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Police and the Free Speech movement


I saw this in a Vietnam class I've been taking this semester at college (Lynchburg, which is also infamous in the south for its civil actions).

I was shocked by the police brutality, even though there weren't any violent actions until the police started beating on people.

Violence, as seen throughout the years, solves nothing and further riles people up. :(

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The only thing shocking about police brutality is that people are shocked by it. This country (the US) has a long history of it, stretching from present day instances like the murder of Oscar Grant by Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, CA all the back to the violent suppression of Shay's Rebellion (the latter incident was actually indirectly responsible for the convening of the Continental Congress to draw up the US Constitution).

Either way, it's pretty telling about your ethnicity that you were shocked. What I mean by that is the topic of police/government violence was touched upon by two of the African-American interviewees (Wahid Rashad and his wife) who said that they weren't surprised and in fact had very little emotional reaction to the Kent State killings because, unfortunately, as black people living during that time they were used to it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to call you an ignorant white guy (I am, in fact, white myself). But, the difference in reactions to police violence between whites and minorities has never ceased to amaze me. From the shock and horror over the actions of the police at the "Battle of Seattle" on the part of white people in 1999 to the dismay that went along with the fallout from the DNC and RNC protests in LA and Philadelphia, respectively, in 2000. On the one hand, white people go out to protest and are surprised when they get their heads cracked, and on the other hand are African-Americans and Latinos going 'Welcome to our world.'

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There's a reason it's called The Police FORCE.

Seriously though, do a little research into the actual reason most cities saw the need to create large police departments and you'll find that they were implemented with those numbers in order to be deterrents and counter-opposition forces to the large numbers of union and striking workers that began to organize and protest for reforms and better pay. When those started to occur in the late 19th century, cities and local governments previously used Pinkerton agents and their like to "bust up" these annoying protesters. That proved to be too expensive, though, so the idea of a large, standing police force would do the job at a fraction of the cost. Basically, publicly-employed thugs were cheaper to hire and maintain on a government payroll than private thugs-for-hire.



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