You like this riot-control bulldozer, right?

The Bozena Riot mobile crowd-control unit

The Bozena Riot is a 15,000-pound riot-control bulldozer whose frontal wall can expand to the width of city streets, raising and lowering to either protect or release dozens of police. It’s bullet- and fireproof, and it can be operated either from a cockpit behind the wall or by remote control. Its loudspeakers, cameras, and high-pressure tear gas nozzles just scream “consent of the governed.” As the manufacturer’s website puts it:

The system offers a solution for both protecting the law-enforcement units in action and controlling the situation whenever peace maintenance is required.

The primary use of the passive voice in English is to disguise whoever is doing something. This bulldozer system offers solutions for “whenever peace maintenance is required.” But who requires peace? If the Bozena Riot’s first role is to protect “law-enforcement units in action,” who endangers them by ordering action in the first place? The answer, in theory, is us. We pay the taxes that might purchase this thing, and we require the peace to be maintained. Right? You love the Bozena Riot and are glad someone manufactured it. I mean, what else could you love? Riots?

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Another Occupy Wall Street

In Soviet Oakland, cloud of tear gas drifts through you.

As Occupy Wall Street approaches its seventh week, the demonstration in Zuccotti Park seems most significant as a testament to how well kids these days can run a protest. They’ve constructed an irrigation system, for Pete’s sake. Regardless of politics, anyone who has managed hippies must acknowledge OWS in Zuccotti Park as a breathtaking achievement in preventing people from freaking out. Less so in Oakland, where police turned tear gas on OWS protestors outside Frank Ogawa Plaza and cracked an Iraq war veteran’s skull. Scott Olsen is in critical condition with a wound on his forehead that looks like the rim of a tear gas canister, and people are pissed. It turns out that a demonstration of the will of the people is a different thing when dozens of guys with plastic shields show up to make it stop. And as USA Today somewhat gleefully notes, municipal authorities across the country are getting sick of this disobedience crap. So now comes the question of what OWS is going to do.

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