Having an Opinion is Important

I’m going to digress from my normal style of articles today to make my opinion on a video displayed on Facebook earlier today.

So when I saw this video, I was outraged to discover that some police men and women need to not only learn how to effectively negotiate with protestors, they also need to recognise when activists pose no threat to them nor the people around.

Just prior to this video, police had been tearing down tents and arrested students who stood in their way. Once students peacefully demanded the release of the arrested, UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike unnecessarily pepper sprays the students to open a path for the rest of the officers. Ironically, he had stepped over them to do this.

What was the protest about? The students were protesting what they thought was their right to remain in that area of the campus by refusing an eviction notice & verbal warnings. It was a protest within itself. After police made a handful of arrests, some of the remaining demonstrators formed a seated circle around the officers and arrestees.

UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza has claimed that officers were unable to leave that circle: “There was no way out. They were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.”
But multiple videos clearly show that the seated students made no effort to impede the officers’ movement. … /extracted from http://studentactivism.net.

Let me make my position clear:

Standing up for your rights is important. Silent viduals are sometimes the best option. You don’t impeed others, you don’t stop others from living their lives, and you can make an emotive stance that doesn’t involve aggression.

Xmas Presents 2007

Whether the kids were right or wrong on their stance is no longer an issue: The bigger issue is the use of pepper-spray on people who were posing no threat to the police, were non-confrontational (and thank gawd the rest of the crowd kept calm after watching it happen), and were posing no harm to anyone.

In the end, after also realising the crowd also posed no threat – the students were saying ‘YOU CAN GO’ without enclosing themthe police simply walked away. Yes, whilst still aiming their pelletguns and pepperspray. Seems being photographed was quite scary for them, so they made the pictures looked worse.

If the police had walked away from the crowd before resorting to spraying them down by simply stepping over the sitting people – as the officer had done to spray them – NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE happened. The students would have dispersed of their own accord.

PostScript:
Pepper-spraying our own species? We are meat with brains living on a ball of mud in the corner of the cosmos. I am amazed humans ever evolved out of the slime.

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