— Retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, working as a legal observer after the raids on Zucotti Park this Tuesday, via Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism (via seriouslyamerica)
This is truly atrocious. Scott Olsen, 23, served in Iraq twice with the Marines and is currently under sedation with a skull fracture and brain swelling after the Oakland police threw a tear gas canister at him. They threw a second as fellow demonstrators rushed to his aid.
Out of curiosity, were there any other injuries to protestors? I feel like the only reason people are outraged by this is because he’s a Marine, which I find troubling on a few levels.
Well I think we know why! The military has always occupied an extremely high place in the mythology of the United States. From George Washington onward military service has exemplified in the public mind the highest duty one can perform for the nation.
What’s interesting is how this particular moment of police repression highlights the inability of mythology of the military as protector of the nation to comfortably exist alongside the policing of citizens at home. When those who served are brutilized by police forces while protesting, the disjuncture is made material. Naturally there are many others who were injured by the police, but the injury of ex-military protesters is a highly symbolic act, and serves as a very powerful rhetorical tool for the movement itself.
By the way! This great doc, Sir! No Sir! which is about military protest and insurrection during the Vietnam war, is great. And everybody should watch it.
^^ dan drops science over here.
Perfectly stated. I also think the attack on a two-time Iraq War veteran demonstrates Conservative hypocrisy pretty nicely. As stated above, military service is the highest duty one can serve for the nation, in the nationalist mindset and if you are critical of this (or any other) war, you hate soldiers. But when those same soldiers come home and are themselves critical of domestic policies, they are made out to be lazy parasites by the same pundits who claimed to champion them before. Sadly, Scott Olsen’s injuries represent the conservative media’s usery of military personnel to further their agenda. It won’t be long before the wags are calling him a traitor.