A Quick Thought While Watching the Chicago March
But a little while ago, the protesters were being steered around a corner by the cops, presumably to make absolutely sure they didn't deviate from the approved parade route ... and at that corner, every single cop was in anti-riot helmets and, and here's the part that really caught my attention, every single one of them had their long anti-riot batons drawn and at the ready position.
If I'd been there, I would have wanted to stop at the barricade and ask one of them, at random, if he could spare a second to answer a question for me: "Officer, I'm not challenging your authority and I'm not going to cross this barricade. Can you help me with a question, though? In your personal opinion, not your supervisor's opinion, just your opinion, are the drawn, at the ready batons appropriate at this time? Do you, personally, think you need them, either to intimidate the crowd or because you think violence is imminent?" Either way, whether I got a "yes" or a "no" or a "no comment," I'd apologize for bothering him while he was working, thank him for his time, and move on. I wouldn't have been looking for an argument; I just really want to know?
So far, it's the only really weird-looking thing I've seen. Every protester and every other cop looks calm, if tired; that one squad looked like they were in a war zone. Everybody else looks, if anything, bored; they looked grimly terrified. I wonder what the hell they were thinking?
(This could all look either very stupid or very prescient in a couple of hours. It will pleasantly surprise me, and ever so slightly increase my faith in America, if there isn't a police riot when the protesters get to McCormick Place. This is an election year, peak "punch a hippy" season for Democrats.)