Occupy. It’s a word that can invoke anger in a person. Anger for many different reasons. And, I’m no different. At this point I am no supporter of Occupy. Not because I don’t believe our financial system is messed up. Not because I don’t believe that there are REAL problems. But because, from my perspective Occupy isn’t even about that anymore. Occupy has become a movement against authority, specifically the police officers who are called to control the camps, or move them.
Recently there has been a lot of buzz amidst the internet about the pepper spray incident at UC Davis. From the beginning the feel of this buzz has bothered me, because the video is shot from a very skewed view. It leaves much of the story untold, and spins it to make these officers look like terrible people, specifically one officer. Because of the nature of the reporting on this matter, I do not know whether this officer was doing the right thing or the wrong thing by pepper spraying those students. There is a lot that our officers have to take into account every single day in every single situation to provide for the safety of those they serve, and for themselves. Do cops make mistakes? Yes they do. Do Firemen? Yes. Do McDonald’s workers? Yes. Do Taxi Drivers? Yes. EVERYONE makes mistakes. But when a cop makes a mistake it is often national news. I’m not saying their mistakes should be excused, even forgiven sin has consequences. But really, let’s be honest. I made a mistake yesterday in my profession…. I yelled at my kids and hurt their feelings. Should I no longer be a parent? I love my kids with everything in me, but I make mistakes too. Again, I don’t know that the pepper spray incident WAS a mistake, from my take there was a lot of yelling and screaming in the video, and it seemed like a volatile situation where the officers had to find the best way to subdue it before someone got seriously hurt.
These officers are called in to move these camps. Some of the officers believe in the mission of Occupy, and some do not. But that doesn’t affect what they are called in to do. These protestors are refusing to leave, and that leaves the officers little choice on how to proceed. I heard on the news this morning that one camp that was moved was so bad that they had to call in HazMat crews to clean it up. The cost of this is huge, and a waste of our money. I would say one thing- if you’re going to camp out, at least keep it clean!!!! Maybe if these camps weren’t unsanitary they wouldn’t be so interested in making them move! But that isn’t what this post is about.
Shortly after that incident one of the Occupy Groups created a poster that had a picture of the pepper spraying, and a candid picture of the officer with his name and personal information, urging people to call the various offices to complain about him. I can not put into words how hurt I was seeing this poster on a facebook page. You see, I’ve been on the other side of that. My husband was called “One of the Three Stooges” on the news at one time. He was vilified and made fun of. For doing his job. For caring enough about people to risk his life DAILY. He took someone off the streets who was in no condition to drive, and did the right thing. He knew as he arrested this person that it would make the news, because it was a high profile person. But, instead of taking the easy way out, he did the unpopular thing and did his job. No one likes to be the bad guy……Not even our officers.
I remember after 9/11 how people were so thankful to ALL of our first responders. It was so nice to have my husband finally be treated with dignity and respect by the people. I was so proud of our country during that time. We have a joke in our house, where we often say, “Everyone loves a fireman”…. It’s often said in jest, but it’s true. They are ALL first responders and deserve even a kind smile.
It makes me sad that people are so quick to jump on the “We hate the pigs” bandwagon. Listen, these officers are more than that. My husband has been called a “Stooge”, a Pig, a Jerk, and many other words that I care not to repeat. He’s been yelled at, complained on, and hated. And I can tell you with absolute confidence that every single day when he goes to work, he goes with the intention of helping those around him. He’s often tired, he works long hours, and he works (at the current time) THREE jobs just to support his family. We are NOT part of the 1%. Let me just say that. We live in a very modest house, and struggle to pay for life, just like everyone else. But one thing is for sure. My husband is an officer because he is a protector and loves people. I know that he would lay down his life to protect someone if it was necessary. I hope it never happens, but I know that he does what he loves, and it is an extension of who he is. When he has to get ugly with someone on the street, let me assure you, he doesn’t want to. And, being an officer’s wife, I know that to be true for the majority of them.
So the next time you see an officer, either on a professional basis or not, please be kind. Know that their job is hard. Know that they spend a huge amount of time away from their family to do this job. And know that their wives, children, mothers, brothers, sisters, and other friends and family worry about them constantly.
If you’re a reader and would like to make a blog post in support of our officers, please link to it in in the comments.. I think it’s high time the other part of the the 99% stood up and said something.