What does America mean to you? To me, it’s about freedom from oppression and the right to disobey the authorities. A lot of foolish and short-sighted people think that America is about “majority rules.” That is not actually the case; the founding fathers went to great lengths to protect minority opinions because they knew that the tyranny by the majority was a just as much a threat as tyranny by a monarch.
There is a video circling the net of the arrest — by force — of many University of California Santa Cruz students who are part of a group called Tent University . I’m mirroring the video here. Right-click to download it here. WARNING: The footage is intense and disturbing. I’ve only watched it once, and I don’t know that I want to watch it again. The sick feeling in my stomach is from the knowledge that this took place in America.
The students were protesting the direction their university was going in. The university made little attempt to accommodate their protest, and then called the cops in. The story can be found here, with additional reporting and more video links at the Santa Cruz IndyMedia.
For those unwilling to watch the video: The students are camping at the entrance of the university. The Free Speech Zone expires at 8 pm, they are told. They camp peacefully anyway. The police come and use various chokeholds on the protesters who have locked arms and are sitting on the ground. The police seem to be applying pressure to the area under your jaw, where your ears meet your jaw bone, and other areas around the neck. It looks extremely painful. It looks to me like several of the kids passed out from the pain. The protesters don’t attack the cops at all, but they scream and wail as the police methodically assault them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the police are sued over this.
I guess I just haven’t been taking my fascist pills, so I don’t see why a bunch of hippy kids camping outside peacefully is such a huge threat. I think the police should use force according to the threat of the situation. This stuation clearly did not call for any use of force. The police and university management should be ashamed of themselves for torturing and assaulting these kids for a crime no more compelling than camping.