Saturday, November 19, 2011

I told you so

Last month I wrote:

The left has this habit of trying to get arrested, then looking at the arrests as a noble sacrifice and proof that the police are thugs. That doesn't mean that police never brutalize protesters, of course, but the protesters aren't always the victims they claim to be.
Yesterday at U.C. Davis trespassing protesters dug themselves in so police couldn't pull them apart and were told they would be pepper sprayed if they didn't disperse. You can guess what happened next.

Now left is are up in arms about police brutality, excessive force and freedom of speech - concepts they clearly don't understand. If you break the law and dare the police to enforce it, they will enforce it. It is an automated response, like pressing a button.

Non-gifted Associate Professor of English Nathan Brown penned a rambling letter calling for the university chancellor to resign for calling the police to remove the tresspassers. He offers this
The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly.
Here's my open letter to Nathan Brown:
Sir, you do not understand freedom of speech. With some narrow exceptions, the content of speech can not be censored. There are, however, limitations on time and place speech can be expressed as long as they are content-neutral. One can not hold a protest that blocks the lanes of an interstate highway, for example.

It doesn't matter if the protesters were non-violent, they were illegally "occupying" space they were not allowed to be. They linked their bodies in a way that made it impossible for the police to pull them apart without using something like pepper spray.

If the police catch me robbing a bank while singing "Born to Run," the police are not suppressing Bruce Springsteen music. Likewise, when people - students, kids, veterans or whatever kind of people they are - illegally trespass, it doesn't matter to the police why they are doing it. The police will use force before they'll tolerate law breaking.

And you knew this. Next time you feel like organizing a protest where participants break the law and dare the police to pepper spray them, I expect to see you on the front line.

This is a bait-and-switch routine. The protesters break a law and act as if the police are after them for their beliefs. Anyone who believes this narrative is a sucker.


  1. I find it amazing that you somehow have not seen videos like this:

  2. Also, I don't see what stopped the police from pulling these students apart without the pepper spray. They didn't suddenly let go of their arm-locks because they couldn't see - they let go when the police got physically involved. And the physical involvement was minimal and didn't require anything in the way of violence, at that.

  3. I'm not sure how long they had been warned before the spraying began, but there was almost a minute between the last interchange and the spraying. Ample time to have said, "alright, we made our point, let's stop blocking this public way".

    That's enough time to get up, dust yourself off, send a few text messages, check your email and possible change you facebook status.

    With your other video, and I saw an interview with one of the protestors from that incident on CNN recently, the students before that had backed those officers into a corner. The protestor interviewed said she was afraid when it got to that point and backed away. It's obviously dangerous for everyone involved to corner police. If a mob did that to any private citizen, they would have probable cause to use deadly force in all 50 states and DC.

    What amuses me most is that with all the people on the left who seem to have experience with pepper spray, none of them seem to know that closing your eyes doesn't help and that the best way to make it go away is to keep your eyes open so it can evaporate.

    And conservative Michael came out and said that there are cases of police brutality, but neither one of these cases are examples to be sure.

    One other thing Liberal Michael, pepper spray isn't really used to make them "suddenly let go", what is is good for is either placing the resister at a disadvantage and/or lessening their resolve. This was an excellent use of the spray.

  4. Michael, since you asked. This is from today's CBS new article on the incident:

    >>>Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.

    "When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them."

    After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of "active resistance" from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.<<<

    As for the other video you mention. It's entirely possible that was excessive force. It looks bad for the police. I also have to question if the police were surrounded and backed against a wall, what words were exchanged before the video starts (the police officer had his face shield up to talk first) and why the video is cut before it starts. This could be a Boston Massacre-like situation.

    As I said before, and in the quote in the start of this post, police brutality does happen. However, my post was not about the incident you linked. It is about the one at U.C. Davis and that one perfectly fits the forced martyrdom template.

  5. Legally, the police did nothing wrong, and didn't do anything they weren't expected to do. But that doesn't mean that the protesters have nothing to complain about. Mungowitz's case is about how the blame doesn't belong with the police but the policy makers. I don't think that case would change if the 10 year old girl knew that selling lemonade without permits was illegal.

    The protesters, however I may disagree with them, are the victim of a bad policy. A policy that encourages an officer to use force on a person or persons that are causing a mild inconvenience and threatening no harm.

    Now, we can disagree on what the appropriate uses of force by police are, but ultimately it is a value judgment. Even the lefty professor lists the problem as being with the administration's orders to the officers, not the officers themselves. What he's saying is he doesn't believe authorizing that force on that crowd is moral, and I am inclined to agree with him.

  6. First, I'd like to point out that I fully support the Occupy movement (at least, those united under a definite cause; there's a branch of the movement on my college campus that nobody takes seriously because there's people yelling about animal rights, the green movement, anarchy, AND more regulation in the economy). But when Occupiers place themselves on the wrong side of the law, and, in this case, they knew very well that they were trespassing, they no longer get to pretend to be the victims when they resist the police and the police react accordingly.

    This is certainly not to say that there haven't been inexcusable cases of police brutality during this protest, however.

  7. AND more regulation in the economy? Hear I have been thinking that part of the idea here was the government has been co-opted by business interests. You want the government to get more involved?

    You lost me somewhere in the middle.

  8. This is not a disgrace of our police system. It's a publicity stunt by OWS.

  9. In seeing 2011 review articles, I got thinking about this again. You ought to be ashamed of your awful position on this, Michael.

    This officer used excessive force on unarmed, peaceful protestors. They posed no danger and dosing them with an abundance of pepper spray served no purpose. Furthermore, you've committed a logical fallacy by blaming the victims here. That is, you have tried to distract from the actions of the offending office by creating a red herring about the motivations of the victims.

    In regards to the Baltimore chief's opinion, courts have found that the use of pepper spray on peaceful protestors to be excessive uses of force at times (Lundberg v. County of Humboldt). UC Davis is fits the bill given the massive dose the officer sprayed.

    It's obvious that despite what some guy in Baltimore was willing to say for FOX Noise and co excessive force was used. The officer was out of line; he achieved nothing and only caused an immediate uproar. With the hundreds of witnesses surrounding him, he could very well have incited a small riot. He should thank his stars he was on a college campus with well educated students and not out in the streets with the masses (as were the riot-inciting Oakland police officers).

  10. Michael H, I haven't changed my opinion on this issue one bit. Tell me, what would you have had the police do?

  11. I want to know where he gets the idea that those college students are well educated. It certainly doesn't follow automatically that they are. What is likely is they retarded the education of those students who were made late for class by their pointless spectacle.

  12. They should have just waited until the students dispersed on their own, even if it took days.

  13. So you're saying we should start a new world, where protesters can hold themselves hostage and game the system to have their way. You're failing to distinguish between force and violence on the part of the police.

    Next thing you know, they're using the tactic inside the hall where the GOP tries to hold its national convention. This doesn't harm you, until Richard Dawkins is supposed to be a guest lecturer at your college and creationists encircle the stage. What do you do then?

  14. The police instigate violence when they abuse people in entirely unnecessary ways. That's what they did early on in New York, it's all they ever did in Oakland, and it's what they did at UC Davis. Pepper spraying students sitting on a walkway served no purpose. What stopped anyone from walking around them?

    At any rate, it appears to be consensus that this officer acted inappropriately, bar one conservative police chief in Baltimore and the people at FOX.