Monday, May 28, 2012

On protesting

I had a rather frustrating encounter with one of the stoner buddies the other day. He was ranting and raving about the student protests in Quebec. He was upset about tuition rises in another province, about 'civil rights infringements and police brutality', and 'protests', of which he seemed to display particular ignorance.

Firstly, the month of protests and rioting are over...325$ a year in tuition hikes. Yeah, it seems like a lot- except their university tuition is 2168$ a year in Quebec. Yeah, that much. It's going up to -get this- $3793. Yeah. That's just over half the tuition anywhere else in the country. There have now been a month of riots over that. It's like the concentration of entitlement right there. He claims it's a 75% rise in prices and that's "inexcusable". If there's a 75% raise in price of an item that you're getting for less than half of retail, is that really serious enough to riot over? It's actually 43%.

Now the bill C-78? Different kettle of fish. That's pretty bullshit. There's no way to tell angry mobs to not assemble on the part of student federations, nor is it particularly conducive to peaceful protesting or civil liberties and whatnot. I'm not dealing with it.

Regarding police brutality, police in Quebec have a particularly bad reputation for it. Part of it is recent history- the PLQ Crisis, the Oka Crisis, etc. The police forces have been battered by bad press, low pay, high corruption, and abnormally dangerous situations. The siege mentality is kind of astounding. And after 100+ days of riots and protests, you can be some nerves are worn pretty thin. There's plenty of footage of police doing things they shouldn't on youtube, and plenty of questionable stuff where all you see is someone getting pepper sprayed. My buddy always gives the protesters the benefit of the doubt, as they are clearly people coming from drinking milk and studying their Bibles by the university in silent protest. I remain a little skeptical...but then again, he has trouble that's almost pathological. He by default rejects all default wisdom, labeling anyone who fights any authority as a 'freedom fighter', and basically rejecting modern science in exchange for conspiracy theory, geomancy, and other absurd concepts. Fine. Whatever. Where it starts to cross the line is where everything is the work of the mysterious New World Order, from the rise of Britney Spears to protesters heaving molotovs- oh, they're agents of the police making the protesters look bad! Quite frankly, it's starting to make me a little uncomfortable. He's starting to go off the rails, constantly accusing me of being sheeple and whatnot.

However, the most baffling thing is that he doesn't understand the idea of protesting. There's three kinds of protests: peaceful, civil disobedience, and rioting. Peaceful protests are largely ineffective. No one cares. Civil dissidence is a deliberate provocation of the authorities, in the hope you'll get your asses kicked to show how bad and awful the authorities are. No one cares if you wave a placard most days. People care when peaceful protesters end up bloodied on camera for walking along a bridge. And rioting? Violent protests basically justify the acts of the police. He doesn't understand that in crowds, there are assholes instead of agent provocatuers, espouses violence (especially against cops), etc. He actually believes that by fighting the cops, he'll accomplish goals and get vengeance for a fight that isn't even his.

I've come to a conclusion about him- I want him nowhere near a firearm. Not to say I want his rights stripped, but rather his mental state leaves me a touch uncomfortable. The whole lack of...well, objective reality in some of his beliefs leads me to believe that he'd be about as safe as your token 'THAT ASSHOLE' on a range. You know, the one who sweeps everyone, ignores the rules? I want him nowhere near me during a disaster that involves no rule of law, doubly so because his stated plan is looting. It's a sad realization, but true. Suddenly, his road-raging threats of 'if I had a gun' or 'I wish I had a gun' seem a little more real. It's been this weird slipping action over the last year.

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