April 9th, 2003


Thoughts on being arrested.

So, the reactions I've gotten to being arrested have been as polarized as the arguments in recent times. I'm not talking about you out there who've heard the full story and have been incredibly supportive, I thank you guys very very much; I am referring to a general reaction to having seen me on yahoo or in the papers, or upon firsst hearing about it. Either it's a "Congratulations on standing up for what you believe in!" or "Well, that's what you get for practicing civil disobedience." I find both reactions pretty appalling, actually.

I'll address the second reaction first. The assumption that I was practicing civil disobedience without knowing any of the story is an assumption of guilt. We are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, you see. And while you might argue that this is for the legal system, the average person is going to assume things -- the first person I heard that from (and who I am quoting above) was the Justice of the Peace preciding over the bail hearing. It's pretty well colored my view of that sentiment since.

The first reaction, and honestly the one I am getting the most, appalls me for an entirely different reason. Being arrested should not be something society finds laudable, for any reason. How is it we got to the point where being arrested equates somehow standing up for my beliefs? I'd really thought that the foundation of America was built on the concept of "Freedom of Speech"; where did this break down into being arrested viewed a sort of badge of pride for those who are speaking out? And again, it's an assumption of guilt, but an admiration for the guilty. Bwa?

I dunno, I am not proud of being arrested, I do not think this makes me some sort of Protesting Scout Master, or whatever. If being arrested for civil disobedience is a badge of pride, I should have been on the front lines with the others all the while, and really arrested for being a part of that. But I'm not, I'm a coward who hides behind a camera shooting the folks who are far braver than I. I'm also not saying anything about my guilt in the situation (I'd address that, but I fear the "anything you type can and will be used against you in a court of law"), but regardles of whether I am or not, I have not been to court to decide that; the assumption of my guilt should not be omnipresent. But I have really been given to think upon the nature of society that has become one where being arrested is a laudable affair.
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