In general, I have great respect for the police and am very reluctant to call them names of any kind, especially pigs. I think their job is much harder than they’re given credit for, but the behavior of the police at Standing Rock is unacceptable and I think that deep down they know it.
I was saddened to see police still participating in arrests, and even a stand-off on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners. They are literally putting the lives of their citizens, and many others in the entire country in jeopardy. There are too many activities that the police should not be involved in to list here, but I’ll list 5.
- They should never put the rights of a fake person like a corporation ahead of a real person.
- They should not take action that endangers the long term survival of their own community.
- They should never participate in an action that removes a basic necessity from an individual or family. (aka like evicting families on behalf of a bank or allowing a company to poison their citizen’s water if they can prevent it.)
- They should almost never use deadly force and should not carry specialized ammo. They are supposed to be citizens enforcing the law, not commandos.
- They should be willing not to police their communities if they’re being asked to do something that is morally objectionable by those in power.
Many will say that the police simply follow the laws that the community sets, but there are times when what they are being asked to do by those in power is in conflict with what their mission is as police officers. Like in the Standing Rock case, which is why so many of the good police officers have already refused to participate on behalf of ETP. It’s time for them all to follow suit and even file a lawsuit against ETP for their lost wages.
This is simply not the kind of work that we construct governments to do. If corporations want to do this work, then they can try to do it themselves, but they should be leaving publicly funded services out of it. Energy Transfer Partners (the parent company of DAPL) has a horrible safety record. Here is an article about 69 accidents just in the last two years. Why? Because petroleum is really dangerous and they’re greedy and incompetent on top of it! They could take measures to be competent and responsible, but that would affect their bottom line, so they won’t. So if you are supporting them at this point, you are a brown shirt, fascist pig. That’s all there is to it.
So why does anyone protect these kind of companies, especially at a time when we have the technology to replace petroleum in large part. Well, because of Red Scare nonsense that was drilled into older generations (and sadly some of the young). For example, at a City of Bellingham Public Fiber meeting, Ted Carlson (PUD director of the COB), threatened to end the meeting if anyone talked about seizing the power company (aka PSE or Puget Sound Energy). This was especially odd since the meeting wasn’t directly about PSE, and they were only mentioned as an example of bad infrastructure. Later, Brian Heinrich, the Deputy Administrator, tried to tell advocates what they could and could not talk to their elected officials about in relation to the meetings. (A violation of 1st Amendment rights). Sadly, people that deal with governments around the country tell me that this is routine behavior. At the national level senators tell Environmental investigation panels that the Koch brothers won’t be showing up even though they have been summoned by the people. So, how does this relate to DAPL.
Here’s how. Again, those who have been dealing with the government for a long time will tell you that this is all actually pretty standard stuff. The government has been bought at every level for a long time now. The people in government, in general, look at the corporations as the job providers, and therefore the gods that give us everything else that we have in our lives. Therefore, they look to them first for solutions to all of our problems, even when it’s clear that they are doing a bad job, pushing outdated tech, overcharging the community, and sociopathic in general. The simply are programmed not to believe corporations can be bad, even when there is overwhelming evidence. They confuse the fact that they know a few good people in the company with the idea that the company is good. They do not understand, or care to understand, that the company does not grant anything to anyone. It only has employees because it needs them to operate. The minute is does not it will fire them, regardless of the impact on the community, and replace them with automation. You are a number to a company and that includes man Not-For-Profits as well (there are a few exceptions).
In general, you can’t get anything done without a corporate structure and access to a bank or donors. Think about that. No matter how brilliant you are, how dedicated you are, how much you care about your community, how talented you are… this list goes on, if you piss off wealthy people you won’t get anything done. You could literally have a free cure to Cancer and AIDS on your laptop, but if you don’t go through the right channels, you’ll be smeared, or worse. Effectively, except for Open Source, there is no material that enters the mainstream for public consumption, or for the public good, unless some Douche Bag that will literally poison your children to make an extra buck gets to review your ideas and stamp them first. See the many problems with natural gas poisoning water sources around the country. See the documentary GasLand if you want the short version.
This is why companies need to be regulated. However, the Red Scare mentality means that if you even mention something like regulation you are labeled a Marxist, Socialist, or Commie. There is also some investing that is probably going on in the background by those in positions to allow one company to dominate a market. Still, since corporations are treated like people and the people investing in them are treated the same way, finding that out for sure is very hard.
In the end we need government officials, including police, that are on the side of the people and communities they protect. They need to understand that being on the side of a Corporation is not, and never will be, protecting a community. It is not what they are hired to do. In the videos I’ve seen, there are very few police left at Standing Rock. All they need to do is stop showing up for work. The future of the planet, our nation, and our nation’s people is at stake. If Energy Transfer Partners wants to try and police people, they can pay private security companies themselves, and stop putting the police at odds with the citizens they’re supposed to be protecting.
Trust is very low for the government and the police right now. Trust is the most important thing that the police build in a community. Trust comes from fairness and integrity. Neither of these qualities are being presented by the police at Standing Rock.
One final note on government workers:
The government workers themselves, especially those on the level with Ted Carlson and Brian Heinrich, also have way better jobs than most anyone that is 40 or younger right now can ever expect to have, but constantly say that we just don’t understand how hard their jobs are. That simply isn’t true. I have worked in both the corporate world, with non-profits and with the government. Sure, they work hard sometimes, but there are way fewer consequences for them if/when they do a bad job than most people that work for corporations or run their own businesses. So maybe they should consider doing a decent job for a change and specialize in something more useful than making up excuses and raising taxes. We need to hold them to account.