How do you find a balance between wanting peace and wanting justice?

With the Occupy movement in full swing and the recent incident at UCDavis, one can’t help but be appalled at the blatant disregard for human rights by the police all across the country. I’m not surprised that people are being arrested. They are performing civil disobedience and that comes with the territory.
The horrific thing is the amount of force being used by these police officers on peaceful protesters. The students were right to chant “SHAME! SHAME!” at the police.
Someone suggested to me that the protesters should have fought back. They should have pepper sprayed the police back. Maybe they should have thrown rocks or attacked the police with fists.
I have to say there is a part of me that wants to throw some punches. A part of me wants to go screaming into a crowd of these police officers swinging wildly.
I wrestle with the sharp emotions of anger and betrayal that I have when I see these images. But at some point someone has to say no.
Someone has to stand up and declare that violence will not be met with violence and the ideas will prevail.
Any time a major change to the system is demanded, the soldiers of the status quo (often the police, but not always) react with violence and force. We saw it in Birmingham in the 1960′s and at Anti-war protests in the 70′s and during the Bush era.
And we’re seeing it now.
A major change to the system that perpetuates economic injustice is being demanded and I fear that more violence is to come.
But with each punch, the ideas become stronger and more visible. With each volley of pepper spray, the people are waking up to see a major problem in our nation.
They may make you bleed, but they can’t make you stop thinking and demanding the change. Your eyes and your mouths will burn and your tears will flow, but your message will escape. Your words will become more powerful than a closed fist will ever be.

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