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Saturday, April 13, 2024

I was enraged by the article titled "Occupy Gainesville, Occupy UF pair up for demonstration."

Police brutality trumps reckless oil industry practices in the Occupy dialogue.

When Scott Olsen was fired upon by police when peacefully protesting in Oakland, Calif., many feared it would change the Occupy dialogue. The article entitled "Occupy Gainesville, Occupy UF pair up for demonstration" is proof enough that the politicians have changed the dialogue by ordering militarized agencies to attack peaceful, unarmed protesters. The article that ran last week focused on the federal banking system, the economy and police brutality; Instead, the article should have focused on banking, the economy and the environment. For example, Bank of America is a powerful company that controls much of the economy and is heavily invested in environmentally unsustainable and devastating coal mining operations.The environment is the key issue that was overlooked by the article.

BP is continuing to destroy wetlands. Shell is expanding drilling in the Everglades and planning on destroying the Arctic. And the Keystone Tar Sands pipeline is going to drive animals to extinction. Meanwhile, public hearings are not being held, public comments are disappearing from official records and concerns from wetland ecologists locally and conservation biologists globally are not being heard.

Conflicts of interest are seen throughout all legal and political actions revolving these oil expansion projects. These oil companies are using regulatory capture to control our government. This should be the dialogue.

Instead, the article last week focused on hiring thugs to brutalize protesters, which is a step away from hiring thugs to kill ecologists, like what is happening with the rainforest activists in Brazil. It was in bad taste that the article focused on police brutality but failed to mention the awarded war veteran Scott Olsen, whose ability to speak was literally taken away by the brain damage he received from being shot in the face when exercising his freedom of speech. This should enter into the dialogue, but police brutality ought not take center stage instead of the regulatory capture that has occurred in our government.

In fact, police brutality is inevitable as we struggle to liberate ourselves from the 1 percent that would see the long-term sustainability of the human population jeopardized for its short-term, personal economic gains.

Andrew Smith

PhD Student

UF Genetics Institute

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

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