Pepper Spray, that’s what I’ve been obsessing about over the weekend. If you have not yet seen the video, you must watch the entire video of University of California, Davis police officers spraying pepper spray on PEACEFUL student protesters like they are cockroaches. (SEE VIDEO HERE) I also encourage everyone to visit the Davis Faculty Association website to get the details on the protest. You see, in a prior protest the university struck out violently against students and faculty members. So part of the current protest (which was organized in part by faculty) was to protest the prior violence. How does the university administration respond? WITH VIOLENCE! Of course, that’s exactly what they should do.
Now understand and appreciate the dynamic of a college campus. A campus is a universe unto itself. A closed world. A bubble. Kids sitting in the middle of a campus are not interrupting commerce or impeding the flow of traffic….they were sitting passively in “The Quad”, a place that was designed for pedestrian, student gathering. They were not interrupting classrooms, they were not Occupying the administration offices, no they were engaging in a peaceful protest in their town square. Please read this description of the protest and the response here.
The point of describing exactly where and why this protest occurred is to demonstrate just how extreme and outrageous the conduct of the police officers was. When our founding forefathers laid down the rules that this nation would be governed by remember that the most important protection they provided was the right to engage in exactly the kind of speech and protest that these students were engaging in. The entire world, and especially every single person in this country needs to take a good hard look at the entirety of the facts and circumstances surrounding the UC Davis pepper spray incident and understand that this was a turning point, a watershed moment in American history.
True, UC Davis was not quite Kent State….yet. But wait, because when they’re willing to do what they did to these kids, on a college campus, the powers in control are just a hair trigger away from firing directly on civilians….and then all hell is gonna break loose.
And the real scary thing about all this is 90% of the people who are protesting and 99% of the people who are watching have no idea just how bad things really are.
An attorney colleague recently called me, it seems her son’s paycheck had just been hit with a garnishment. She was dumbfounded because he had never been served with any lawsuit, he had never received any notice that his wages were subject to forced, involuntary seizure. Likewise, I was certain that this was some mistake. Surely, a person’s property cannot just be seized with no court proceeding, no order of court, no notice or legal taking. But we all need to learn that this is happening….all across America. Just Google Administrative Wage Garnishment. It describes a process where the subcontractors working for the federal government can seize a citizen’s wages, with no formal notice and without any order of a court. And in typical White Collar Criminal Oligarchy fashion, the corporations that are suing and taking this extreme action are extracting outsized portions of the money seized.
Overall cost of college education has dramatically increased during the same time period that the subprime bubble expanded and likewise, total outstanding student debt has exploded. And the very same viperous factors are at play….professors are not making more, the fundamental costs of the education have not increased, what happened is the Wall Street vipers sunk their fangs into the paychecks and future profit streams of millions of the best and brightest our nation has to offer. And if they don’t give it up willingly, the vipers will take it by force.
But what’s most damming is that rather than investing the unlimited equity and extraordinary resources this country possesses into building a future and an economy and an infrastructure that would give these college kids the jobs they need to pay back their debts, the vipers and the corporations and the titans diverted it all, shipped it all offshore, gutted the middle class, trashed our industrial infrastructure and they have the audacity to look down from above, snearing and snorting and dismissing,
Get a job you lazy college punk.
That’s what they say. These people are so out of touch. Both sides frankly. Because if the college kids knew just how bad the world they’re walking into really is, if they knew just how badly they were getting screwed right now, they’d be a lot more pissed and there would be a lot more of them.
And if the snearing arrogants knew just how dangerous and explosive the world they’ve created has become, they’d be a lot less arrogant and a lot more fearful.
I thought of that recently as a sat across a conference table. It was one of those big glass and chrome conference rooms in a tall building lawyer’s office. Expansive and gorgeous views of the cityscape. The table was long and sleek and imposing. It was all so impeccable and imposing. On one side I sat with my client, a laborer. I told him to dress how he normally dresses and he did. A common man with work boots on and tattoos up and down his arms.
The attorneys for the other side came in…all six of them. Everyone a variation of the same corporate uniform. And they did their job. They laid into this guy in the way they can in their space, on their playing field. As they were drilling into this guy and he looked over at me I realized….they had no idea what a dangerous game they were playing. They were safe to drill into this guy in this space, but if any one of them met this guy anywhere else, things would turn ugly and dangerous and violent instantly. But these guys had utterly and completely lost the perception and recognition of real fear.
And that’s what’s happened across this entire country that is now one great big divide. Us versus Them. The have taken and the have lost.
And it’s too late for them to put the pieces back before it all gets mad and ugly.
Yet they’ve lost the ability to sense the danger they’ve created.