Ugh. I’ve been to my share of protests. I gave up on them because they’re ultimately useless in a world where leaders are so far removed from every day people that they can ignore any of us at a whim. But before I came to this conclusion, I took part in waaaay too many online debates about politics and protests. Now I remember why I stepped away. Earlier today I saw a video on Google+ that started immediately with violence committed against protesters by NYPD. I replied to it, asking for context–where was the footage shot? When was it shot? I then explained that posting a video like this without any context of any kind just riles people up without informing them. He replied and just made me frustrated, so what follows is my reply (the bits inside quotes are his reply):
You illustrate my point exactly.“Saturday 9/24 @ 3PM EST. Not sure the street location. But obviously NYC.”
NYC is a big place. There have been protests elsewhere on other days, months and years ago. During the big mess in Iran a couple years back police-violence videos from other countries were being linked to on Twitter.“As far as riling people up. I’m not doing anything to you, if you got riled up, then that was all internal.”
So, when Fox News misinforms, partially informs and only shows footage of rabid protesters, you think that’s not riling their conservative viewers up? It’s called misinformation and it’s wrong regardless of whether you’re for or against the protesters.
“But I would agree, its brutal what the cops are doing.”
Who are you agreeing with? I didn’t say what they were doing was brutal, I didn’t say it wasn’t brutal. It seems brutal from the footage, but often the footage only tells part of the story.
“The crowd was not being overly disobedient or anything.”
So, you know that how?
“The cops instigated the whole thing from what I saw on this video and several others from the past two weeks.”
And that is clearly illustrated in which of these videos? All the videos I’ve seen cut to the cops being brutal. No or little context. The footage is enough to be concerned, but before you let yourself get riled up, think about what you are and are not seeing.“The cops are supporting wall street. That is all that needs to be understood.”
Really? That’s it? Don’t you think that’s an overly simplistic viewpoint?
“The cops are not supporting the people’s right to assembly.”
You really think it’s that simple? There’s so much more going on here. Cops have to follow orders or they could lose their jobs. If their orders are to enforce the law then that’s what they’re going to do. If the laws are unfair, then that’s something different. As unjust as it seems, there are laws against assembly without a permit. Get a permit, and everything’s cool. If they can’t get a permit, then don’t blame the cops for arresting people when they’re ordered to arrest people. The real problem isn’t cops doing their jobs it’s that the laws are bought by corporations and bankers. Cops on the ground think they’re protecting their communities. They’re not, of course, but it’s very likely that they don’t understand that. They’re victims just like the rest of us, so posting partial info about police brutality and painting cops as bad guys is doing just what Fox News does, only about the opposite types of people.
“How does that degrade your view of 100% support of the protesters.”
Because I can’t trust what I’m seeing. Liars (even unintentional liars) live on both sides of the political spectrum. I don’t want to support protesters who are breaking laws (even unjust ones). I don’t want to support brutal cops, either. Of course, if I don’t get context or as much information about the incident as I can, I don’t have enough information to go on.
We all have our points of view and we need to make sure those points of view don’t bias us against the truth. When you witness violence first hand, it’s easy and natural to see threats. But to be sure, we need a bigger picture.“If anything I’m even more invested in supporting the people now. Does anyone have a different experience viewing this live unedited video.”
Which is why you shouldn’t trust videos like this, because clearly they’re enough to get you riled up without providing the entire picture. Hence my point.
I don’t know how he’ll reply back and honestly, I don’t have the time to care. I’ve got things I’m trying to do with my life that will hopefully make the world a better place. I don’t have the patience to deal with people who think about everyone else’s behavior much more than they think about their own.
It’s just like I posted on Website666.com earlier today. People who just spout off about things before knowing the full picture do everyone a disservice. I’ve been down this road before and have been misled about protests, online videos and more, and I’ve been misled by people who I’ve trusted and who honestly did have my best interests at heart. But good intentions don’t guarantee accuracy.
Only questioning the conservatives isn’t enough. Only questioning liberals isn’t enough. Question everyone, always and often. Yes, question even me. Does what I’m saying make sense to you? If it doesn’t, then please ignore it.