So, they tased a student at a University of Florida political Campus Forum. What were they thinking?! I first think of poor old Hubert Humphrey who lost his chance (and a pretty good chance at that) for the presidency, because outside of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Chicago’s finest were beating the snot out of anti-war protesters on LIVE TV! Hard to concentrate on speeches and posturing when young people are being beaten with sticks. I’m sure fellow Democrats were grateful to Mayor Richard Daley for preserving the peace, and sinking the party’s presidential aspirations.
Meanwhile, John Kerry, like old Hubert, in the special spirit of Homeland Security, has more help than he can stand. It is impossible for him not to be painted by this incident, even though he had no power to change its course.
The police are saying the videos paint a false picture and that the student was much more disruptive than it appears, but come on people, this was a Campus Forum, you should expect some confrontation. If it was at a meeting of the League of Women Voters, or the Rotary Club, maybe, but Universities have always been the seat of political challenge. If a politician doesn’t want to be called to account, maybe even rudely (though I don’t think that ever furthers one’s goals), he should talk to the Kiwanis, and the police should behave accordingly.
We had a generation of Police who were raised during the “War at Home” protests during the Vietnam War. Before entering law enforcement, these young people saw their peers, and sometimes experienced for themselves, inappropriate responses of law enforcement. When they became the Law, they tended to have a measured response. Now a new generation of law enforcement, without this experience, is coming into its own. This is particularly unfortunate in light of the Homeland Security trends. We once again hear that old chestnut, “they have nothing to fear if they aren’t doing anything wrong.” Well, we’ll see. For myself, I might invest in a pair of insulated, rubber, long johns, the video makes tasers sound like they hurt.