Monday, November 21, 2011

Why did police destroy computers at Occupy Wall Street?


I read here the grim news that the NYPD had taken the laptops in the media center at Zuccotti Park, lined them up, and smashed them.

Here are photos from

Have you ever tried to bend a metal laptop computer? Do you know how hard it is to inflict this kind of damage? On the's comment section, IT professionals debated over what it would take to inflict that level of damage. Most concluded that getting run over with a car would not damage the laptops that much.

Whoever did this to the laptops of Occupy Wall Street protesters must have been very determined to stop the protesters from using the computers. Perhaps it's time for donations. (Some of destroyed laptops had been donated by the public)

I find it fascinating that the police also treated the info tech specialists at Occupy Wall Street differently.

The NYPD seized Occupy Wall Street's signal corps, a team that provided free wireless Internet for Occupy Wall Street, and sequestered them in a separate part of the jail. A member of that team, Isaac Wilder, reported $5,000 missing from his confiscated items in the media tent - money that belonged to him. Something else was gone: a router tower that the Signal Corps used to provide Occupy Wall Street with free Internet service.

My conclusion: police aren't afraid of the protesters - they are afraid of political speech. They are afraid of people communicating. Whoever wanted the free internet gone and laptops destroyed wanted to destroy the protesters ability to 1) communicate to the outside world 2)organize.

Of course, the police must realize that when laptops are replaced, they will be replaced with more powerful models. This was a learning experience. The protesters are learning how to survive in a violent police state that fears free speech.


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