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  1.  (1279.21)
    Campus Security can make rent-a-cop look like Scotland Yard.

    My freshman year of college I was in a theatrical production. 12 Angry Men. If you're at all familiar with the play you will know that it involves a great deal of loud arguing, at one point, a character picking up a knife and coming at another character with it. No one is actually stabbed, or even touched in the blocking we had worked out.

    We were rehearsing, in one of the theatre classrooms. 12 actors, plus the director, a stage manager and a number of other people involved in the production. Someone passing by must have heard us and called campus security, who sent out two officers to see what was going on. They came RUNNING into the room screamed "EVERYONE FREEZE! RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!" We were at the point in the play where the knife is in the hands of one of the jurors, but not threatening anyone with it. One of the campus cops rushed the stage area screaming "YOU DROP THAT! YOU DROP THAT RIGHT NOW!"

    Our director, a tenured professor, stood up and said "Excuse me-" "SIR YOU NEED TO SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP." The cop screams. He then turns to us on stage and says "EVERY ONE OF YOU, PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD AND LACE YOUR FINGERS"

    At this point the entire cast starting laughing at him.

    He continued bellowing, as our professor came to the stage and finally, screamed in his face "THIS IS A FUCKING PLAY! THIS IS A THEATRE GROUP! YOU MORON!"

    Again, everyone, including my professor, laughing at him. The cop calmed down, slightly, and tried to explain himself stammering that he "Sighted a weapon" and "heard the sounds of struggle". Someone in the cast pointed out that he sounded like one of the characters in the play. Again, gales of laughter.

    He finally left, with the other cop, muttering that we should "Respect other students" and "Maintain a zone of quiet" and "Post a notice".

    My professor responded by putting up a printed sheet on the door of the classroom

    "THIS IS A PLAY. NO ONE IS BEING ATTACKED. PLEASE DO NOT ARREST US."

    To this day I have a tendency to laugh at most figures of supposed authority.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2008
     (1279.22)
    Okay, here's one from nearly twenty years ago, but I still remember it well. I was about ten years old.

    As a kid I lived in Jordan for a while, with a family that had links to the West Bank. The West Bank was still under Israeli occupation at the time, but the family travelled there to see relatives every few months. It's a long drive across the desert, on roads with minefields either side. I'd got pretty well used to the heat by then, so long as I kept drinking.

    Anyway, there was a massive snarl up at the checkpoint into the West Bank. We were in a car, which we weren't allowed to get out of for several hours. After a while we ran out of drinks and everyone was starting to get quite dehydrated.

    When we get up to one of the checkpoints, the mum of the family I was with asked for some water for me. They knew that as Arabs they'd stand no chance of getting any, but I was an 'english boy' with a British passport, so it was worth a shot.

    Now - the Israeli soldier was standing there, drinking from a two-litre bottle of Coke, which obviously had come out of a fridge. Fine, his job was to stay there in the heat all day too, so looking back I didn't begrudge him it. However, it was what he did next which was harsh.

    He agreed to get me, and only me, some water, there were two other kids my age in the car too, who were just as dehydrated. So, what he did was to pour the cold Coke out of the bottle, onto the ground, in front of us all. He thought this was funny.

    Then he went to a standpipe on the side of the building and refilled this bottle with warm, brackish water and let me drink from it. I was hoping to keep the bottle, so that we could all have some, but after a few mouthfuls he took it back.

    This water gave me the horrible running shits too... and he probably knew it wasn't supposed to be for drinking. He was just really enjoying his position of being 'the man'.

    Still, these days he'd have probably shot us all for winding down the car window in front of him, and that checkpoint is probably long closed anyway, so we got off lightly.
    •  
      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2008 edited
     (1279.23)
    my parents were Irish-American. when I was very young (five or six), they used to take me to protests in front of the White House-- supporting Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers who were in the news at that time, stuff like that. the only time we came close to getting in trouble was one time when Margaret Thatcher came to town to meet up with Reagan. the protesters' goal was to make as much noise as possible to try and disrupt things. I could do a kick-ass imitation of a referee's whistle, which meant even when the garbage can lids and other noisemakers were taken away, there was no way to shut me up besides arresting me (or my parents), which the cops threatened to do. this is when I learned the phrases "freedom of speech" and "I'll have your badge for this." ultimately, it turned out the cops were bluffing.

    these days, when I see all the restrictions placed on protesters, I wonder how they (the Man) can possibly be interpreting the same Constitution.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDaveNant
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2008
     (1279.24)
    these days, when I see all the restrictions placed on protesters, I wonder how they (the Man) can possibly be interpreting the same Constitution.


    I've heard several stories this week that makes it sound like many lawmakers and law enforcers seem to increasingly hold the Constitution in real contempt. Over here, we've had to put up with a government that operates like an advertising agency, embracing the cult of personality and bare-faced media manipulation (thankfully, they've fucked up so badly in the last few months that the media spotlight has turned red for them. It always happens. It's a classic).

    The more and more I look it at, from historic McCarthyism and the crime of 'unAmerican activites' to the reactions of government who, it seems, has only just learned what terrorism is centuries after the rest of the world, that US has started to emulate those traits of communism which have existed since the actualisation of that philosophy with Lenin, Stalin etc. With communism, supposedly everyone was equal, yet they had to use dominance and fear to make sure every one of those 'equal' people stayed equal and toed the party line. In modern day democracy, it seems everyone is welcome to freedom, provided you conform to that sort of freedom the government wants, the freedom that's good for the economy and not a threat to the establishment. I've said it before, but I'll reiterate it - the western nations (I'm not absolving my own United Kingdom in this by any means) use the phrases liberty and freedom like it's the ultimate marketing tool, particularly the US, and use it so glibly that the irony has almost become funny.

    The truth is, freedom is an illusion in a society like ours, and the hypocrisy of western leaders who throw the word around as if it's something we have and the rest of the world envies is absolutely sickening. True freedom is a threat to those in power, and free thought and deed, even within the confines of the law, is not something they want. To hear homilies on freedom shouted from the White House press room lectern with near-religious fervour while, throughout western democratic countries, civil liberties are being steadily eroded is... is... gah.
    •  
      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2008
     (1279.25)
    To hear homilies on freedom shouted from the White House press room lectern with near-religious fervour while, throughout western democratic countries, civil liberties are being steadily eroded is... is... gah.
    cue the 1 millionth time I've thanked my lucky stars I live in Japan. far be it from me to embrace ignorance, but at least from here, it's much easier to ignore the bullshit that passes for information in most American media. (plus, I am safe from The Man here, so long as I don't get my gaijin fingerprints anywhere near a crime scene.)

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