- some thoughts after almost being arrested today.
- i almost got arrested this morning. why? i was sitting on the grass with a few members of Occupy Chicago, outside the court at 26th/Cali, drinking coffee and enjoying the shade, and watching the belongings of others that went inside the court room. 12 police officers, CPD and sheriffs, approached and demanded we move away from our belongings and show them our id's. they claimed we could be starting fires, since cigarettes tossed in the area had been smoldering in the dry grass, and asked us to move to the other side of the street. i asked why i needed to show my id and they said because they asked for it. while one cop was running our ids, i took a picture of the assembled police. immediately i was surrounded by 4 of the sheriffs, in all black with no visible badges or names. one demanded that i show them the picture or video i took and delete it. i asked them why? he said delete the picture. i asked why again and he said that i have to delete the picture. i asked what his name was and why he had no badge number. he told me his name was Chad Miller, badge #6431, and then repeated his "request". i then asked him if he needed a warrant to look at the contents of my phone, and he said he did not. he said that it is illegal to film police in the state of illinois and repeated that he does not need a warrant. both of these statements are false. one, the 4th amendment states i am protected against illegal search and seizure. and two, the status of the IL eavesdropping law is in question, since a appeals court as put an injunction on enforcing the law for now, due to possible infringement on 1st amendment rights.
- but, i caved. out of fear, or "live to fight another day", or whatever. i caved. i justified it several ways, the arrest wouldn't be strategic, there were no NLG around to observe, etc. but, regardless of why, in the end, i let his act of power intimidate me.
- i deleted the picture, i showed him i didn't take any videos, and he stepped away.
- yes, i feel upset and violated. at the blatant lies and implied threat of force and harm this sheriff made, a person in a role that, according to what i've been taught my whole life, is synonymous with truth, bravery, and heroics.
- and this is nothing compared to the intimidation and harassment the police do on a daily basis around the country, especially towards the poor and people of color. the very reason i was at the court house was to support the 5 activists that are facing very serious charges because the city and mayor need to prove they have the bigger dicks than a peaceful protest group, and have fabricated some felony charges to justify their huge expenses.
- so, the point of this note is this: i let fear make my decision for me. and i know you can relate to that. we all can. we live our lives, day in and day out, seeing the injustice and inequities around us, and we do little to nothing. we look away, we justify our lack of action, we move on. why? we are afraid. afraid of what happens to our comfortable world if we speak out. afraid of losing what little we have if we stand up. afraid that we can't possibly do anything because we are just one person. afraid that we will fall behind if we focus on anything other than getting by.
- when does that stop? when do we all decide we can't take it anymore? it's when it effects you personally, i know that. i believe it already as. look around you.you or someone you know or care about is struggling to keep their house, to find a job, to raise a family, pay off debt, or worrying about the education of their kids. yet we, as a society, don't react. why?
- our society is like an addict. we're addicted to our comfortable world, willing to look the other way as freedoms get trampled and atrocities are committed in our names and paid for with our money. and like an addict, our society has to hit rock bottom before any change can happen. that is a scary prospect. what does society wide rock bottom look like? the economic recession we are in now apparently isn't it. the 2 wars, with a 3rd on the way apparently aren't it. the impending global ecological catastrophe is apparently not it. what it will be is scary to imagine.
- unless we all decide enough is enough now and decide to not wait for it to be really terrible.
- and change is going to be hard. it's going to hurt, emotionally and physically. it's going to shake our comfortable existence to the very core. but the longer we wait, the harder it will be.
- we can't wait any longer.
- our planet is being killed and our shared future is being traded for the immediate gains of a wealthy few. we need to have a political awakening in this country and soon. i don't care how you become politically active. i really don't. but voting every 4 years isn't enough. voting alone, anytime, is never enough. do your own research, call your reps, your senators. talk to your neighbors and family and friends about issues of the day. educate yourself. read something, then read something else. i don't care if you agree with me. i know most of you won't. its not about agreeing. it's about debating and discussing, and getting involved in the process. our future is being decided by an increasingly smaller number of wealthy elite. the system that is in place to defend against that is not working correctly anymore.
- the future needs you to change the present so that the future can exist. it's time to get involved. please do something. anything. don't let the fear guide you. we are all afraid. but we are strong together.
a guest Jun 12th, 2012 94 Never
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