FEBRUARY 1, 2012

Everyone has probably heard of the saying that a good crisis should never be wasted. For Miami-Dade Metro cops, taking advantage of a couple dozen protesters for the equivalent of a live fire exercise for a department expected to send officers to Tampa to provide support for the Republican Convention in August, was just too good to pass up.

And so when the Metro-Dade Police Department showed up in force at sundown to evict the handful of protesters who made the decision to passively sit-down and wait to be arrested, the cops essentially walked right by them and engaged in tactics that were designed to spur the other protesters to do all the stuff that protesters are wont to do in these kinds of confrontational situations, which can be seen in my photographs, and in the photos and videos of other news media folks and bloggers who were there.

Actually, given the difficulty of trying to train for a major series of the protests like the ones that are bound to occur in Tampa this summer - where the Tampa police force originally had visions of having drones flying overhead and armored personnel carriers rolling down the streets along with other really crazy urban warfare kind of shit until they realized that they couldn’t afford all the toys - the opportunity to get real protesters to do most of all the confrontational things that they do, and not have to pay any of them for doing so, was actually a smart idea.

Back in 2003, I came to the conclusion that far too many protests eventually turned out to be the political versions of extreme sports for sizable groups of protesters.  The cops have figured all that out as well, and last night’s exercise was proof that they’ve pretty much gamed out the strategy for doing whatever they want with groups like the ones in Miami, as a way to test their strategies.

Miami is not a big protest town - never has been - and even though some of these young people like to talk tough, they haven’t a clue as to the level of radicalism and street fighting that has been developing in other parts of the country, especially California  and the whole Northwest where the Anarchist movement has become so strong.

Unlike the pictures coming out of Oakland earlier this week, only a couple folks got snatched and arrested last night. The young fellow in the photo on the main page managed to slip out of the grasp of the cops, and the Miami Herald is reporting that after the Metro-Dade cops finally went back to the 5 guys left sitting in their little stockade in the middle of what used to be their camp ground they decided to skip a trip to jail and walked away.

For those who think that I’m too cynical about what really happened last night, look at my photos, and look at the ones with the City of Miami Police Department guys. The Metro-Dade cops wore their riot gear but not the City of Miami. More than a couple Miami guys were wearing tee-shirts. You wear tee-shirts when you go out to train.  When you go out for real, you wear riot gear!

That’s what finally confirmed for me that while the decision to evict the Occupy Miami folks was probably long overdue based on all the problems that had been occurring there, the event last night was pretty much orchestrated well in advance to take advantage of the opportunity as a training exercise as much as it was to evict the small handful of folks who hung out to the end.

In these times of tight budgets, you take advantage of opportunities where you find them. Unknowingly, the Occupy folks actually provided a civic contribution and saved the county some money on having to hire pretend protesters just by being themselves.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting night. The cops got a couple good hours of real-life training. The news media got the kind of visuals that will reassure the scared folks among us who continue to live and think and vote against their own self-interests while they huddle in front of their TV’s eager to believe whatever crazy shit come spewing out that the cops managed to save THEIR Miami from possible destruction from a group of dangerous looking hooligans.

The protesters got to mouth off at the cops and almost all of them walked away without even a whiff of teargas or Pepper Spray, and I got to be entertained once again by the knowledge that in Miami, Bitches! what you see, is often not what you saw.


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