Saturday, November 18, 2006

More police state action from Southern California law enforcement.

Just a couple of weeks ago, there was another Rodney King-type video of LA police on top of a guy who was laying on the pavement, and the police were whacking his head repeatedly on the ground. Now, we have this video from the Powell Library on the campus of UCLA. The campus police or someone associated with the university came into the library and picked out a student of Iranian descent who was just sitting there at his computer, finishing up his assignment. They demanded that he produce his student I.D. He refused, asking the police to go check a bunch of the white students I.D. as well. The situation quickly degraded into a full-fledged incident where the student was tasered three different times. At no time was he actively resisting the three or four policemen. At most, he just went limp and refused to move, at which point they tasered him again. When other students demanded the policemen’s badge numbers, they were also threatened with the taser.

These things are no joke. It is not just some harmless toy. There have been something like 130 deaths in the U.S. and Canada that have been attributed to the person getting hit with the full effect of a taser. It may not be “lethal force”, but it is close. It is not a joke.

Since when do police have the authority to come into any establishment where there is no incident currently taking place, instigate one on their own by picking out some guy “randomly”, and end up taking such extreme actions when the person, at no time, was violently resisting them? What is this? Has our society gone so far down the road toward fascism and video game violence that people in authority think this is in any way acceptable behavior? And we have some defending their actions? AT THE MOST, the police should have cuffed the guy, if they thought there was reason (and I would argue that not producing a student I.D. while sitting quietly at a computer in a library hardly constitutes a reason to use force), and taken him out of the building. Where do they get off on such violent action?

First off, the guy has retained a very high profile lawyer and plans to sue the hell out of someone. Good for him. If UCLA is smart, they will disavow any connection with this incident, make a public statement condemning the police in no uncertain terms, and fire all the people involved. I hope the guy wins big.

But I always worry about the larger issues when something that seems like an isolated event happens. What does this really say about our society? Where are we going? Before the elections two weeks ago, I was very worried that the future might include a bunch of brown shirts going around and rounding up liberals and gays (the new Jews and gypsies), and sending them off to camps somewhere. Now, it seems like most of the country has repudiated strong-armed tactics out of our government. However, there is a very large percentage of the population of this country that would willing participate in such a round up and deportation. I am convinced of that. Mike Savage, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would be, out front, leading the cheerleading.

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