Today’s pre-Convention events here in Denver included a heavy dose of what has, since before 9-11, become a staple of coneventioneering: cops, paramilitaries and other displays of state power. I took the picture above while dining at Sam’s Diner downtown because it offers us a view into the cultural side of domestic militarism, how normal it is to sit within feet of several heavily-armed people in uniform.
I was especially taken at how the officer in the center of the picture looks like a little girl jumping out of her seat as the smiling waitress shows her a plate full of deserts. She might’ve jumped higher were it not for the weight of her thick revolver, her batons, her mace and other weapons she and others from among the thousands of police, secret service, FBI and other security agents attending the Convention wore. And though they weren’t wearing any of the ubiquitous red, white and blue plastic badges plastering chests all over this place, those wearing silver badges and paramilitary get-ups got VIP treatment as when those of us standing in line at Sam’s watched them cut in front of us on their way to eating cake.
Though the first of the many protests planned for the Convention were quite peaceful, news reports here in Denver seemed to neither notice the peace nor make a distinction between protesters and those posing serious threats of violence. In much the same way that the Convention is a scripted event, local Fox and non-Fox stations reported from the MSM’s default position of conflating protesters with terrorist and other threats, threats requiring such massive displays of policing power. This article by my friend Chip Berlet provides a nice historical and documentary context for how “government law enforcement, intelligence, and security agencies are planning to treat dissidents like potential terrorists because of a reliance on flawed research, hyperbolic assessments, and political bias.”
And, as the photo above makes clear, after a hard days work of bashing skulls and pushing people in the name of protecting us from those who would threaten the democracy taking place inside the fortressed Pepsi Convention Center, the cops also got to have their cake and eat it too.