America is uneasy. Reporters have shocked the nation with visions of police violence against protesters this year as the Occupy movement picks up steam. A college student bleeds into the pavement as a police officer prepares to handcuff him. A protester is run over by a motorcycle cop. A war veteran is brained by a tear gas canister. It’s getting nasty.
Occupy Eugene has been baffled. We are wondering what went wrong. As we understood the movement, it was a protest of the underhanded double dealings that are crippling this country. In order to change it, we have to present a different attitude. This means being clear in communication and open with decision making. That means talking to our cops.
We talked to our cops. Our cops talked to us. We talked to the city mangers. Our city managers talked to us. We talked to our mayor. Our mayor talked to us. We worked it out.
Our cops had very reasonable requests. They had security concerns and sanitation concerns. We worked out how to meet these concerns with the approval of the General Assembly. We now have a working kitchen, a medical tent, 24 hour peacekeepers, regularly maintained toilets, a covered assembly tent, and an on-site library. We covered the paths with barko mulch paid for by donations.
Our cops come by and check to make sure every thing running smoothly. Sometimes they bring donations of warm clothing on their days off. Sometimes they stop traffic so we can march without interruption. Sometimes they pop over to settle a disturbance. They do it all with style and grace.
Our cops do not lurk scowling in corners. They do not threaten people with batons. They do not toss flash grenades at citizens running to the aid of an injured American. They do not confiscate space heaters the night before a snowstorm.
Our cops are civilized. They understand the point of the Occupy movement to prompt social and economic evolution. They understand that what we accomplish here will make every one’s life better.
We like our cops. Pay attention, America. This is where the real news is.
*Thanks to David Sierralupe for sharing his photo.