In an editorial today, the Citizen's Voice objected to a police officer's use of pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protesters. The editorial has a glaring error. The editorial states, in part:
"Before the video went viral on the Internet, the campus police department had claimed that the officer had used the spray only after being surrounded and physically pressed by protesting students."
The editorial goes on to state that that was untrue. Here is a video interview with one of the protesters that were sprayed with pepper spray.
In her own words, the Occupy Wall Street protester claims when the police came at them they did so after the protesters encircled the police while they were trying to leave and said they would have to go through them to get by or to clear the path they were obstructing.
"at one point...we had encircled them and they were trying to leave and they were trying to clear a path and so we sat down and linked arms and said that if they wanted to clear the path they would have to go through us"Apparently, the editorial staff at the Citizen's Voice thinks it is OK to encircle police officers or otherwise physically obstruct their path. They also think it is OK to obstruct public and private paths of traffic.
They have the right to express that opinion, flawed as it may be but they should not however mislead the public in order to advance their agenda.
The protesters failed to obey a police officer's order, physically obstructed their path so they couldn't leave, and encircled them - all by their own admission. The press should not be blaming the police for using pepper spray on protesters that place a police officer in jeopardy. They should recognize that the protesters were hostile to the police and put themselves in a situation where far worse than pepper spray could have been used if they choose to escalate their aggression towards the police.
If the Occupiers wish to continue peacefully, they should take some advice from Martin Luther King, Jr. :
"Another thing that we had to get over was the fact that the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. This was always a cry that we had to set before people that our aim is not to defeat the white community, not to humiliate the white community, but to win the friendship of all of the persons who had perpetrated this system in the past. The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption."Then we had to make it clear also that the nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system. And this is why I say from time to time that the struggle in the South is not so much the tension between white people and Negro people. The struggle is rather between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. And if there is a victory it will not be a victory merely for fifty thousand Negroes. But it will be a victory for justice, a victory for good will, a victory for democracy."Another basic thing we had to get over is that nonviolent resistance is also an internal matter. It not only avoids external violence or external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. And so at the center of our movement stood the philosophy of love. The attitude that the only way to ultimately change humanity and make for the society that we all long for is to keep love at the center of our lives."