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« Among Nudes And Burqas | Main | Cat (or Global Forces) Got Your Tongue? »

September 19, 2007


The tasering was uncalled for, I agree. I think that law enforcement is definitely overusing those, even in situations that could be managed without recourse to force, like this one.

As for why John Kerry didn't seem to act in the video clip taken by Clarissa Jessup that you linked to, this article may help answer your question.
"An eyewitness to the entire episode, Clarissa Jessup, indicates Kerry did try to deescalate the matter, and did just about tell the police to stand down."

From a european-centered view some parts of American culture are extremely violent, no matter in which situation. I can´t imagine that in a European
university or forum, whatever the attitude display by the interviewer and whoever the interviewed.

Don't forget the incident last year at UCLA. The fairly recent report of the independent investigation is described in this August 1 press release. Note the contrary internal—and therefore confidential—report. The Acting Chancellor at the time waffles splendidly, admitting "reasonable people may disagree" about the propriety of the police conduct. I think and in many cases where recourse to this cop-out is taken. (Pun way intended.)

I haven't forgotten the UCLA incident. I am sure most people, on learning about the Florida case, must have remembered and wondered why this is happening again and again to students on campuses. The response of the U of FL is not very much more brave or forthright than UCLA's mealy mouthed waffling.

Two campus officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, University of Florida President J. Bernard Machen said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

"Administrators and police officials plan to analyze the incident and conduct an internal review and will consider changing protocols in response to this incident, if necessary," Machen said.

"Internal review?" "will consider changing protocols?" "If necessary?" What's going on?

If anyone still thinks that fish doesn't rot from the head and what I said in my first post in this series about the role the Bush administration has played in fostering paranoia and unbridled trampling of civil rights doesn't hold water, should ponder why this kind of widespread knee-jerk brutality did not ensue after the Oklahoma City bombing.

There is no doubt in my mind that the current administration's dismal regard for the law of the land is at the heart of this spate of thuggery at airports, campuses and other public places. I am afraid many have interpreted the illegal and extra-constitutional steps taken by Bush and Co. as a sanction for their own illegal exercise of power.

When a nation is repeatedly exposed to nastiness, it becomes inured to the nasty. I am afraid that is what is at play here - the normalization of the abnormal. Fascist creep up is already here. I have not so far heard one word emanating out of the hallowed chambers of the US Congress condemning the direction the country is taking in the name of security. I wonder why - they have time enough for other kinds of windbaggery. Perhaps a couple of self absorbed elected officials have to be tasered by the Capitol police before it will get the attention of our bloviating lawmakers.

For more examples of the Bush administration's illegal and criminal disregard for decency with security as an excuse, see here. If the Iraqi government does indeed follow up with its threat of expelling Blackwater, those tough guys may return home and end up in the police force in our neighborhoods or the nearest university campus!>Story of another man>tased a while back outside MN airport.

Suppose the student had been a fanatic? What were the officers supposed to do?
It's easy to comment on a blog like this, but the real world is a bit different. I doubt that anyone here really knows what it's like to deal with a difficult situation as a law enforcement officer.

If Mr. Meyer was disruptive and unruly in a public meeting, I would guess none of us here on this "blog" would object to his being removed from the forum.

What is appalling is that he was tasered. (A taser gun causes extreme pain and can be lethal in some cases.) Please consider the fact that there were half a dozen police officers involved in "subduing" Andrew Meyer. Do your mean to seriously tell me that six able bodied adults could not bring one unarmed man, fanatic or not, under control without resorting to such violent means? If not, then those members of the campus police do not measure up to the customary minimum physical standards required by most law enforcement agencies.

There is lot of silly talk about Meyer being a publicity hound etc. What is wrong in trying to attract a crowd toward oneself? He is not trying to enrich himself as those moronic celebrities do. He is practicing politics. And one of the major element of politics is attracting others to one's point of view.
Meyer is right to attract a crowd. He is asking serious questions. My opinion is he genuinely cares about Politics and his fellow human beings. If humanity advances it is because some people are willing to take risk and spark others. A little bit of dramatic flair is not a crime , it is a necessity to provoke others to take a stand.
I also noticed that in some reports an anonymous police officer is quoted as saying meyer actually behaved normally when camera was not there. And he asked whether there will be press to cover this incident in Police Station.
This sounds phony designed to defame Meyer. For one thing, It is not clear why this particular police officer is anonymous. There is no reason for him/her to be anonymous. He/she is not going against his/her superiors. He/she is not leaking any serious information which might get him into trouble. And he/she is the only source cited to prove this point.
More disgraceful is the conduct of the crowd. They at first cheered Meyer's mistreatment and then simply ignored the scuffle. I was reminded of that old saying, The Road to ......... was paved with indifference.
If the US is going to end up in disaster it is because of these indifferent Zombies.
Kerry, No comment is necessary about His Aloofness or His Wooditude.He is truly contemptible.

