I know that after the shooting the first responder was a compassionate and skilled medic from the camp, but I also know that some of the response was chaotic and less than compassionate.
Watching videos of the aftermath of the shooting that are now floating about the web, I am inclined to agree that serious Occupy organizers should perhaps reassess strategy, dismantle the camp, get that office that they want, and start organizing beyond daily living. On one video, a young woman can be heard crying out That's a dummy on the ground. They are resuscitating a dummy. On another, a man can be heard shouting Undercover cop, that's an undercover cop. . . Both seem to be exhibiting paranoia out of control . . . that was not a dummy on the ground. No one was trying to manufacture an incident to shut down the encampment. The limp body on the ground was that of a young man, maybe twenty years old, bleeding out, a young man shot in the back of his head, a young man, dead. A young man killed in cold blood not by cops but by his "friends" after an argument that some say was over a bag of weed.
The shooting may not be related to Occupy: Oakland, but with comments like that, those particular Occupiers who shouted out such things identified themselves as being perhaps dangerously out of touch with their hearts and minds. Of course, those two are not the all, but . . .
*Occupy your Mind.*
*Think and act Responsibly.*
I recall words that Dostoevsky wrote in a letter more than a century ago: The most unbearable misfortune is when you yourself become unjust, malignant, vile. Confined to a prison in most abominable circumstances, Dostoevsky was writing about himself. He recognized that the filth that surrounded him, the poor living conditions, the cold, the lack of food, were souring his spirit and confusing his mind.
It seems as if the Occupy encampment may be becoming a prison of sort. Rather than empowering its denizens, convincing them that they are the 99% -- the majority -- the camp is creating dangerous estrangement. Many are feeling increasingly separated from the surrounding community regardless of the obvious fact that the surrounding community is their community, our community, the community of the 99%. If you really believe yourself to be part of the 99%, to view the greater world as the enemy is a mistake. It's a troubled world, needing repair and much revision, but it is our world.
We should not voluntarily imprison ourselves but seek instead ways to open our lives to beauty and love.
Obviously, some do. Signs have been posted beseeching campers to patronize local businesses and to respect those who visit, but not all extend welcome to visitors. Not all listen. Some are more interested in aggressively pushing back, and those few are edging to the forefront, blotting out the many who want peaceful resolution.
Early this morning, even I, definitely one of that 99%, was challenged by some rather aggressive characters lounging about the perimeter of the camp, accused of being a cop, because I was asking questions and taking pictures, documenting the camp in the falling rain.
I don't look much like a cop. Don't even own a baseball cap.
Once again, I find myself with my eyes closed, hoping for peace, wanting to believe that we can create and maintain a world founded on love, mutual respect, peace and justice.
I love this world, and I love life.
My heart goes out to the family of the young man shot to death.