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November 21, 2011

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Unfortunately, "taking responsibility" in this case would mean dismissing Lt. John Pike and then resigning, and that's not going to happen.

In one sentence -"There was no credible threat, only a perceived one."- we have the essence of the War of Terror being forced upon us.

There was a threat - it was just wildly overblown, Dr. Nescio.

No credible threat - only a perceived (manufactured) one - would apply well to Iraq, though.

"There was no credible threat, only a perceived one."

The threats are everywhere:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/casually-pepper-spray-everything-cop/photos

First thing we do (Brett, here's your shot at agreeing with me just once) is get rid of Homeland Security.

Seriously.

Too much money buying too much militarized security gear for too many lunkheads at the local homeland level, where fascists lurk before going national. I read somewhere months ago that a little town on an island off the coast of Washington or maybe Alaska used their Homeland Security money to install a camera at the only four-way stop in town, presumably because terrorists weren't coming to a full stop when they hit the local bar once a week.

I think they splurged too on epaulettes, pepper spray, and a new "sireen" for the squad car so that Deputy Fife, Otis Campbell, and Gome could interrupt the suspicious activity at the lady's auxiliary.

There was a three-week course in effective frisking, which came in handy, so to speak, when Aunt Bea's ample decolletage required going all Syria on her after she criticized John Bolton's homemade pickles.

Regarding UC Davis, in particular, a couple of things. The spraying was, well, there it was, but what got me was the officer's extravagant flourish of holding aloft the spray canister itself for the benefit of Mr. Kite and the crowd before spraying as if he was about to jump through a hogshead of real fire.

It was very Mussolini of him.

I've criticized the OWS folks for not displaying a more disciplined and potentially martial form of theater, but maybe they are getting their act together.

The silent group greeting the Chancellor was very moving and effective. I would ask only that they stand rather than sit.

Sitting seems so supine to me. It invites being sprayed like weeds or bugs.

It makes the banking bullies and their little Himmlers on the police forces think they can continue to have their way.

By the way, does John Pike realize that the interests for whom he was bullying the protestors are going to dissolve his union, cut his pay, and halt his health insurance.

And, replace him with a one-celled fetus earning less than mimimum wage who would he happy to pepper spray multi-celled unemployed folks.

I've watched the YouTube of the "confrotation" a couple times because the psychology is so interestig. the cops are all in military gear, helmets, face masks, huge futuristic-lookikng guns. Rmeber the thread we had about cops and peoples' fantasies about themselves? The cops in the video definately seem to have a fantasy about starring i a action movie as the big bad fighters against the Evil Forces.

But there's no one to fight except a bunch of unnarmed and unthreatening civilians. The cops seem baffled, at a loss, sort of milling around pointing their guns and looking silly except for the guy with the pepperspray. He knew what to do. The other cops, its like they are all dressed up with no where to go. There is one cop who seems to live i the real world; he took off the helmet and face mask and has no gun and is in the video just talking to people like a human being.

Then afterwards to justifyy themsleves the statement from the cops is that they were surrounded and threatened by the unarmed civilians. The big bad fighters of evil with all their military gear depict themselves as afraid of a bunch of unarmed people!

So perceived threat to what? The fantasy of cops as action heroes? The money wasted on all that gear? The belief amog the elites that oly the dirty fuckig hippies object to the political and ecoomic coditiaons i this coutry?

Via Balloon Juice, Meghan Kelly, who apparently drinks her "Be a Fascist Blonde" bottle of bleach before going on the air, said that pepper spray is essentially a food product.

I'm looking forward to Herman Cain's next move, which will be to start selling the extra spicy pizza to school districts and calling himself a vegan.

The pizza in a spray bottle. Close your eyes and open your pie hole.

What's next? Rubber bullets are essentially encapsulated tomato paste?

Cruise missiles are very large and tasty flying cucumbers?

Yes, definitely more martial theater for OWS. I want there to be a more palpable perceived threat, say, that Meghan Kelly's larynx and esophagus will soon be ripped out of her throat and used to strangle Bill Oh Reilly.

