On the Occupy LA Raid

Very early on the 30th of November, I noticed that the Cato Institute had retweeted a post from Reuters stating that raids were underway at several of the Occupy camps, and that live video streams and blogs were available. I spent the next two hours watching video of the raid on Occupy LA.

Reuters had a collection of live streams – some from CBS, some from individuals on the ground. One thing that struck me was the difference in the quality of journalism. CBS mostly just showed a silent feed from what was probably a news helicopter circling overhead. The often-irrelevant (what do you mean this tree isn’t a great shot?) montage was only occasionally accompanied by a reporter talking about the incredibly obvious things happening on the ground. While they could boast roughly half a million total views, the number of people currently watching the CBS stream never seemed to break the two thousand barrier.

Standing in stark contrast to the distant and disengaged coverage offered by CBS were the media streams coming from the people in the crowd – particular CivicEngagement and OakFoSho. While lacking any veneer of journalistic objectivity (not like we get much of that anyway), these citizens provided relevant, point-blank coverage of the events. OakFoSho and CivicEngagement showed admirable bravery – the former faced some sort of firearm at one point, and the latter remained inside the cordon of protesters being arrested and continued filming until her battery ran out. Both reporters (more worthy of the title than the news companies, I dare say) remained in the area and continued to cover the unfolding events after the police ordered all of the media to leave the area.

Which brings me to my last topic: the conduct of the police. Public information officers were out talking to people, and all of the LAPD officers were wearing name tags and badges. Aside from the incredibly careless use of a firearm (admittedly a far cry from tear gas canisters or flashbangs, though still egregious from a firearms-safety point of view), I didn’t see any instances of what I would characterize as excessive use of force. That said, I think the fact that the LAPD chose to conduct the raid in the dark of night, and banned media from the vicinity just before they started arresting people speaks volumes. I don’t pretend this is good exegesis, but I couldn’t get John 3:19 out of my head: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Edit: Changed shotgun to firearm. I’m not sure what type of device it is – I suppose it could be a rubber bullet rifle or something.

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