Thursday, December 19, 2013

Occupy My Space

Well, it turns out that one of the members of Half People, from my post yesterday, is a friend of a friend. That is what it is like living in such a small community. I'm not sure if being half of Half People qualifies them to be quarters or not. She has another project called Static People. It must get crowded with all of those halves.

If they all did a happy project together they could call it: Cashews.

But they are the cool local punk rockers. Hopefully they have a sense of humor about themselves. If not then no damage can be done, nothing can be hurt, and even less can be helped. This is what my punk sensibilities would tell me.

Well, I had a subject for today's post but now it has slipped my mind.

Oh yeah, we went for a car ride up to see snow last weekend, to the Tahoe area. Rachel had taken Rhys last year and he had a lot of fun, so we figured we'd try it again.

On the way there, heading north up the state we encountered what you generally will when traveling on an interstate. There were lots of Denny's restaurants, gas stations and big semi trucks. At one point in our trip we came upon a specific hillside that had the light brown grass that is famous in the region. It was cut so that a message could be read, for all to see.

"Occupy My Ass"

I thought this was pretty funny and it clearly seemed to be a message from a landowner responding to the nature of the Occupy Movement which had famously made the news in this area only a couple of years before. 

We were just south of Davis, where the incident occurred with the pepper spraying of students.

The image seemed to galvanize the feelings of many when they saw it. There was a very casual misuse of a harmful chemical against students who were being told that we, as a nation, were going to war against those who might engage in the misuse of chemicals. 

That is an oversimplification, of course, but that was a component of what made the image powerful and memorable. The establishment seemed quite blasé about their use of anti-riot tactics as well as their clear overreaction to a peaceful protest. 

First Amendment questions began to float in the air afterwards, once the pepper spray had dispersed. Excessive force had become part of a larger pattern, an accepted larger pattern recognized across many parts of America. 

Now, UC Davis is in the middle of nowhere, yet known for its liberal politics. The police chief of Davis had claimed that the students had the police surrounded and would not let them move. It was practically a case of  kidnapping, from their perspective. The police were clearly in danger and needed to escape. This was claimed even though there were multiple images and videos showing Lt. Pike casually dousing peaceful students.

Many people that I talked to believed this incident to have occurred at UC Berkeley. It seemed to elevate their sense of shock and indignation that this type of thing could happen at the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. But no, it was far up in the sticks. These students are not smart enough to be at Berkeley. Just look at them get pepper sprayed. What stronger argument could there possibly be for them being at Davis?

Well, it wasn't really my intention to write about the Occupy Movement and its de-centralized goals.

What I thought was funny was the "Occupy My Ass" statement. I doubt that the creator of this stroke of genius gave much thought to its possible alternate implications. 

Or, who knows, maybe they did and thought that was funny also. How, exactly, would one go about occupying somebody's ass? If they had been invited.

I thought that "Occupy My Rifle Scope" was much better and probably embodied the sentiment of the creator more fully, though it also required more effort and space to cut into a hillside. I didn't want to believe that this was a lazy landowner. I had little evidence either way. 

Landowners usually like to steer clear of litigation and prosecution. I mean, most people like to steer clear of prosecution. Some people invite litigation. 


The officer pictured above, Lt. John Pike, was never charged with a crime. 

Instead, he was awarded $40,000 in workers compensation for the psychological trauma this incident caused him.

Somebody must have occupied his lawyer's office.