Doesn’t matter what the protest is about. Doesn’t matter who is protesting or what they’re protesting against. All that matters, in modern political activism, is that you provoke a reaction from the police, which you can then spin as an over-reaction, and claim moral victory.
The goal of protests now is to achieve victimhood. Thus, when police arrest, tear-gas, beat, or otherwise try to control an unruly mob, the protesters are ecstatically happy, because that’s why they were protesting in the first place.
But of course you can’t admit this publicly; part of the script is to act injured or sad or angry when the police respond to your provocations. That’s an essential component of your victimhood posturing.
Unfortunately, yesterday a protester at Santa Monica College let the mask slip during a mini-riot at a trustees’ meeting. Over a hundred screaming demonstrators were trying to force their way into the already over-capacity meeting room, and the overwhelmed cops assigned to guard the door felt the only way to drive the rioters back was to pepper-spray them. As soon as this happened, one of the rioters yelled in glee,
“We won! We won! They pepper-sprayed us!”
Here’s the video, with the triumphant statement at 1:09:
Wait — you won? How does getting pepper-sprayed constitute victory? I thought the goal of your protest was to force the trustees to give you a “free education,” as the protesters were chanting? That didn’t happen (tuition fees were not eliminated by the college’s trustees), so wouldn’t that mean that you lost?
Well, the statement wouldn’t make any sense unless the purpose of the protest was in fact to get pepper-sprayed. Which it was.
As is the case in most of these incidents, once you actually see the circumstances, your sympathy almost always switches over to the police, who in this case were totally outnumbered by a violent and unruly mob attempting to bum-rush and overwhelm a legal meeting.
We have seen this countless times in recent years, as protesters of every sort from coast to coast go to extreme lengths to provoke the police into (over)reactions, because declaring victimhood is the only way to garner sympathy for your otherwise obscure cause. The Occupy movement, for example, strives to achieve victimhood at every possible opportunity, as does basically every other group that follows Alinsky rules.
What makes this doubly absurd is that pepper-spray was designed specifically as a non-lethal, non-injurious crowd dispersal technique about which there would be no basis to complain, since it now substitutes for harsher methods that were previously used for centuries — such as savage beating, live ammunition, police dogs, etc. But now even the mildest, shortest-lasting crowd-control techniques are portrayed by the media as unbearable torture. (And I’ve been pepper-sprayed several times in my life, including most recently during riots at the 2008 Democratic convention, and can say from personal experience that 1. It stings and hurts, 2. It makes you cry and run away, and 3. Then it wears off fairly quickly and you’re back to normal, uninjured.)
The more that the general public becomes aware of the purpose of aggressive protesting, the less that the victimhood posturing game will have any effect on public opinion. Spread the word.