ZAP!

Movement For Change Confronts Taser Troubles I had my mom drop me off at the anti-police brutality march. Let that one sink in for a sec. As the marchers began to gather, I looked across the street and saw a group of cops who were there to escort our march down the road. I was worried about how they were going to take the message of the march, but it seemed like they were alright with everything, and even saw some of the organizers of the rally shaking hands and laughing with some of the officers. Before the march started a man came up to me and asked me at random if I wanted to be in charge of the bullhorn and a roll of duct tape, which didn’t seem to have any kind of real purpose but he wanted to get it off his hands all the same. I said sure and immediately after he walked away another man came and asked me for the horn. I never saw it again, but I wound up keeping the roll of tape around my wrist for the duration of the march. I carried a banner promoting the organization, Movement for Change. Even though the subject of the march was very sad, all of the marchers had a great time. Chanting actually proved to be a lot of fun and unified the marchers through laughter. The prevailing atmosphere was one of fun and unity. As we descended into Seville Square the whole of the crowd began to chant “Movement for Change!” in perfect time with the beat of the marching band (Rhythm Revolt, Pensacola’s premier punk rock marching band). It was a very powerful scene. After the march the woman who was holding the banner with me kind of just took off and I was left with the banner to tote around by myself, which I didn’t really mind because it felt like I was maintaining some level of active participation by babysitting it. The rally was quite serious, although it did have some very enjoyable musical interludes. The speakers were very passionate about their causes, and very knowledgeable about the issues our community has with its corrupt Sheriff’s department. There was one man there to open the rally up by giving us instances where deputies went too far and innocent people were victimized. In several instances deputies of tasered people for no valid reason, then brought up charges against them only to have them dismissed. In one very disturbing story, a drug dealer was dealt with not by bringing him into custody, but by having a gun put into his mouth, which went off and killed him. I was astonished. Other speakers consisted of a petit old woman who was the victim of abusive tasering while in prison. Apparently the reason she was tasered in the first place was because she went to complain about the guards watching her as she showered. Another woman came up and delivered a powerful speech about her brother who was killed in prison, tasered with 100,000 volts of electricity, allegedly because he was preaching to other inmates. The whole experience was something I’ll never forget. I’ve never been part of a big social demonstration like that, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like. I’m very pleased that this group was the one I marched with. Some people think marching and demonstrating is disruptive and rude (despite its being protected under the constitution), but this was actually a constructive way for people to identify with their community and share in a common goal. For that reason it seems that even if tasers aren’t banned, the demonstration was itself a success.