A United States Marine Corp Sergeant confronted a group of NYPD officers at the Occupy Times Square protests in a viral YouTube video.
It’s powerful footage and it may lead the rest of America to pull their heads out of the sand.
But first I want to talk about some of the petty words in the comment sections I’ve seen on news sites covering the video. A lot of armchair quarterbacks have been trying to discredit Sergeant Shamar Thomas because he’s out of uniform according to Marine Corps standards.
Those who are supposedly in the know have said that he’s a s***bag because he’s wearing his uniform wrong. Some people honestly seem to think that’s enough to discredit Thomas and the statement he made over the weekend.
That kind of thinking is absurd and Thomas is no longer on active duty. He can wear that uniform as a civilian any way he chooses, he’s earned that right. People see disheveled Vietnam vets who wear their uniforms wrong all the time. You don’t often see people giving them a hard time for violating uniform codes do you?
Give me a break.
The confrontation Thomas was involved in was a verbal one, but the truth that he wields in the video is more powerful than any conventional weapon known to man. He should be commended for having the guts to do what many people around the country were thinking.
The video shows Thomas (a proud New Yorker) walking down the street in Times Square towards a group of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters. As he walks he proudly displays his Marine Corps uniform, rank and ribbons. He begins shouting at the police because of the harassment and threats that the police direct at the crowd.
Thomas can be heard asking them why they are gearing up with batons and shields when the protesters are unarmed and nonviolent. He repeatedly tells them that there is no honor in harming unarmed civilians and that if they think they’re tough and want to hurt someone that they should go over to Iraq or Afghanistan where real life and death situations are played out every day.
Thomas isn’t really endorsing the unjust wars in the Middle East, he’s simply trying to make a point that only cowards get off on harming peaceful protesters. On Keith Olbermann’s Current TV show Thomas talks about how when he was doing his 14 months of overseas service that the Marines had to deal with hostile, rock throwing crowds often.
Even in the face of hostile crowds the Marines - in a combat zone - used less force on those crowds than police officers are using here at home.
Thomas comes from a proud family of military vets and the last thing any vet wants to see is the police gleefully attacking the people he took an oath to protect, especially when all those people are doing is exercising their Constitutional rights.
The only thing the protesters were guilty of that day was telling the cops that they are part of the much publicized 99 percent and they should join in the protests. Many of the NYPD officers had looks on their faces that made it seem they didn't feel too good about themselves at that moment. Hell, some of them seemed like maybe they agreed with what he was saying.
Let’s be honest. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the numerous videos of cops harassing and attacking the OWS protesters. Some of them appear to almost enjoy getting to use violence on unarmed people. None of that violence was justified and all of it was sickening.
Shamar Thomas is a true war hero because he is revisiting the actions of the greatest Marine of all time, Smedley Butler. The most important military personnel we have are the people who come home and educate the people about how horrible and unnecessary war really is.
We may not all agree with the ideology that is present in the OWS protests, but hopefully Shamar Thomas’ Smedley Butler moment will help the remaining apathetic masses pull their heads out of the sand.