Normally, I save my outrage over events in the world at large to fuel large yard work projects, house work projects and the like. But this time, its different. This time, the event hit close to home. Some of you might be aware of the campus police brutality directed against students and faculty at UC Berkeley a few weeks ago. And more recently, the campus police pepper spraying students and faculty peacefully demonstrating on the UC Davis campus.
Both of my boys attend UC Davis. Neither of them were near the
demonstration. But as I watched the many different videos of riot-gear attired
officers arriving like an invading army on campus with batons, pepper
spray and what looked like paintball guns, I was appalled. And then when
I saw the officer deliberately step over students seated on the ground,
so he could be sure to pepper spray them in the face, I was down-right,
mother bear, outraged. He used that can of pepper spray like someone
using RAID to kill roaches. I was appalled, dismayed, shocked, angered,
riled up and betrayed.
Why betrayed? Because a year and a half ago, I sat in front in a
room full of other parents and we heard campus police Chief Annette
Spicuzza tell us how much she liked the student body, her job, and how
she and her staff work to keep the students, our children, safe.
Likewise Chancellor Katehi's Cabinet member who addressed us as well.
Apparently, that protection is only extended to students who behave, and
leave when told to do so. Those who continue to heed their convictions
and stay are treated like pests.
As a mother to 2 boys, rowdy raucous physical boys, I strove to
instill in them the understanding that use of force to get one's way is
simply wrong. Might does not make right. Physical or verbal aggression
to achieve one's end or extract revenge is wrong. (I admit, there can be
extenuating circumstances where force is necessary). As I watched the
actions of the police officers, it was all wrong wrong wrong.
And I tried to teach them about having and using a moral compass.
To understand that the one person they have control over is,
themselves. That sometimes doing the right thing is definitely harder.
To think about the results of their actions. And then be responsible for
What I saw in those videos was, at least according to my
standards, my moral compass, it was wrong. It was wrong to send those
officers, dressed like that, with those weapons, to disperse that crowd
of peaceful demonstrators. And I am angry and sad. Here is a link to some of the videos. Take care if you decide to watch, they upset me, they might do the same to you. Thanks for listening