Being as Crime

     Long ago at Reed College, the redoubtable Clifford Lancaster asked me if I knew why hippies wore bells.
     No, Clifford, I said. Why do hippies wear bells?
     “To remind themselves that they exist,” he said.
     Now, Clifford and I had a lot of sympathy for hippies. Lots of folks would have called us hippies. But he had a point.
     Some folks get so mellow that whether they exist or not becomes not just a question, but an immaterial one.
     Which raises the question of why police are taking the trouble to beat up the Occupy (Your City Here) people, in New York, in Boston, in Oakland, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Nashville …
     The Powers That Be must feel they are sitting on pretty shaky thrones to feel threatened by Occupy (Your City Here).
     The Occupy people have no organization, no demands, no power whatsoever – anywhere – in any city, state, village, probably even in their own homes.
     Their gripes, though wide-ranging, are nebulous.
     They have no plan of action.
     They don’t seem to know what they want.
     All they are doing is pointing out that the way our economy and political system are set up is not fair.
     And most of the country seems to agree with them.
     What then, do the police in major cities, and the mayors and city councils who send the police into action, think they have to gain by cracking these poor people’s heads?
     What are the mayors and city councils and the police afraid of?
     That American citizens take any action at all?
     The famous “mainstream media,” supposed tools of the liberals, have reported on the Occupy movement in an unbelievably craven and dishonest fashion. Even The Associated Press, which pretty much invented politically neutral reporting, has reported day after day that city councils and police, and presumably, the citizens of Your City Here are “concerned” about “increasing crime” at the Occupy protests.
     But the only “crime” I have seen reported at the Occupy protests, by The Associated Press or anyone else, is staying out after curfew and public urination. And I’m not sure how much public urination can “increase,” anyway. I mean, there’s only so much a few poor hippies can do.
     (This just in: Police arrested a guy in Occupy Boston on suspicion of selling $20 of Xanax to an undercover cop.)
     But if cops want to crack down on public urination, why aren’t they beating up winos?
     Not that I am suggesting the cops beat up winos.
     I am saying, however, that the Occupy protesters pose no more danger to the public weal than a couple of winos peeing in an alley.
     So why have the cops begun beating them? In city after city? All at once?
     The Powers That Be, and the gutless media that crawl after them, also have accused the Occupy folks of being communist plotters. Today’s tottering Republican front-runner, Herman Cain, accused them of being communists, and the bobble-head dolls running with Cain, and the bobble-heads in the media, all joggled their heads in agreement.
     I haven’t seen the Occupy people doing anything that could remotely qualify as a plot. These people don’t even know what’s for lunch.
     But cops all over the country have begun whaling on these poor leaderless, directionless people, all at once.
     Why?
     The only possible explanation is that police are beating the Occupy people simply because they exist.
     And that’s not a crime yet.

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