The next Republican Administration will be sending our Homeland Security folks to Syria, Pakistan, China and Egypt to observe their domestic tranquility methods and procedures.

Or maybe the current one will, the way things are going.

The perceived threat was when Chancellor Katehi was in her office and there were a large number of students waiting outside of the office complex to confront her. The video is at the link above, and here a link directly to the youtube vid. This was after the pepper spraying incident. It's hard to see in the video, but there were apparently about 1000 UC Davis students outside as Katehi walks to her car. So the threat is perceived by Katehi and this blog post gives a bit more detail.

Some folks have suggested that it is the best example of shaming they have ever seen, in that the students say nothing, but watch her go by. However, Katehi has refused to resign because 'the university needs her', so it is not clear how much shame she actually felt.

I put pepper spray in my sprinkler system. It helps keep the slugs away, and also serves as home defense against the neighborhood strays.

"The silent group greeting the Chancellor was very moving and effective. I would ask only that they stand rather than sit."

Them sitting was a specific demand from the Chancellor before she would go out. See here

What we felt couldn’t be compromised on was the students’ desire to see and be seen by the Chancellor. Any exit without face to face contact was unacceptable. She was willing to do this. We reached agreement that the students would move to one side of the walkway and sit down as a show of commitment to nonviolence.

Before we left, the Chancellor was asked to view a video of the student who was with me being pepper sprayed. She immediately agreed. Then, he and I witnessed her witnessing eight minutes of the violence that occurred Friday. Like a recurring nightmare, the horrific scene and the cries of “You don’t have to do this!” and students choking and screaming rolled again. The student and I then left the building and using the human mike, students were informed that a request had been made that they move to one side and sit down so that the Chancellor could exit. They immediately complied, though I believe she could have left peacefully even without this concession.

lj,

Two points of minutia.

Dr. Loomis (at LGM) spells his name the Northern Way -- Erik with a "k." (He is also good people.)

Also, too, for those so inclined, the pepper-spraying cop has gone full meme:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/casually-pepper-spray-everything-cop/photos

bob mcmanus, what say you?

This article, about Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, via Eric Loomis at LGM, is quite interesting

There's something confounding about that article in that the article doesn't really provide an answer about why Jean Quan, given her background, made the choices she made in a manner that was so hostile to the Occupy activists.

thx for the correx, bob

JustMe, I agree, but I'm wondering if anyone, even Jean Quan, understands how she got from where she was to where she is. I look at my own life, mundane as it is, and try to figure out why I am where I am.

And even if you do have an idea how you got there, (like this letter from Stephen Frye his younger self), you wonder what kind of letter Jean Quan's younger self would write to her.

I suspect that Mayor Quan reacted as she did because she found herself in a totally unfamiliar situation.

She had started out expressing sympathy for the OWS protesters - and essentially directed that no constraints be placed upon their encampment. Then the downtown businesses (on which Oakland depends for the taxes to pay for all the things she wants to do) complained about the negative impact of the protests. So she went overboard in the other direction.

It's the kind of flailing around that happens all too often when someone who is totally unprepared suddenly has to deal with a situation. Not always, of course, but more often than not. And the flailing around ends up damaging anyone in the vicinity, not excepting the flailer. And so it appears to be in Oakland. (Where, be it noted, the new mayor had already managed to make a mess of several other bits of administration and policy.)

"First thing we do (Brett, here's your shot at agreeing with me just once) is get rid of Homeland Security."

You're not going to get an argument from me on that. The militarization of police is a serious problem in this country, and I don't get why anyone would think cramming everybody with even a tangential involvement in the nation's security into one huge agency was going to help anything.

And that name; Who picked it, anyway? Hermann Göring?

I said that I wasn't going write about Penn State, but this, like Jean Quan above, about the Penn State president, Graham Spanier, is another situation where you try and understand how someone's past links up with their present.

And that name; Who picked it, anyway? Hermann Göring?

My gosh, Brett. It's weird agreeing with you so strongly.

