How is it that with all that weaponry, including shields and body armor, we could ever see the protesters as the threat? As the aggressor? The very moment those police don those weapons, they are the aggressor. They are making it known that they will use whatever force they feel like it to achieve whatever compliance they  - or their masters - want from us.
It is laughable that a fully-armed policeman with a thick truncheon is the victim of "violence" when he's wrestling an unarmed woman, who just wants to march, and a couple of people with balsa sticks which can barely reach him - and break on impact - are wielded at his head. Yes, he's the victim and the entire police force is justified if they respond with more violence.
Because, you see, them escalating the violence is our fault. And that is fine. We don't hold our police force to a non-violence standard. After all, what better way to keep the peace than with an LRAD?! "Deafening noise for peace!" "Gunshots for peace!"
It's bullshit.
The Occupy movement has never done anything other than march and rally. Perhaps a few individuals have done some things, but the movement of hundreds of thousands around the country has simply gathered and talked. And committed the apparently unforgivable sin of.... wait for it... blocking traffic! (Oh, wait... it was actually the cops that blocked the traffic.) We might have marched in the streets and slowed down traffic. Oh no!
Worse: there has been some grass that has given its life to the War on Assembly. We're brutal. All those blades of non-indigenous, chemical-craving grass. How could we? Lock us all up. And, for our extreme violence, beat us bloody on the way.
Get a grip, folks. The systems of exploitation of vast swaths of humanity for the benefit of a few are kept in place by the threat of force beyond our imagination. But, the most insidious weapon they have is our willingness to delegitimize anyone who stands up to it if they don't meet our purity tests. Don't abuse the work of Gandhi. He knew what needed to be done in his time and his place. I doubt he would have analyzed every situation the same way. Don't use him as an excuse to undermine the realities of what needs to happen today.
I've been arrested. I was absolutely non-violent. I simply sat on the ground before the police approached. When it came time, I kindly asked to be helped up. I live with neuropathies and could not stand on my own. What I got for my non-violence was a permanently injured spine. Moreover, as we all sat there loudly declaring that we would not resist, a small army gathered to our right in the dark of night. We had been talking arrest procedure with the cops on site, when suddenly we noticed a battalion of fully-armed riot police marching toward us. Why were they there? We offered zero resistance. We had been talking peacefully with the police. Both sides of the transaction were being respectful, up until that point.
It was nothing short of intimidation. A show of force. And they aren't showing that force because they won't use it. They will. When it comes down to it, the powers that be are not going to give up their absolute control over the world's resources, including the humans they only see as tools to be used for their continued acquisition of power, without a fight. They will squash every attempt we make to speak. They use the media to distort the reality of what we're doing and saying. They will use their police forces (don't think for a minute that these police our "ours") to stop us from gathering. They do not have the capacity to arrest us all and hold us, yet. They cherry-pick how many arrests they do as an intimidation tactic. But when that doesn't stop us and they have no means of ending our actions, they aren't going to let us get our message out. They aren't going to give up control over our electoral system. They aren't going to walk away from the arms sales or the earth-destroying chemical industries or the oil revenues or whatever they think will line their pockets.
The playing ground is violent. They make it so by having the weapons in their possession. Throwing rocks at tanks or using sticks when people have guns, does not make the rock-throwers or the stick-wielders the violent instigators. That instigation began decades ago when the government decided to amass weapons. To pour more money into our military than all other countries combined.
You're worried that violence is coming? It's here. People around the world are dying from our violence every day. People in our inner cities are dying from it every day. Silently colluding with it in order to protect yourself or your lawn or your drive to work, makes you violent. Every day that you support our congress which keeps funding wars, you commit violence. Every day that you vote for someone who commands drone strikes, you commit violence. Every day that you defend the police for bringing overwhelming force to intimidate prostesters, you commit violence. Every time you tell the little guy that he deserved what he got for swatting back at the big war machine, you're committing violence. You're on the side of the bullies. We are a nation of bullies.
If you want non-violence, practice it. Don't vote for anyone who has ever supported funds for war. Don't vote for anyone who believes in drone strikes. Don't vote for anyone who accepts campaign donations from any business in the industrial military complex. Or the chemical industry. Or the insurance industry. Or any industry which harms people or the planet. And put your own butt on the line in front of all those weapons.
Yeah, in the light of all the grandiose and horrific violence being committed every day in the name of the USA, you are just so righteous to condemn a few people with balsa sticks and the ever-intimidating water bottle. Listent to yourselves? Sticks and water bottles vs guns, tanks, LRADs.
You demand that unarmed people maintain an absolute non-violence in the face of overwhelming military force. Why don't you demand the same when the police face the WMDs of balsa sticks and water bottles?
"You asked for it?" Really? "What can you expect?" Really? "Don't whine!" Really? No cries to the police of "you need to be non-violent!"
Why? Because, ultimately, you support violence. You support it every day when you defend the police, vote for just about anyone running for office these days, and buy products from companies which profit through the exploitation of others. To support capitalism - where profit, which means exploitation, is the revered principle of life - is to support harm, violence. You support violence if it means keeping what goes on around the world away from your doorstep.
How dare you judge the people on the streets who trying to wake us all up? 'Cause let me tell you, it ain't happening at the ballot box. There are no non-violent candidates listed, that I can see. Maybe you think incremental steps towards justice will happen via elections, but we all know that the nation is only talking about the "99%" because people got in the streets. And when they got there, they faced some scary shit. How dare you judge them?