May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
(Post updated/ edited 1.6.11)
On May 28, 2011 television host (and Iraq war veteran) Adam Kokesh along with several other activists participating in a flash-mob were arrested at the publicly-funded Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Their crime? Silently dancing, in celebration of the first amendment’s champion; a clear violation of their right to free-expression. In an excessive use of force, video was captured of Adam being body slammed and placed in a choke for his non-crime.
You can visit Adam’s site and read the story with full video here
Here are some of the highlights caught on camera.
Adam explains the background to the event and gives more details about what happened on that day following the arrests in this interview.
Whatever your thoughts are on people moving their bodies to music only they can hear (via headphones) in a public space, there are several questions which immediately present themselves:
- Is pulling people apart, body slamming them to the ground, putting them in chokes by kneeling on the back of their necks, handcuffing them and arresting them (for….?) the mark of a free, civilized and sane society?
- Although it’s questionable the couple of dozen assembled people constituted a ‘situation’ to begin with – could such a ‘situation’ have been ‘dealt with’ in some other way by the police (assuming that the ‘situation’ even needed ‘dealing with’ at all)?
- Given that it’s the 21st century and we are supposed to be at the pinnacle of human civilization, might a more civilized, intelligent and mature way of behaving have been for the police to liaise with the public in a non aggressive (friendly?) manner, before standing back and allowing them to get on with their 15 minutes of peaceful silent dancing and aimiable socializing (while remaining on hand just in case it all inexplicably turned into a violent frenzy of criminal destruction) before eventually wondering off after the gathering and getting on with their publicly paid role: that of keeping the peace and catching real criminals and so on?
And if we step outside of socially instilled definitions for a moment and look at this from the perspective of objective common sense we can even ask these questions:
- Were the burly men dressed in matching blue uniforms who showed up with weapons strapped to their belts, who carried out a coordinated, unprovoked, spontaneous, unsolicited and violent kidnapping of their fellow human beings (who were at the time unarmed and behaving peacefully) perhaps the ones acting the most crazy that day?
- Which group really breached the peace at that memorial on that day?
Are these valid questions? What are your own feelings on these matters?
Here’s Stefan Moleneux of Freedomain Radio with his usual astute, wise and delightful take on the whole episode.
Stefan suggests, with some degree of humour, that it would be a good idea if these thuggish (and rather overweight, it has to be said) police officers were required to attend dance classes/ dance therapy of some kind in order to help them to reconnect with their human side; not to mention everybody else’s.
But is this suggestion something we could actually take seriously?
Or maybe having a ‘human side’ and learning how to judge and respond to real life and spontaneous social situations doesn’t matter so much these days. Maybe we as humans living in world of increasingly virtual interactions, multi media entertainments, as well as organized (managed) events such as sports games and concerts, we can exist without so much emphasis on skills like cooperation, fairness, empathy, communication, warmth, compassion, affection and humour…… or…. maybe these kinds of values and social skills are in reality extremely useful for helping to prevent those annoying accidental collapses of a free society, like the ones human history is so full of.
Bearing all this in mind, I personally think the idea of giving some kind of dance therapy to the police (and any other uniformed workers such as private security staff ) is actually a stunningly intelligent idea – especially for those with poor people skills and a tendency to resort to thuggish behaviour. It is the kind of scheme which somebody (a charity perhaps?) with the resources should definitely consider taking on – and ideally make a documentary about it too. Such a scheme could easily end up being a roaring success; a success for all concerned, not least the police (or security staff or whoever) taking part in it.
The very idea of ‘fighting against’ violence or thuggish behaviour is quite obviously ridiculous, partly because it is a blatant contradiction in terms but also because today it seems all laws and other forms of government intervention are moving in the direction of sanctioning violence, encouraging violence, enforcing violence and even arming those who wish to commit violence as the ‘solution’ to all things in the world.
But even disregarding this fact, the best way people who lack social skills, human judgement and who are prone to thuggish behaviour can really be helped to rebalance themselves is for them to receive the encouragement and help they need to unpick their own programming for themselves. Or at least be given the choice to have a go at it if they want to! As with most things in life this help can be either viewed as a an impossible task or a social responsibility (not least to our children) or even as a sheer delight.
The reality check is that if we don’t help our fellow thugs and regard them, on the whole, as fellow victims of a system created by a hierarchical ruling class which is fundamentally pro-violence (and in fact utterly dependent on violence) then no one else is going help them.
And if they don’t get that that kind of help while there is still time then heaven help us all in the very near future ….
Perhaps you think I am being a bit fanciful and unrealistic suggesting we can all help each other out by mutually working through and repairing our ‘bad programming’, and you might think it is unrealistic to imagine something as ‘artsy’ as dancing could be of any help in that respect.
But I always say that every failure is ultimately a failure of imagination.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
Seneca – Roman Philosoper, Statesman
More on the story here
Hitler Finds Out About Kokesh Dance Party!