, and politics can be glacially slow, but it seems like the protests may end up helping things in the end. Hopefully it will be worth it. Good luck and thank you for your hard work. I think everyone in NY appreciates it.

Bobby M said...

Thank you for this post! We are on your side. With any large protest or movement there will be those who don't understand the importance of nonviolence and peaceful protest. I think it's telling that 30k people showed up and only 28 were arrested. That's .001%. I'd qualify that as peaceful and law abiding citizens. OccupyWallStreet supports the NYPD and other civil servants. You are the 99% as well! The NYPD has been, for the most part, excellent in doing your job. How many cops were out on Wednesday? An extremely small % acted inappropriately with the vast majority protecting and serving. We support you and the NYPD!

Anonymous said...

"You wanted Obama and you got him. No more Bush to blame". Typical conservative. You guys pretend like 2000-08 didn't happen and we woke up on Jan. 20, 2009 and the country went to shit all of a sudden. Wall Street and Bush era policies brought this country to it's knees. The Tea Party came out to protest taxes when they are at the lowest in 50 years. That's a fact. But when citizens who are angry at the right people show up to protest, they are told they are lazy, jobless kids who blame everyone else for their problems. You don't want to hold anyone accountable but the President for something he had no part in except for trying to clean it up. Why is it that the Tea Party gained legitimacy for an illegitimate claim but Occupy Wall St. is mad at the right people and you tell them to go home? If nothing else, I think the point of the movement is that the banking and financial industry got a pass for economic destruction at the cost of working class folks and OWS is sick of them not being held accountable.

d310 said...

i guess you would have also been on King Georges' side, during the revolution because of the personal inconvenience

Anonymous said...

Judging by the tone of this article, it's no wonder that peaceful protesters are being assaulted and arrested by NYPD like him.

Occupy Wall Street protesters deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the KKK, Black Panthers, and Neo Nazis? Really?

Press on protesters! The majority are rooting for you!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"The law is enforced equally whether you are the KKK, Black Panthers, Wall Street protesters, or Neo Nazis."

Sorry, but after that statement, lumping #OccupyWallStreet with the "KKK, Black Panthers and Neo Nazis" I have to seriously question your credibility and your ability to be impartial.

Anonymous said...

Then open Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

It's to bad you don't understand what this movement is all about. I guarantee you are not part of the 1%. They are the ones getting ridiculously rich off the backs of the 99% by keeping wages low, increasing the work load by laying people off and making the ones that are left pick up the slack or just shipping jobs overseas. How can you not see that? That is only 1 part of the problem. The people don't have a voice anymore. Only people with money dictate what drives policy in our government. Open your eyes man. This is huge and can't be summed up with one demand. The protest in Portland have been wonderfully peaceful. We aren't all just a bunch of kids causing problems.

Sunboy67 said...

There is nothing about America to be proud of anymore. Torture, institutionalised lawbreaking, Guantanamo Bay, nepotism, a weapons budget that exceeds the military expenditures of the rest of the world combined, 100,000 dead in Iraq, no W.M.D. (but that was never in doubt), the largest prison population on the planet, a failed drug war, a failed terror war, an infrastructure that is rotting to its core, a corrupt financial system, whistle-blowers that are tortured instead of honoured (Bradley Manning), etc, etc.

Grow up?

I don't know how old you are, but I remember the days when the very idea that America would become a country where torture has been normalised as a viable component of foreign policy would have sounded like the rantings of a lunatic. How far we have fallen since then.

If, four decades ago, someone would've told me that America would become a country where the executive branch could engage in all manner of illegal acts with absolute impunity due to the all-encompassing magic of the "state secrets" claim, I would've laughed. (Glenn Greenwald writes on these subjects with eloquence and power and I encourage you to visit his column as Salon.com)

I lived in New York City from 1990 to 2003. In 2003 I left the city and the country (with a heavy heart, I might add) because I did not want my tax money to fund the American War Machine. In 2008, by way of my absentee ballot, I voted for Barack Obama under the mistaken belief that he would reverse the policies of George W. Bush and end America's descent. However, as we all have seen, Obama has not only continued Bush's policies, he has strengthened them.