The story of people who are brought by their own ambition into situations which conflict with other, more personal values of theirs is one of the oldest human narratives.

If it ends up destroying them, we call it 'tragedy'. The goat-song.

I don't know much about Quan with regard to OWS events in Oakland.

Katehi appears to want to have it both ways, which, of course, she can't. Nobody can.

Not my call, but IMO she really should go. A shame, perhaps, at some levels, I'm sure she's not totally devoid of ability or qualification, but she should go.

It may not even be completely her fault, but she should go. If you want to be the boss, your desk is where the buck stops.

My opinion, obviously.

My general comment about all of the hideous, unnecessary violence that has been the police response to OWS is that if you want to make a habit of characterizing every domestic issue as a 'war' on something, it should not surprise you to wake up and find that your police have turned into a hostile occupying army.

When I watched the video of the incident at UC Davis, specifically, the thing that struck me more than anything else was how unafraid the students were, and how afraid the cops were.

They were wearing body armor, helmets with full protective face shields, carrying guns and batons. The kids had nothing.

And the cops were scared sh*tless.

The folks involved at UC Davis were astoundingly disciplined, patient, and committed to their goal. Those folks have their eyes on the prize.

That is real power. That is the kind of power that makes things change.

In that context, Katehi is a footnote, no matter what she does or does not do.

Abuse of power comes as no surprise - Jenny Holzer

I am not a policeperson and not very good at psychology, so I am incompetently speculating here.
Maybe in the policepersons the dissonance between what they expect and what they see has something to do with it. They expect and are prepared for a violent confrontation but are met with passive resistance and no obvious threat of violence. A possible reaction is to suspect a trap of some kind (It's quiet...too quiet). Or the thought to turn the unknown situation into one one has learned to cope with => provoke violence then deal with it as per training.
This reminds me of anecdotes about SS guards in concentration camps being afraid of Jehovah's Witnesses because those guys would volunteer for the gas chamber and not resist abuse. It simply did not compute and that scares people.[This is not to be construed as smearing the police as being the same as the SS]
Or Lucy after hitting Charlie brown on the nose: I had to hit him (and fast). He started to make sense. [from memory and retranslated into English]

Well, yeah, a trap.

Look, cops have a number of categories they put you into, to determine how they treat you.

Law abiding citizen. Obeys orders, not going to assault you.

Totally non-violent white collar criminal. obeys orders, probably won't assault you. Seldom seen in the field, somebody else deals with them.

Violent perpetrator. Violates orders, will assault you given the chance.

So, you've got some protesters illegally occupying a location. That puts them in the "criminal" category. They're ordered to move, and they don't. They just moved themselves out of the "nonviolent" criminal category, and are now presumed to be prone to violent attack on the cop if given the chance.

They're sitting there with linked arms. That precludes a quick takedown and cuffing, so you fall back to pepper spray.

I think that's basically the decision tree the cops followed to what happened.

Furthermore, doesn't everybody here understand that the point of this sort of protest is exactly to deny the authorities any mode of response that looks good on the evening news? They can't let any random bunch of people just up and decide to block everybody else from using a public space. The protesters can't be shifted by sweet reason. That leaves cops, and the protesters deliberately behave in a fashion that guarantees some form of violence, to produce good footage on the evening news.

So, while being dismayed by the militarization of the police, I entirely understand that, in this instance, they were caught in a dynamic designed to manufacture this incident.

Furthermore, doesn't everybody here understand that the point of this sort of protest is exactly to deny the authorities any mode of response that looks good on the evening news?

No, everybody doesn't understand that.

Here is an option that was not, to my knowledge, attempted:

Katehi could have gotten up off of her fat @ss, gone out to the quad, spoken with the students, and offered some kind of quid pro quo in exchange for their moving.

Would it have worked? Don't know.
Was it attempted? To my knowledge, no.

Here's another option: leave them the hell alone. Let them sit there. It's the week before Thanksgiving, and the end of the UC Davis fall semester. Odds are overwhelming that they would simply been gone in a couple of days.

