So, after learning more about what happened at the UC Davis campus, I’ve changed my mind. We ask polices officers to do a job. That job entails them to enforce the laws as they understand them. When they are told to go remove people blocking a public pathway, they go do it.
In this instance, the protestors were given plenty of notice of the penalties for failing to unblock the sidewalk. Those who continued to stay there knew the consequences of their actions and were planning on getting sprayed – it makes great PR.
I can’t fault the cops here. They were doing their job. We get pissed when they don’t apply the law, we get pissed when they do. I have a natural instinct to distrust “authority”, but I need to be careful of that. I’m not an anarchist and while I think we have too much ‘law & order’, I don’t want Option C – None at all. The fear for me is that I see the same cops who are ‘just breaking up an unruly protest’ just as easily directed to my house because ‘he might have an arsenal of Brillo Pads that could be readily converted to a silencer’. I fear the misuse of the police to the point where I tend to view the appropriate use with a gimlet eye.