While I do wonder how long the protests downtown can maintain momentum, I am also mindful of the fact that we are living in a new reality--and this reality includes such uncontrollable, unknowable forces as Anonymous.

The world is watching, my friend. Just go here and glimpse the endless stream of commentary flowing up the page:

http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

Somewhere in those torrents of free-flowing information I am beginning to sense the birth of something that will transform the United States. It just may be that the Arab Spring is giving way to the American Fall.

Anonymous said...

How many murderers did you defend behind the Blue Wall? How much evidence fabricated, how many innocent people brutalized, how many Bad Cops did you defend? Because the Blue Wall exists and no matter how much of a good cop you are, you are culpable for defending Fascists.

Anonymous said...

In other words they/we should all just shut up and think like you do? You seem to forget that this country was built to accommodate dissent, to allow protest. That is what those men and women are supposedly fighting for in the middle east. You have your way of standing up and doing what you think is right for this country and I applaud you for that, but it is just as "American" for those protesters to see things very differently and it is equally courageous for them to be standing up for their beliefs even if you don't agree with them.

Also from what I've read and watched a vast majority of the protesters are being very respectful of the laws of your city.

Anonymous said...

White collar crime is rampant. It has taken over our financial system. We are systematically being mugged by banks and Wall Street. What is NYPD doing about it?

Anonymous said...

Another working/middle class American who totally doesn't see the end game of the rulers after 30 years of wage stagnation and benefit erosion at the hands of the robber barons and the government they bought out from under us.

Fails to recognize that many who are suffering and are among the protesters are also veterans who served this country honorably and got tossed aside in favor of the robber barons on Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

Typical selfish, self satisfied, and ignorant fool. I suppose this cop never bothered to read the US Constitution he's supposedly so proud to defend. He doesn't understand that it is not only the right, but the obligation of citizens in a democracy to gather and to protest in force when the government abdicates it's responsibility to the people. Irony or ironies, he points out that "You wanted OBama, you got him" yet fails to recognize that he offers the clearest proof yet, of a political system, so broken, that even the election of a supposedly transformational leader like Obama, changed nothing.

If we are not obligated to take to the streets now, then when? When is enough, enough?

This cop pulls the FauxNews/Conservative ploy of invoking "the troops" as the real heroes of the nation, again failing to once again, miss the tragic irony in his own words - "the troops" who have volunteered and sacrificed and indeed are heroes, are also hit hardest by the cynical politics of the day that at once invokes their honor, while destroying the very institutions and programs these men and women rely on to survive - the VA, public housing, education, energy and nutritional assistance. One in three military families rely on food stamps to make ends meet. But the people this cop supposedly thinks are above rebuke, would tell that family that they are not working hard enough or smart enough and that they should pay more in taxes and fees - because it's their own fault that they rely on government sponsored social programs!

If not now, when is it time to take to the streets to protest this injustice?

How about that cop and his own family - how many budget cuts, and how many union sacrifices will be too much for his family to bear? Perhaps when he looses his union provided pension to a corrupt Wall St, while his tax dollars continue to fund the bonus pools of bankrupt banks, when his kids can no longer get lunch, art, music, sports, or extra help at school (hey - that day is here!). Or when his union provided medical benefits are cut back so far that any serious illness threatens to bankrupt his family, just as it does for all those military families he worships...

Perhaps though, he's a true believer and will gladly shoulder the responsibility for his demise as a product of his own laziness, ineptitude, or just bad luck.

But, i doubt it.

Anonymous said...

seriously...get your head out of your ass, "officer can't see what's in front of him", I'm glad your ruined weekend is a good enough reason to justify the outcry of a generation.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks for all the comments, even the ones that aren't civil. I am not the author of this post. I hope he will comment as well.