Until then, walk around them.

the protesters deliberately behave in a fashion that guarantees some form of violence

I have no idea how to make sense of this comment.

You're in the wrong business, Brett, you should be working for the AP

I should add, this is not to say that the protesters on the ground were actually aware that they were following a script which was specifically designed to generate violence on the part of authorities, to be used for propaganda purposes. None the less, they were.

Ok, I suppose you could say that paying the Danegeld is always an option. But if you establish that all somebody has to do to roll you is dist on a sidewalk with linked arms, don't expect your sidewalks to be very usable. You never get to pay that just once.

Brett, you were doing really really well until you got to the typically libertarian, "let me see how I can blame some powerless other for the abuse they suffered."

It's as though you're arguing that the protesters were maliciously taking attacking the police by taking advantage of their poor training and penchant for unnecessary violence and then blaming the protesters.

If the police had carried the students away or engaged in some kind of action that did not involve pepper spraying them directly in the face (or even left them alone until they got bored and went away), this would have been a non-story.

They can't let any random bunch of people just up and decide to block everybody else from using a public space.

The students in question were occupying a small portion of the park. So the administration actually could have decided to just let them have it. Nothing bad would have happened if they had, nothing at all.

And that name; Who picked it, anyway?

That would be George W. Bush, the first president to refer to our nation as 'the homeland'. DHS is an amalgamation of existing agencies and the TSA. It's also a great union busting organization....part of the plan. The design. Its creation followed the script to a tee. Thus it is strange to see Brett advocating its elimination ("homeland" "elimination"...heh, you can see where this is going)....but then it came to me:

ATF is part of DHS!!!!

Wheels within wheels. The plan unfolds exactly according to the script, the secret of history revealed.

The hubub of daily events is just so much random noise. The Plan is actually running quite smoothly, thank you very much.

Katehi...where have I heard that name?

Oh, yeah:

Previously held positions include the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, and associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education in the College of Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

Oh, yeah. I used to get emails from her, looking for money.

Katehi could have gotten up off of her fat @ss

Possibly. But her ass isn't fat.

I know: not your point. But I seldom get a chance to be right in these discussions, so I'm going with this.

Brett, you were doing really really well until you got to the typically libertarian, "let me see how I can blame some powerless other for the abuse they suffered."

Is anyone, anyone at all, surprised to find that you can get Brett to defend police brutality so long as it happens to a liberal? There is no behavior he won't defend provided it's being done to a filthy hippie.

This, from Crooked Timber, about Katehi and her co authoring of a recommendation report to deal with campus unrest in Greece, was interesting. I wonder if the persistent application of recommendation report euphemisms is the agent responsible for making someone end up in a place far from where they originally were, though I have heard nothing about Katehi's political orientation as a college student, I'm just assuming that she was against the junta back in the day.

This is quite a bit further afield, but related to Greece and is a pretty amazing read and especially in light of Brett's suggestion that the students sitting on the ground are "deliberately behave in a fashion that guarantees some form of violence" (unless it was mistakenly posted here rather than in Dr. Science's OSC post as an example of the kind of logic that has child molesters claim that they were forced into it). Cause the Naked Capitalism link shows one how it is really done.

Wheels within wheels. The plan unfolds exactly according to the script, the secret of history revealed.

I suspect that Lyndon LaRouche is, somehow, at the heart of this.

Possibly. But her ass isn't fat.

When you're wrong, you're wrong. I stand corrected.

Please amend my comment upthread to say "she could have gotten up off of her bony @ss".

Or, perhaps, simply "she could have gotten up".

I suppose you could say that paying the Danegeld is always an option.

Or, you could say that talking to people whose interests are among your specific responsibilities is always an option.

The original protest was about increases in tuition. I doubt that's something Katehi has any control over. So, for 'quid pro quo' there really isn't a need to read "give them whatever they are asking for". That was likely not something it was in Katehi's power to give in the first place.

