This afternoon, I heard an excellent discussion on Talk of the Nation that included an interview with the former Seattle police chief who ordered the use of tear gas in 1999--what they termed the "Battle in Seattle." When I heard the guest, I expected a defense of strong tactics, but was pleasantly surprised to hear Norm Stamper call that decision the worst of his 3 decade career. He sees a real tendency toward paramilitary tactics across the country.
Stamper made several good points, but one that I thought was really on point was that he sees police treating protesters like enemies. As he noted, police are working class individuals who will never make big money from serving the public. But while they have more in common with the 99%, they become a tool for the 1% and lose the realization that those protesting are fellow Americans. Unfortunately, I hear that same rhetoric from the right on this--almost as a continuation of Sarah Palin's "real America" theme.
One other OWS themed post came from our friend Greg in a very thoughtful essay comparing the OWS movement (in how certain groups have responded) to the Civil Rights movement. Then, as in now, evangelicals have largely sided with the status quo and labeled those in the movement as anarchists or insurgents opposing American values. But as he notes, and as Martin Marty also argued, this is, at least in part, a movement challenging opulence and vast wealth--things hardly compatible with the Gospel.
It is indefensible for people who worship a messiah who innocently suffered violence to support police efforts to batter and pepper spray peaceful protestors into compliance with a status quo that supports no one but people with more money than they will ever need, more than their grandchildren will ever need.