Likening OWS to the American Revolution is a bit of a stretch. I agree that a lot of what Wall Street and the banks have done is very wrong. I too wonder why Obama appointed all the insiders as his top financial people. I thought he was going to change things.

In all the 14 comments so far, I fail to detect even a hint of a plan. Being angry is great, but what is your solution?

Anonymous said...

The protests diverting resources away from fighting real crime? Give me a break; your managers at the City/NYPD are choosing to send a large police contingent down to what have been largely peaceful protests.

The protesters are not the problem here; it is the over-the-top reaction from the City/Police. I don't have to wonder who they represent. Club a protester for a banker next time you are down there pal; then go home and cash the the paycheck that those same bankers provided you.

Anonymous said...

At this point, Skeptical, the plan is largely tied to visibility and awareness. Every time we hold an event, every time someone posts images or video to facebook, more Americans become aware that they have an option to stand up against rampant inequality.

That's why Occupy demonstrations are now occurring in hundreds of U.S. cities and on six continents.

Members and supporters of OWS certainly have plans and ideas for how the system can be improved. There is no single plan or demand thus far -- that discussion is a huge part of what's happening right now! No one is claiming that they have all the answers to fix the system. But we are claiming that the current system is so broken that it's time to take a different approach.

Please note, though, that the lack of a single message should not be confused with being disorganized. OWS is hyperorganized -- with multiple committees and action groups all working on separate fronts, yet still coordinated, largely through online means.

I appreciate this view from the NYPD, but as others have mentioned above, it's awfully tough to take him seriously when he compares OWS to neo-Nazis and the KKK.

We should "grow up?" This is an entire generation growing up at the same time. We have been told what to do, we have been let down, so now we're figuring it out on our own.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Note to those who wish to comment:

I welcome dissent and rational discourse but I reserve the right to decline to publish comments that are personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

do you support the protesters? take the poll - right now 74% in favor...

http://bit.ly/oGMY3U

james said...

You reminded me of Javert from Les Misérables. Like Javert you have renounced your working class background to work in favor of the rich. You are fighting to protect a corrupt system that looks down upon you and your profession. Do you think that you are going protected much longer? Do you not think the corporate types will take away your union and benefits when they finish with rest of us?

It is funny you said support the troops but for what? Our freedom is more in danger of being taken away from people like you and those you support then someone living in a cave thousand miles away. I do support the troops and that is why I want to have good benefits and pay. I also do not want to be fighting for corporations like they are now.

webnichole said...

"In all the 14 comments so far, I fail to detect even a hint of a plan. Being angry is great, but what is your solution?"

Hmmm, and would a solid agenda help you at all to understand that things have gone very awry in USA? What would a list of talking points provide that an open invitation to speak your own mind without an agenda doesn't provide.

BHO and the Dems provided a "platform. McCain and the GOP did the same.The congressional GOP/Tea Party have done the same, but what exactly has been accomplished by those agendas in terms of ending torture and occupation abroad and job loss and financial capture of democracy in USA?

I'm not certain that I see a positive argument, Scapel, on providing a list of points. I think that the point is people should get off their behinds, shut down tvs and the pervasive ideas that someone else's agenda will help me participate in a democratic government or protest. They won't.

For a democracy to work I must form my own notions of what should be done without delegating or abdicating my power to Dave and Charlie Koch, or Jamie Dimon, BHO, or John Boehner. My work is to clarify my mind and effort, and then unite with others willing to promote democratic solutions and hear their ideas and hopes. That appears to be happening at OWS.

That OWS doesn't sound like a G8 summit, a session of Congress or the O'Reilly Show isn't a bug, it's a truly democratic feature. That being so and our heritage of pushing democracy and making the world safe for said democracy, why do Americans not understand the concept of democracy and criticize those who do for not having a set-in-stone agenda they can renege on in six months and be labeled by yourself and others as "failures?"

