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UC Police Lt John Pike pepper spraying young people.
Picture: Wayne Tilcock of The Davis Enterprise

Yesterday I observed, slightly off-hand, that with new technology all the participants in demonstrations carry in their hands the means to record accurately what is done to them by and in the name of the state.  Every demonstrator a director, every group a film crew.  I had not expected the glaring proof of this to happen that very day.

The picture above by Wayne Tilcock, of The Davis Enterprise, shows the shocking images of deliberate Police brutality that was meted out at the Occupy UC Davis campus.

The students there had decided to set up an Occupy Camp on the lawns of the Campus. This was opposed by the Chancellor, Linda P B Katehi, who called in the Police to clear this miserable riff raff off her prize winning manicured.  Her argument seems to be that by not evacuating when told to, they brought the above action on themselves.

But what, exactly, are we looking at?  Well, a number of students are sitting down on the ground arms linked in a peaceful non threatening manner.  They pose no active threat to anyone and are composed mostly, it seems, of girls and young women.

University of California Police Lt John Pike (oh yes, this being your own director bit means the guilty are clearly identified) who is obviously, by his body language, in no danger of any kind whatsoever, proceeds to produce a can of pepper spray and discharge it over the students.  Then police used batons to prise the students apart, kneeling on bodies and pushing heads into the ground.  Those who had covered their heads in time had more pepper sprayed down their throats.  Several students were hospitalised coughing up blood.

And it wasn’t just the student body who were attacked.  A former Poet Laureate of the United States, and Pulitzer Prize winner Professor Robert Hass, was amongst a number struck with batons.

Is it just me, or does this bring back memories of Kent State University, or My Lai, or Abu Ghraib?

And what is the delight that United States Police Officers take in attacking young women?  We saw this first on day 8 at the Occupy Wall Street Protest and then again, in Oregon, last night.  Do Police get a particular thrill from hitting posh college girls or is it just women they enjoy abusing?

Picture: Randy Ramussen of The Oregonian

As for Chancellor Linda P B Katehi, well it’s safe to say her days as Chancellor are numbered. And the publicity has probably stuffed her career in “Education”.  The acreage of publicity for this action can hardly be what the trustees at the University were looking for from her office.  A petition has already been raised by the teaching staff to have her removed and she can hardly think to have the support of the student body either, who stood in serried ranks in a total silence of utter contempt as she left yesterday.  As for alumni contributions to the cause, will you be giving them money?  Bet she is out by Christmas?

I can only echo the words of poet Robert Hass, recovering after his ordeal at the hands of thugs who turn nightsticks on educators and pepper spray girls.

Regardless of how you vote or who you worship, tell me honestly, is this the America that you want to live in? Do you want kids to grow up thinking that beating someone is ok, as long you disagree with their opinion on corporate tax rates? Does this make you feel free/safe/proud? Can’t we put aside our petty differences for just one damn second and realize that this is wrong at the cellular level? WE ARE ALL HUMAN! Do we not all deserve some measure of basic respect one from another?

I have no energy left to be angry at this injustice. I am just sad. Sad for what unbridled greed and censorship has done to America. A country I love. A country built on the idea that ANYONE, no matter what they believe, could live here and be safe.

That America is disappearing. Will you let it slip away because it’s too annoying/time consuming/confrontational to get involved? Or will you take a stand?

Copyright David Macadam 2011