Re: Conservatism creep evident, Our View, July 13, 2011.
Reading the editorial, I found myself shaking my head at the conclusions drawn and indeed the entire complaint.
Referring to the Olympic protests, your editorial charges that the act of police inserting a spy in the midst of predominantly law-abiding people is undemocratic.
Regardless of the post-Sept. 11 security climate, there have always been concerns with protesters sometimes going beyond legitimate protest that we would all defend as a democratic value.
In today’s world whenever there is a major event, it is always a target, and there is a risk of violence by those in society that choose to do harm to others, whatever the situation they happen to be protesting.
I think the key words in the article are “predominantly law-abiding.” The fact is, that in a protest group there may be individuals ranging from law-abiding citizens, to harmless wackos, to moderate trouble makers, to terrorists.
There is a fine line between the law-abiding majority and the minority who employ violence. The police have a singularly unenviable task in trying to identify that minority and attempt to prevent their actions.
One could argue that to place a spy within a protest group before an incident is something we expect of our police. How else could they effectively keep us safe?
As long as the protest remains law-abiding the police take no action and there is no harm to our democratic values.
If the protest turns the other way then the police have at least a chance to intervene. I for one sleep better at night knowing that police work hard to monitor potential risks via informants and spies. Let’s not confuse the methods of maintaining our security, with politics.