I’m getting more and more concerned about the excessive force that police departments are using against nonviolent participants in the Occupy Movement.

We all know about the Iraq War vet, Scot Olsen, who got his skull fractured in Oakland after police shot a teargas canister that hit his head, and shot another teargas canister into the crowd of people who went to help him. (Thankfully, Olsen has been able to leave the hospital.)

Then in Berkeley last week, police used their batons to jab and poke totally peaceful protesters and forced a professor down on the ground and handcuffed and arrested her.

And on Sunday in Chapel Hill, more than 25 officers, some brandishing semi-automatic rifles, stormed a building that protesters were occupying. Check out this photo to see what a police overreaction looks like.

They made people get on the ground and pointed guns at their heads. The police “put a gun in my face,” said Hannah Shaw. “That was terrifying,” she told WRAL TV.

The police arrested eight, and handcuffed a reporter from the News and Observer.

What we’re witnessing here is the increasing militarization of our police forces, which have gotten all sorts of fancy equipment and new toys in the post-9/11 era and seem itching to try them out, even against nonviolent protesters.

This has got to stop, before it gets uglier.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Police Bat Berkeley Students with Batons."


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A thoughtful, optimistic, progressive speech about the better possibilities of American democracy just as the most...

Some highlights from the confirmation hearings of one of the most opposed U.S. Attorney General nominees in history...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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