A real world 'quid pro quo' in this context can be something like, "I'll be happy to meet with a delegation of you folks at any convenient time, lets see if there is something we can do for you, in return would you consider moving 100 feet that way because you're in the way".

Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. It's one of probably dozens of possible responses that fall between "do nothing" and "spray non-resistant kids in the face with pepper spray".

My point overall is that an extremely broad range of options were available that were, apparently, not attempted.

Nobody forced Pike to spray the kids down. Nobody. Least of all the kids.

@Rob in CT "wildly overblown" is another way of saying: no credible threat! Was there any actual threat to our existence? Absolutely not, not today: http://www.salon.com/2011/11/23/what_endless_war_looks_like/singleton/

and certainly not in 2001: http://contusio-cordis.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-is-fair-and-balanced.html (scroll down to the part on the WoT)

I suspect that Lyndon LaRouche is, somehow, at the heart of this.

Might be. Interestingly enough, it was his organization that showed up at Tea Party rallies with the infamous Obama with Hitler mustache poster...and he claims to be the 'real' voice of the Roosevelt New Deal..."the real Left".

Wheels within wheels. The PLAN unfolds remorselessly.

It's one of probably dozens of possible responses that fall between "do nothing" and "spray non-resistant kids in the face with pepper spray".

You sure know how to rain on people's false-dichotomy parades, russell.

(For the nth time: There are 10 kinds of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.)

Now I get it.

Officer Pike presented the pepper spray canister aloft like a late-night TV pitchman demonstrating the latest aerosol device for dispensing vegetable-based bug spray (Lib-Away?, Hippie Be Gone?) for homelandmakers everywhere because he KNEW that would be Brett's (and Redstate's and FOX's, and the AP's, and every Republican Primary Clown's), cue to blame the demonstrators for luring, I say trapping, law enforcement power into behaving like sh*theads.

In other news, tomorrow is the day that shadowy and nefarious terrorist turkey cells slyly (yes, once again, why do we fall for it every year?) carry out their carefully scripted and malignant plot for fowl genocide by manuevering us into standing over their charred carcasses in home and hallowed places wielding aloft gleaming knives and grandmother's gravy boat.

Mark my words. They have us exactly where they want us, the dirty birds:

11/24 shall live in infamy!

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/11/this_thanksgiving_beware_the_sharia_turkey.php?ref=fpa

Who would like the Pope's, uh ... er, Mohammed's nose?

Shiraz or .... Sharia ...?

I suspect that Lyndon LaRouche is, somehow, at the heart of this.

As one digs more and more deeply into any conspiracy, the probability that one will encounter Lyndon Larouche approaches unity.

"So, while being dismayed by the militarization of the police, I entirely understand that, in this instance, they were caught in a dynamic designed to manufacture this incident."

I don't mean to pile on Brett here.

This relates to my question: Perceived threat of what?
The Youtube I watched was not the walk of shame. i watched the one that starts out with the pepper spraying and moves into a crowd of students, armed with cellphone camersas, walking slowly toward the cops who mill around, look baffled, and withdraw. It's hard to hear but apparenetly the students were chantig something like "There's no violence, go home" to the cops.

The students were not blocking access to anything. They were not occupying space needed by anoyone. They were ignorable.

So some threat was percieved that inspired a call to the police and some threat was percieved that motivated the officers to send the troops out armed for war. What was the threat? Because in order to design a dynamic that would manufacture this incident, the students would have to be deliberately inspiring some sort of threat. What was the threat?

Once the cops got there it looks, based on the Youtube, like the cops themselves could not percieve a threat (except for Pepperstray Cop)and were kind of at a loss.

Oce the whole incident was over the officers decided to manufacture a threat by claiming that the unarmed students who behaved calmly throughout were a threat to the safety of the police officers.

The best I can make out is the perceived threat was a sense of loss of control felt by those a the top of the local hierarchy.

And that kind of threat often provokes a violent response. However that kind of threat is inherent in any attmep to improve the staus quo. It's impossible to move forward with out upsettig those wh are entrenched winners in things as they are. Implicit in the violent response is dismissiveness: how dare the peons speak up!

