Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Boiling the civil liberty frog

Courtesy of news.com.au

Don’t get me wrong, I have no sympathy for the punks from the “black bloc” who get their high out smashing other people’s property and burning police cars, if they get a few bruises from the cops at that point I don’t really care. I laugh at the statements that this is a police state, I have been to police states and you will shake in your boots if the cops there decide they don’t like you.
Yet I am outraged that police stood back during the mini-riot and then went after the more peaceful protest later. Peaceful and sometimes rowdy protests are a fact of life in a democracy and like democracy they aren’t always perfect. The ability to protest is a fundamental right necessary to keep governments in check. All democratic governments require the will of the people to govern, without it they are doomed (Do you hear me Gordo?)
The police get the unenviable task of balancing these rights in the real world. When things get out of hand they must act and swiftly, at the same time they must exercise restraint against legitimate protesters who may push against the law and fences. A peaceful occupation of an office is a legitimate form of civil disobedience, burning cars and smashing windows is anarchy for the sake of anarchy.
But what really sickens me is Toronto Police chief Blair now admits that the 5 metre security zone on the outside of the fence never actually existed, but his officers acted towards people in a direct manner that it did. This “neverland” was the result of the enactment of a old law without any public notice or debate. The 2 events together show a sickening lack for the respect of due process and trust of the people in both the government and the police. Being a gun owner I have always despised Miller and Blair for their scapegoating of legal gun owners. The problem of course is once people like this are allowed to harass one group of law-abiding citizens, you can bet they will do it to someone else and then eventually you.

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