November 21, 2011

Warning - Rant Below

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 those results.

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


  1. I share your anger. I've seen this video so many times, and each time my stomach still turns while I watch the designated protector of our kids treating them, as you so aptly pointed out, like cockroaches. I am SO proud of those students for not reacting under such hideous and inhumane treatment. I can't honestly say I have the strength to have done that given the situation.

    What kind of person could do such a thing? Does he have a wife and a family of his own? How must he treat them? Or his pets? I shudder to think. It is something I would have expected to see happening in China, or perhaps the middle east. So much for our evolved democracy.

    No, I'm not a mom of one of those students, but I feel like they belong to all of us, because they are our future. I can only hope that as a result of this attack, their moral fibers grown even stronger and they go on to make more changes that will prevent things like this from happening in the future...because if our future is left to the people who were behind those spray cans, it's a pretty grim picture.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Taos. Like you, I don't think I would have behaved as well as those students. But maybe that's because we're mothers. It changes us.