There's a dynamic there all right, but not one that in any way justifies either the pepperspraying cop or the uiversity official who called them onto the campus.

I saw the video, too. The students were quite clearly forming a human chain *across* a public walkway. Maybe you figure blocking a public sidewalk, or taking over a park, isn't all that big a violation of other people's rights, but they could have formed their human chain along side the sidewalk instead of across it in the first instance. Just as the occupiers could have applied for a parade permit, and left the park each night.

But, no, they decided they were going to violate somebody else's rights to get what they wanted, because people might not listen to them otherwise. Once you've made that leap, why not threaten to key people's cars until you get what you want? Slash their tires? Those are only distinctions of degree, and you've already made the leap across the distinction of kind.

Their decision to violate people's rights to pressure the administration into giving into their demands loses them my sympathy, and makes them fit objects for reasonably proportionate force to halt the rights violation. Of course, these tactics by design make reasonably proportionate force hard to execute. If they'd gone in and individually pried the students out of the human chain, we'd be hearing about broken fingers and sprained joints, instead. The whole point of this exercise is to produce only two options: Give in to the demands, or get bad PR.

But the demands can't be given into, or else everybody starts pulling stuff like this, and sidewalks and parks become unusable. You pay the Danegeld, you're never rid of the Dane. So they put up with it until they can't any longer, and then take the PR hit.

You know, civil disobedience originated in the practice of directly violating an obnoxious law, forcing your public arrest for the violation, with the intent that be bad PR in and of itself because the law actually was obnoxious. Like Ghandi and his pan of sea water, or civil rights protesters eating at the 'wrong' lunch counter. But the supply of laws obnoxious enough for that to work has shrank, and 'civil disobedience has morphed into the practice of violating perfectly defensible laws in a manner which will create bad PR, in order to apply pressure for the satisfaction of completely unrelated demands.

IOW, it's turned into just another form of shakedown.

Those are only distinctions of degree

Cut myself shaving.
Cut my head off.

A distinction of degree.

Maybe you figure blocking a public sidewalk, or taking over a park, isn't all that big a violation of other people's rights

You are quite correct, I figure blocking a sidewalk on a college campus is not that big of a violation of other people's rights.

Here is the mighty, uncrossable line of protestors, violating the rights of the UC Davis community by denying them access to the sidewalk.

Anyone could simply step over them. The idea that their action represents a denial of anyone's "rights" is nutty. By which I mean, an exaggeration to the point of being comical.

A right that can be regained by saying "Excuse me please" and then taking a somewhat larger step is a right that can't really be said to have been lost.

these tactics by design make reasonably proportionate force hard to execute.

Really?

Two cops per kid. Each cop takes an arm. Lift and move.

Done.

IOW, it's turned into just another form of shakedown.

Remind me to take any claims you make of 'shakedown' with a grain of salt.

Two cops per kid. Each cop takes an arm. Kid hangs on with all he's got. Evening news full of reports about college kids with broken fingers and sprained elbows, because they didn't let go of each other peacefully when picked up.

The plan does not involve going peacefully. Pepper spray or violence, they were there until they got what they wanted, or delivered the administration bad PR.

I don't think these kids were in a place where they could effectively impede foot traffic, Brett. If you look at the UC Davis quadrangle (centered at roughly 38 deg 32' 28"N, 121 deg 44' 58"W) the first thing you notice is that there aren't really any major impediments to foot traffic around the sidewalk.

If your claim is that they brought it on themselves by entrapping the police and putting them into a possibly dangerous situation in forcing them to step over the linked students, well, there wasn't much danger evident in any of the videos I've seen.

If all of this back-and-forth is just arguing over whether, messing with the bull, you should get the horns: meh.

Katehi says the police were instructed to use no force, and I'm inclined to believe her unless there's evidence to the contrary. She's not a stupid woman.

DrNescio,

Dude(ette?), I was just quibbling. I wasn't really disagreeing with you. There was a threat, but a fairly minor one. We completely freaked out, overreacted, and will be paying the price for some time.