I think the kid may have instigated the situation intentionally. His diatribe was certainly annoying!

That said, using a taser was clearly out-of-line and unnecessary. Not as bad as the UCLA incident, maybe, but relatively less bad police brutality isn't something to aspire to.

He proved that you can be physically removed (to cheers) and tasered for articulating a commonly held point of view, in a forum precisely created for this purpose, if only you sound a bit obnoxious and long-winded. Give the self-made cynic-celebrity, if that's what he is, a nobel prize. I haven't seen anything more important demonstated in my lifetime.

Seems like the police acted in a heavy-handed and unreasonable manner, though I wouldn't put it past the student that it was a publicity stunt. That still doesn't take away his rights to freedom of speech in a forum. OTOH, I'd also cut the police officers some slack whose task is not made any easier these days with attention -seeking idiots. Must be something in the Boston water I guess.
And the knee-jerk reaction has already started with someone calling for banning of tasers on campus!! It'll be interesting to revisit this post 3-4 months from now when more details are available, and see where everyone's at. I read the reports but couldn't find any information on the organizers who cut off his microphone.

The story related to the video linked to "attention" :

You are all wrong - this event was partially
staged- as propaganda for the new police state-

you are being conditioned and manipulated-as you
have been all your life-
You are being trained that if you ask wrong questions you will be tortured-
WRONG QUESTIONS = TORTURE or Concentration camps-
Unpaid Taxes= Torture / Jail
Read wrong book = TORTURE
Best thing you can do is watch the Video online
" Zeitgeist the Movie " Educate yourself and
don't let them manipulate your mind and steal your

I couldn't help but let my jaw drop when I read Namit's comment, asking 'what if he (Meyer) had been a fanatic-- what were the police supposed to do then?' Tasers were sold to us as alternatives to DEADLY FORCE--meaning that their use was supposed to be 'instead of using a gun.' Does ANYBODY think that using a gun on Meyer was called-for? If not, then why were tasers allowed in this scenario? The police are supposed to control the situation using an equal amount of force to that which is used by the apprehended. Since Meyer had no weapon, tasers cannot possibly be considered as an equal amount of force. And there were many full-grown adult policemen against one single man.
What they were SUPPOSED to do was 'remove him' to another place, and arrest him if he could not be removed. Instead, they pulled out cattle-prods and 'punished' him for not obeying their commands.
Why don't we just give the cops branding irons, and bullwhips? That way they can obtain information from people who aren't compliant enough to answer their questions.
Since Tasers have been implicated in DEATHS of those who are tased, there is NO justification for pulling these things out of their holsters unless the ONLY remaining alternative is to shoot the suspect.
The guy was a publicity hound, and a jerk. OK! Granted! I will stipulate that the guy was a crass, ill-mannered lout. I can find no statute, even in Florida, which makes this illegal.


But the comment you refer to was made by "disagree" and not Namit. Namit in fact pointed us to yet another crass and callous use of taser on a hapless victim.

The other thing that has bothered me about the reaction of some to this story is that many people have speculated that given Meyer's penchant for publicity seeking, he "knew" that the police would react this way if he acted up. Which actually, is even more scary. That means we now know that our police is likely to shoot, taser or otherwise cause grievous bodily harm if we are obnoxious, loud or look at them cross eyed and we accept that as a routine part of law and order in America!

This is what I meant when I said, "normalization of the abnormal." We have now come to expect this kind of overreaction and boorishness from our law enforcement who pledge to "serve and protect" us and find that quite reasonable. What a pity!

I wonder how many people got enraged (or even knew about this) when Nader was escorted off of the UMass campus by State trooper during the Bush-Gore debate in 2000, even though he had a valid ticket to watch the debate in a different room on video feed. The CPD actually provided pictures of all the third-party candidates to police officers with instructions to remove any of them from the premises if they showed up. It's kinda sad that one guy who dares to challenge the corporate authority doesn't get much love and is decried as a "spoiler" when he is anything but. Well, this is what we get in spite of Kerry "reporting for duty" in that auditorium.

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