Tuesday, January 15, 2013
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
A police officer testified to expectations of hostility, aggression, a superbowl-like atmosphere, that vandalism was inevitable. I wonder locally what events he based that on, what crowds, what rallies, what demonstrations at the Town Clock that turned negative. Even trained observers can see what they expect to see. Disorder was expected; police arrived in riot gear and had tear gas on call. Local activists were expected; police identified and charged one person – she was only on the grass. The judge believes vandalism is a 'natural and inevitable consequence' of trespass.
Social change is about changing the historic consequences, setting new expectations and results. The police looked at the bandanna masks and saw attempts to evade identification. I saw the bandannas as symbols of cohesion and support, like the pink ribbons, yellow ribbons, other cause identifiers. Law enforcement seems to be looking for leaders, individuals to blame and punish -- a leaderless group doesn't fit the structure: the success or blame goes to the project.
There had been federally orchestrated enforcement and suppression - this lens created the view. Santa Cruz Police Department was compliant -- not only did it find what it expected, it helped create it.