Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flashpoint: UC Davis

Fascinating chain of events starting on Friday when a police officer blanketed a row of sitting protesters on the University of California Davis campus with military-grade pepper spray. This video has now been viewed over a million times -- the spraying is near the start:

It's not quite Kent State -- no students were shot to death -- but appalling in its own right. These were peaceful protesters, not throwing rocks or threatening anybody, and the now famous Officer John Pike chose to douse them like roaches. No doubt the students who endured this silently are heroes to their classmates now.

Even move compelling is this video from later the next night, when the Chancellor who is responsible for putting the police on this, Linda Katehi, does what is essentially a perp walk past silent students. She had been in the administrative building for a meeting, this after various faculty called for her resignation, and evidently claimed the students outside were preventing her from leaving. In response, the organizers promised her safe passage and, as you can see in this video, called upon the protesting students for peace:

The walk of shame. Katehi has put out a statement today that's rather different from the day before, acknowledging what she's learned of the atrocious police action and promising some sort of change.

I wonder if she'll be able to keep her job, but it will only be by showing total growth and bending to the will of the people. If so, I believe she may become a model for others.

If not, she stands condemned with the 1% and their enablers.

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