If it was enough to bring Chet back to the keyboard, it is certainly enough to prompt a little mid-hiatus commentary from me.
The apocalyptic combination of sweltering heat, thunderstorms, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes was a fitting meteorological accessory to the past shitstorm of a weekend in the city formerly known as “Toronto The Good” (though “Toronto the Cowed” might be more appropriate at this point). The buildup of manic hyper-security ahead of the G20 Summit reduced downtown Toronto to a grim and fearful shell and fomented much resentment among city-dwellers and those who planned to take part in the demonstration that inevitably accompanies these multinational wingdings wherever they’re held. The stage was set, the goonery that followed was predictable, and I am only surprised that, apart from assaults to civil liberties, nobody was seriously injured during the “festivities”.
While thousands protested peacefully, the spotlight was grabbed by a brain-damaged few who trashed businesses and cop cars. The battered cruisers prompted speculation that they were purposely abandoned in order to lure the minority of violent protesters into doing what comes naturally to such lint-brains. In this case, what came naturally was leaping atop the vehicles, doing a fandango on the light-bars and setting the things ablaze in fires of such brainless magnitude that the images were astonishing people around the globe within seconds.
I don’t buy the “agent provocateur” meme that’s burning (metaphorically speaking) through the blogosphere at the moment, which is not to say it’s inconceivable. But unless the guy who took the first kick at the windshield was actually a cop in disguise, I don’t see an empty car as “provocateuring”. And I’m decidedly uneasy with attributing the fault for the acts of violent dingbats to anyone but the individuals themselves: it kind of overlooks that whole free choice and personal responsibility thing. Look at this guy, he didn’t need no stinkin’ provocateurs:
If the cops wanted evidence of property damage, they already had it. Maybe not in as pyrotechnically-impressive a configuration as the Flaming Cop Car model, but reflective of the same general spirit of malevolence and utter human dumbness.
Which brings us to the police. These guys —
— and their attitude that the citizenry they are supposedly sworn to Serve and Protect can be subjected to jeering ridicule and disrespect and even physical beatings at their whim. Whether they acted as agent provocateurs or not, they behaved like degenerate thugs with the moral turpitude of rabid hyenas and the brains of common garden slugs, compromising civil rights in a dizzying array of ways from attacking peaceful protesters and even journalists covering the event to “pre-emptively” arresting people without cause.
The cops have a lot more to answer for than gifting the small criminally insane wing of the demonstration with a few 2-ton toys to play with. The real issue is the aggressive brutality that was imposed on a largely peaceful demonstration, and the fact that such brutality is nothing new in Copland: the past weekend was just the Cherry Beach Express on Steroids. When 4 cops can basically summarily execute a man for the crime of getting lost and running mildly amok at the airport, we shouldn’t be too surprised at what transpires when 20,000 of them get together — Authoritariapalooza!:
Well-meaning anti-gun absolutists take note: are you sure you want these guys to be the only people in Canada allowed to possess firearms?
Tremble with righteous rage, demand inquiries and Blame Harper if you will, because his decisions contributed to how this all went down. But the police mentality that allowed the weekend’s fascist police-state thuggery to prevail pre-exists Harper by many years, and history shows it’s non-partisan. The real problem isn’t ideology as much as the fact that while we were sleeping we gave the government the right to bring its considerable coercive power to bear on us. I’d like to see a change in the governing party as much as anyone, but to think that such a change would alter the culture of police thuggery is, for lack of a better word, a “cop-out”.