I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

UC Davis

My initial reaction to the footage of the UC Davis police pepper-spraying students was precisely the one that main-stream reporting wanted. I saw what appeared to be a small group of students surrounded by officers being sprayed for non-compliance. I thought it a case of police excess, and a classic case of what Lawdog discusses here. It reminded me just how much both sides have acted like goobs in the entire #OccupyGeography affair.

Then I saw the full video, with commentary, here.*

Instead of a small group of students surrounded by police, we have a small(ish) group of police surrounded by a mob of students. Instead of students sprayed for non-compliance, we have officers for all intents and purposes taken hostage for non-compliance. If you think that the protesters were remaining nonviolent, I would like to direct you here, and to this, as follow up to this.

Were there better ways of moving the protesters? Possibly. People in my discussions on this topic seemed largely unaware of just how noxious and damaging pepper spray is, and viewed it as a better alternative to physically laying on hands. To me, it seems like it would have been better had they grabbed a couple heads of hair and moved those heads, on the assumption that the rest of the body would come with. That is more likely to result in claims of police brutality though, despite it probably being safer for the protester.**

What it boils down to after the new information is that the police were defending against the violent act of restraint with plenty of warning as to the consequences. It was not a case of gaining compliance through brutality, but ending a violent, hostile situation through the judicious use of force. I can't fault the officers for this one.

This does seem to show that the protesters need to learn what constitutes violence. Wikipedia claims it as "the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes." Seems to me that fits their actions perfectly.

*Someday I will learn to embed youtube videos. Anyone who knows, drop me a comment and let me know. EDIT Thanks commenter Rifleslinger. There is now an embedded video.

**Also of note is that this tactic is far more dangerous for the officers, as they are more exposed to whatever the miscreants decide to do.


  1. Videos: from a windows desktop running firefox: know the exact name of the video you want to use, clivk on the video icon (by the picture icon) while composing your post, if the video is one you uploaded you can choose that option, otherwise search by video name, highlight the video you want, click ok.

    (not on my computer right this sec, so I might have missed a step, but thats the gist)

  2. Howdy. On the youtube videos there is a "share" button below the video itself. Click it. A link will appear. This is NOT what you're looking for. Click the "Embed" button. The code will appear already highlighted. Copy it.

    Blogger has been having issues by creating a hyperlink within the code which makes it not work. To defeat this I have been pasting the code in a word document, then removing the hyperlink if necessary, then pasting the code in the body of the post.

    Good luck.


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