See? I was right.

A right that can be regained by saying "Excuse me please" and then taking a somewhat larger step is a right that can't really be said to have been lost.

Careful, Brett believes that not being permitted to own a particular model of firearm or particular ammunition means you've lost your Second Amendment rights. So i have little doubt he genuinely believes that being required to temporarily take three steps to the left means one has lost some unspecified right. No word yet on whether he believes not owning a radio station means you've lost your First Amendment rights, but I'm taking bets if anyone wants odds.

But the supply of laws obnoxious enough for that to work has shrank

But, but, but....I was led to believe the supply of crappy laws was well nigh inexhaustible given the proclivity of government, any government, for geometric growth and pure unmitigated evil.

So one can only conclude "they" (you know who they are) have indeed devised insidious new types laws to thwart the dastardly strategy of civil disobedience.

Wheels within wheels.

I am,I guess, not on the side of the angels here. I was in a few protests in my younger days, none of them terribly violent, not a single one had NO possibility of a violent reaction.

A little pepper spray to make the possibility less before

"Two cops per kid. Each cop takes an arm. Lift and move.

Done."

seems like a minor cost of making a point for the protestors. How people will react to cops picking them up and carrying them off is, in my experience, individual and unpredictable.

On a different note, what the heck does UCD have to do with Wall Street?

I am,I guess, not on the side of the angels here.

You guessed correctly.

There's a great video tonight on MSN.com recording an octopus emerging from a tidal pool, taking a liesurely stroll on land among the sea wrack, and returning to the water with commentary from what sounds like a couple of families doing the recording.

I would link in my usual inadequate way, but I couldn't figure it out.

The headline reads "Octopus Caught Walking On Land", which got me to thinking that Officer Pike, had he showed up nonchalantly spraying spicy vegetable product one way while casting his eyes off into the middle distance the other, would have definitely "caught" that octopus in his line of fire and later pointed out that there is ... nothing in the Constitution.

I understand Officer Pike is going to be Joe the Plumber's running mate for the Presidency in 2016 when stupid meets the smart motherf*ckers in China.

CCDG, I realize you are channelling Dobie rather than Maynard, but at some point, a protest is a protest. I thought I was going to catch some flak for taking the title from the Stealers Wheel song, so it's a bit of a surprise to have you suggest that even such a mild link as the one made in this post is too much for you to grok. I would certainly admit that there is not a straight line to link the two protests, but surely, some connection can be drawn between students protesting rising tuition and other groups protesting constant profits for banks in the face of worsening economic conditions?

At any rate, again via Edge of the American West, there is this excellent piece in the London Review of Books by David Simpson, faculty at UC Davis.

There are so many creative ways ro drive protesters away without bad PR pictures. A big fan (only in winter), a bit of skunk extract on the ground (smell TV is not common yet) etc.
Even announcing the use of the spray in advance would have looked better. It's not just about excessive means but also about simple incompetence.

Willfully malicious incompetence. So bad, in fact, it could only have been planned.

wheels....turkees to the left of me, turkees to the right...

seems like a minor cost of making a point for the protestors.

How does spraying somebody in the face with pepper spray make them less likely to respond badly to being physically moved?

The 'minor cost' that the UC Davis administration and the campus police are paying here is the total loss of their credibility.

So, an own goal.

I guess I have another comment here in response to CCDG's thoughts.

IMVHO one of the priorities of police officers should be to *avoid* turning peaceful situations into non-peaceful ones.

Among other things, that means *not* introducing violence into a situation that is not already violent.

Especially when the 'situation' is a group of people meeting specifically to engage in an act of political speech -- peaceably assembling.

Nobody at UC Davis was rioting, damaging property, threatening anyone in any way. They were sitting on the ground.

The use of pepper spray in that context was, IMO, obscenely wrong.

Tools like pepper spray are supposed to be used in extreme circumstances to help protect property and life. There was no threat to either property or life at UC Davis.