Get used to the fact that democracy has a plethora of agendas and that the difficult part is allowing all voices to take part, listen, speak and choose among a myriad choices.

spacecynic said...

how's this for a plan:

raise reserve requirements for all banks to 20%, and reinstate Glass Steagall to create wall between commercial and investment banking.

require all banks to use mark to market accounting

Let the banks that fail, FAIL.

break up the teachers' unions and let us get the educational system we deserve for the $ we already spend

Audit the Federal Reserve

Take $ saved from bailing out banks and invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure (which will create jobs rather than just giving people unemployment $).

Sounds like a good plan to me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Officer! You are exactly right. One other thing - guess who gets to pay for the clean-up of the massive mess these protesters are making? Not them. Not Wall Street. Again, ordinary people, the taxpayers of NYC.

Anonymous said...

I posted up above and I first want to thank-you for allowing the post. I have to admit that after I hit submit and saw that it had to be approved I was dubious as to whether you would allow opposing views, I am glad I was wrong in that assumption.

I think it the movement is doing just the right thing - building a movement. We all know that Wall St. is not going to meet any demands from the protesters and I don't think that is the point of the protest. The idea is to wake people up to the fact that the country doesn't have to be sold off to the highest corporate bidder, that we, the 99%, are not the minority and that we do have strength in numbers. I don't think that this is about specific demands, this is about showing the establishment that we haven't been anesthetized past the point of no return by the bread and circus that we can't still create a groundswell and show some strength. I think that Occupy will naturally coalesce into more specific goals and actions that will have direct political impact, but this kind of movement takes time to grow. I hope it holds, this country needs a second voice.

Anonymous said...

When you get laid off, and told your pension is gone. You might have wished you were a protester as well. Stop crying, you'll get your overtime for the weekend work at the tax payers expense.

Maybe you'll get lucky soon and get to pepper spray some soccer mom. Remember your buddy Tony Balony?

Laurie said...

I don't think he was trying to liken protestors to the KKK, I think he was trying to make the point that no matter who you are the police will enforce the law. Easy with the witch hammer everybody, police are people too. You're right, they are just like the rest of the 99% trying to get by and given their profession, they are between a rock and hard place. Whether we like it or not, its true. You can split hairs all day, but how about this? Understand each other's frustrations and just keep on trucking peacefully. Wall Street wants the kind of tension and anger on display here. Everybody is mad as hell, but if this is how the police see things then maybe it should be used as constructive criticism. How can we be doing things differently? How can we change their minds?

Police are people. Protestors are people. Listening is a two way street, don't turn into animals.

Anonymous said...

This cop seems to think it is all about him.

Anonymous said...

"Police are people. Protestors are people. Listening is a two way street, don't turn into animals."

Tell that to the guys with the nightsticks and the pepper spray.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. has irrationally idolized police officers (particularly the NYPD) ever since 9/11, and that is coming to an end. The protesters see them for what they really are. Guardians of the top 1%.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

@spacecynic

Your plan is not bad. Is it your personal plan or OWS's plan? I haven't heard anything like this from OWS.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I visited the 9/11 Memorial yesterday (http://is.gd/ZDPBcq).

I passed by the Occupy Wall Street protesters. A lot of people were milling around. Some were playing drums with a nice rhythmic beat.

It reminded me of the late 1960s.

Felix said...

The philosophy of our fit in society should emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity; becoming a rational human being with rational thinking; with a little bit of altruism sprinkled on top; along with the Golden and Silver Rules.

Code said...

"One other thing - guess who gets to pay for the clean-up of the massive mess these protesters are making? Not them."

Actually, the protestors have clean up crews to take care of these things. They're fairly well organised, which you would know if you bothered to spend 2 seconds looking in to what you're complaining about.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

@Code

If it ever ends, we will see who cleans up.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

@Code

As predicted, the city of New York is cleaning the park. No protestor cleaning crews are around to "take care of things."

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