Monday, 28 June 2010
At the risk of being too topical or political (qualities I try to avoid here as much as possible), I confess to being pretty shocked and disgusted - and hence I suppose fascinated also - with the behaviour of the force policing the G20 in Toronto this past weekend.
Working with an unprecedented budget of nearly a billion dollars, questionable legal powers, and police and soldiers from all over the country (and even the U.S. military) totaling a force some 19,000 strong, this was the cop's show -- they were most definitely in charge and running things.
It was disturbing to see this militant show of strength in such a normally polite and casual place as downtown Toronto - as though we had been invaded by an army of cowardly bullies wearing gas masks and body armour, brandishing weapons and banging on their shields like Zulu warriors. Also very, very angry apparently.
Between the costumes, the disguises, the theatricality, and the overwhelming DOMINATION of it all, this was power play taken to extremes. And it's all so simple, even primitive - the police sacrifice a few junk cop cars, let them burn for the media, putting fear and anger into people who aren't even there. Triggering the loopholes in human brains that let them approve horror, let them applaud violence as a consequence to things that scare them.
And then the cops have the go-ahead to bust up heads: to invade, detain or beat people at random, spray tear gas into crowds of peaceful demonstrators or charge into them with horses. To go crazy basically, shoot people with rubber bullets, make mass arrests, refusing to apologize when even The Sun says they've gone too far.