At best, pepper spray was used there to make the cops' job slightly more convenient. At worst, it was an act of gratuitous bullying.

Either of those rationales are freaking wrong, because using pepper spray exposes the sprayee, at a minimum, to extreme physical distress, and in fact presents a more than trivial risk of real physical harm, including the possibility of death.

The use of pepper spray at UC Davis was stupid, lazy, incompetent police work. It will likely cost a number of folks their jobs, and it should.

First, it was announced that they would be forcibly removed if they didnt leave. They then made the choice for that to be the outtcome.

Second, pepper spraying them reduced everyones risk of violence, including the highlight reel of the one guy that decided to fight back that had three or four cops restraining him.

Choices have consequences, the cop chose the way that reduced the likelihood of one outcome, and suffered the other.

Having seen what an escalating "peaceful protest" looks like, I am not as confident in the protestors unanimous dedication to peacably being carried away.

As another point of reference, there is a email circulating in the Boston area encouraging people to join the "occupy the highway" protest. Again, how this relates to any of the initial or even secondary goals of OWS escapes me. I suspect that, if they manaage to shutdown 93 through Boston at rush hour, there will also be unintended consequences. And a lot of unsympathetic 99%er's.

Having seen what an escalating "peaceful protest" looks like, I am not as confident in the protestors unanimous dedication to peacably being carried away.

...because pepper spraying them couldn't possibly have encouraged escalation. As proven by your cited "highlight reel".

Gratuitous pepper spraying is about laziness, bully's logic, and a choice to use more force than necessary to reduce a marginal risk. Your claim that it would reduce the possibility of escalation is fascinating, given, again, that by your own admission it resulted in escalation. It did not reduce the risk of escalation. It just ensured that if/when escalation did happen, the police would have an even larger upper hand against the peaceful protesters than they already did.

Also: I find it troubling that you claim that a certain and deliberate act of violence somehow "reduce[d] everyones [sic] risk of violence". Pepper spraying was, as pointed out above, the introduction of violence to a non-violent situation. I find it telling that when discussing everyone's risk of violence, state violence somehow doesn't count...

First, it was announced that they would be forcibly removed if they didnt leave. They then made the choice for that to be the outtcome.

Forcible removal doesn't require pepper spray.

Second, pepper spraying them reduced everyones risk of violence

Being sprayed with pepper spray *is* an act of violence.

So, your argument is that it reduced the risk of violence to everyone other than the folks who were sprayed.

With all due respect to your personal experience from 40 years ago, it's hard for me to look at the video *of the actual situation we're talking about* and see a threat that required anything remotely like the use of pepper spray.

Oops, misunderstood. Glad we agree ;-) As to the use of WMD on non-violent dissenters:

How dangerous is pepper spray?: http://t.co/TRbmR8Ov (Dutch studies show that pepper spray helped to subdue aggressive suspects, but when it was used against those who were already peaceful – like the students at UC Davis – it made them aggressive. If the Dutch findings are right, police officers wading into a peaceful protest and spraying people are more likely to cause violence than to stop it; use of pepper spray in these kinds of situations isn't just excessive and unfair, but also stupid.)

Pepper spray and cocaine, a little known lethal combination: http://t.co/q4odbhlI

CCDG, has anyone actually proposed shutting down a highway during rush hour? I'm constantly seeing people worrying about various Occupy groups planning to disrupt commutes -- most recently it was a supposed plan to shut down the Key Bridge here in DC -- but they generally turn out to be panics based on some misunderstanding combined with right-wing stereotypes of Occupiers. The Key Bridge protest was about infrastructure spending and was confined to the sidewalk and adjacent park. There was zero attempt to disrupt traffic, and the protest was over before rush hour really got started anyway. The only "Occupy the Highway" I'm aware of was a march from NYC to DC, not a highway-blocking protest.

Kc,

I am not sure but the person that was talking to me about it was definitely not a right winger. I admit I did not see the email. But it would not be the first attempt to disrupt traffic in Boston. Just seemed counterproductive.

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Whatnot


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