One thought on “Asserting Your Right To Remain Silent

  1. People need to know their rights — and have a script internalized to keep them out of the “lying to officials” trap. That was a fascinating read, and the range of comments were interesting and telling as to the level of submssiveness people have internalized.

    That drive to make the populace malleable and amenable to control works partially because there are so few behavior models for how to stand on one’s rights and do it effectively.

    At the Feburary ’03 anti-Iraq Invasion rally in NYC, there were ACLU lawyers scattered among those of us who had been boxed in, block by block, and not allowed out by the police. They handed out little cards with telephone numbers for lawyers and brief enumerations of our rights, along with reminders that the power of state can be used in whatever way it chooses at the time. Depending on individual circumstances (spending a day or two in jail might be disasterous for a diabetic, for example, or there are dependents at home needing care), people could choose to stand on their rights and face possible arrest and detention.

    Speaking to one lawyer, we were told cooperation was the better part of valor.

    And that’s the message from the state powers.

    BTW, that was prior to the Unitary Executive claiming the right to summarily detain and even hide away American citizens. Or kill them without indictment, trial, judge and jury.

    Looking back, we could not figure out why the police 1) deliberately lied to us by saying we could get to the rally by going to Third Avenue and heading north when the rally area had already been filled to capacity, 2) then allowed us to leave the sidewalks and walk in the street, to be followed by 3) the penning of people block by block, then 4) separating us into the four corners of the block, now blocked off by wooden barriers, and 5) finally crushing us into ever smaller triangles in each corner, using the mounted police horses as the muscle to do so*.
    Had to be a practice sessiion in “crowed control” and, obviously, intimidation.

    The ACLU and civil liberties groups got all over Bloomberg and the police commissioner’s asses and in March allowed a normal (and huge) March. But, lessons learned and for the Republican National Convention in ’04, even worse methods were implemented.

    *I was in the front row and figured by holding my arm out straight the well-trained horses wouldn’t push hard enough to break my arm and that would give us more breathing room. Some women and children behind the first row were screaming and crying — especially the children who couldn’t really see what was happening. I can’t recall if the crushing deaths in the RI nightclub happened before or after the rally, but I recall reading how the pressure of crowding becomes immense.

    Serve and protect? Not always, dear children. Or, it depends on whom they’re serving and protecting, eh?

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