Occupy LA and an unethical response to dissent

I am disturbed by an arrogant disregard among common folks as they consider the Occupy LA movement.  I am troubled by their underlying assumption that this movement has no logical core and that what the “protesters” are doing is wrong or pointless.  I have been searching for ways to involve myself and to express my assent with their activities and thoughts.  I am particularly in agreement with the view that the authority and power of banks and corporate interests are disproportionately exploitive, and these entities operate freely to the detriment of the majority.  In this sense and for that reason I proudly pledge my membership in the Occupy movement.

Today, I believe I was able to contribute to the movement in a small but hopefully good way.  Today, I am substitute teaching an Art class at Palos Verdes High School.  My motivation was fueled by an article that I read, a very disturbing article, in the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-sound-cannon-20111202,0,4874892.story

In this article I learned about the ferocious power of LRAD technology, albeit a technology and weapon that can also be used in a good way (fighting sea piracy, etc).

The LA TImes article reveals a very serious ethical decline by our law enforcement authorities.  There is a major ethical problem in my view as LRAD weaponry is used by LAPD as a way to suppress and remove dissent, such as that which is happening this week in LA and elsewhere.

Turning such weaponry upon our citizens is a frightening, unethical response by authorities, in my view.  Turning this technology against some pirate in the Indian Ocean or the Straits of Malacca is debatably acceptable, but to use it against dissenting civilians in downtown areas of the USA is absolutely not OK.

In my class today I opened up a discussion about LRADs, about the largely misunderstood or maligned activities of the Occupy movement, and about the relationship of art and society.  As a substitute I am probably not supposed to enter risky, no-go areas–particularly when those issues shed a critical light on mainstream authority.  My intention was to provoke deeper and more critical thought among these students, all of whom come from relatively privileged backgrounds, but it is likely that I could be reprimanded for such intentions.

 I did proceed to open these topics today in this class and was pleased that some students showed some curiosity and insight into these issues, while others remained passive or silent.  I do not interpret their silence or inaction as a show of disinterest, but it does indicate to me that consciousness about our society and its inequities are not regularly discussed, at school, at home, or among friends.  In a place like Palos Verdes Estates it is easy and encouraged to remain detached from the plight of the poor and the historic formula of inequality that is rigidly applied today.

I am not sure what these students will do as a response/action from our “conversation” or dialogue  but I asked them to at least inquire, question, and observe more closely what is offerred in the mainstream.  This is particularly important for Artists because they are an important key for illuminating and clarifying the messages at the heart of dissenting views such as those from the Occupy movement.  Art is perhaps the best way to critique, express, and effectuate change in our society—all of which are sorely needed.

Playing at Valmonte School with my son, Niall

Today I walked to Valmonte School with my 7 year old son, Niall.  The first thing I noticed was the breathlessness that I sensed as I walked up and down the steep but tiny hills that are on the way to/from the school.  Far too out of shape for my own good!  As I huffed and puffed I was remembering that in my childhood I would ride a bike or briskly walk up and down those hills with great vigor and dispatch, unaware of any physical limits or problems, and in a body that was in very much better physical condition then, in comparison with now.  Now, a lot of years later the hills were a challenge and a chore–but a pleasant one nonetheless.  Niall wanted to go there to practice his soccer skills.  Being the soccer buddy with a 7 year old requires stamina and so I welcomed the chance to at least pretend to myself that I was getting some exercise while at the same time relishing the chance to play with Niall.

At Valmonte I notice that it is not a K-5 school like it used to be.  I also notice that the playground areas are underdeveloped, unchanged for decades, and not useful for its intended purpose–a place for kids to play.  I am annoyed that the playground does not offer more options for the benefit of kids–for example, much better baseball/softball fields with decent backstops, basketball hoops for little kids to use, drinking fountains, etc.  It seems to only be a “developmental” kindergarten in some of the classrooms while at least a few other rooms that are entirely empty.  I do not understand or agree with the school district’s phase-out of Valmonte and Malaga Cove schools.  It seems odd that students in the local area–the area where I grew up as a child–have to travel further away to go to school.  Local kids in the Valmonte area of Palos Verdes Estates have to be DRIVEN to other schools which are not nearby, unlike in years past when we were able to walk and play at Valmonte or Malaga Cove schools.  I am especially confused why several classrooms at both campuses are barren and empty and unused.  Why are there no adult education classes or other enrichment learning or recreational activities taking place in those rooms, for the benefit of the local folks who are forced to leave their neighborhood for schooling?

I had a great time with Niall but my mind was left to wonder without  logical answers.

A documentary film about Jack London, author and photographer

These days I am writing and researching about Jack London (1876-1916) as I develop a grant proposal in the search for funds.  He is a highly-esteemed American author of fiction, nonfiction–and a photographer too.   He had a spectacular yet brief life and I want to produce a documentary film for PBS about him.  I am particularly interested in his socialist views and his photography.  He took photos during his travels all over Asia, Pacific Islands, Mexico, and the USA.  I have assembled a great team of scholars who will collaborate with me on the development and production of this project.  I am still seeking a PBS co-producer with a national track record as I seek funds and develop the program’s content.  Wish me luck!

About my friend, RL “Bob” Morgan

I want to write about the struggle of my friend, Bob Morgan, who is battling with cancer.  He has an ongoing blog that describes the process of treatment he is undergoing—please visit his blog at:   www.bobmorgan.org/bword/

Bob and I have had a friendship since we were age 3.  Bob has blossomed as a man, husband, father, and all around family man of the best kind—with his lovely wife, Eve, and his daughters, Julia and Annika steadfast at his side.  My friendship with Bob has survived for a long time and I am grateful for the huge range of things that we did and learned together over these many years.  Bob lost his wonderful mom, Marion, and his dad, Harry, a few years ago and they are sorely missed.  But now Bob has an epic struggle of his own to endure and he is a battler.  I am so impressed with his ability to learn and know what is happening throughout this ordeal.  He writes reflectively and in an informed way about the details and big picture of what he is enduring, and for that I am amazed and grateful.  In my own blog I will write about some stories about what we did together over the years, with appropriate editing so as to not mortify the kids or the feint of heart!  I hope that these stories will be considered to be fun to read and will be helpful for his recovery.

PLEASE VISIT Bob’s Blog at:    www.bobmorgan.org/bword/

My prayers are for Bob and his speedy recovery, and I ask that you all send out good energy to Bob!

Anthony

My ranging and restless mind

Hello and welcome to all!

I am Anthony Collins and this is my first post on my first blog site. I am using this blog site to write and reflect upon what I know, observe, do, and seek in my daily life and more. I welcome your comments and input. I am in the process of learning more and more about how to produce my blog site so please notice its growth, improvement, and changes.

Thanks for reading!
Anthony

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