Friday, September 21, 2007

Tasering of a University Student

Andrew Meyers seemed overzealous, enthusiastic and passionate about asking a question of a U.S. Senator. His agressive posturing at the question booth may have alarmed some security detail accompanying Senator Kerry, even if question period was over, and he really wanted in there. However, these two facts do not justify the tactless use of force with a stun gun. The free expression and exchange of ideas was haulted at University of Florida, Gainesville when Kerry by his inaction legitimized the use of violence. His voice sounded like a man transfixed and amazed at what transpired.

Now, the use of force by the police is not justified in the sense that through his passion to ask why did Kerry concede the 2004 Election he neglected to have a cooperative voice with the police officers. He only saw them taking him away, and the fact that he did nothing wrong as he emphatically states reinforces the stupidity of the police officers who have been suspended on administrative leave pending a ruling of an independent commission of some type or other. These officers should have had more capacity to calm him down. Perhaps, Kerry could have intervened with the microphone and informed the officers he felt in no real danger from a passionate youth upset at the results of the Bush reelection.

Universities are calm places where the pursuit of learning and growth of individuals is encouraged without hindrance of external forces. Any time violence is used on campuses anywhere the immediate intuition is why must that have to occur. Universities are sacred for their respite from the "real world". They are like secular churches and parents across the country entrust the safety of their young adult children to the forces that govern these institutions. If these forces violate the trust given to them, they must be held accountable for the transgression of violating trust, and here the transgression is in using violence to calm Meyers, the effect ripples throughout all universities where we empathize a great deal with what Meyers experienced.

Perhaps, it resonates on another abstract level for me since I knew people personally at Kent State. A best friend, and best-man to my wedding and wife both attended Kent State. Several professors at my school went to Kent State as well. Every May on the campus of Kent State there is a serious mentality of never-again, and public commemoration to continually remind a nation of the wrongness of violence against a citizenry at large, especially on a campus.

Violence is a breaking of order and peace. Order and peace are needed for any campus to support its mission as a learning environment. In addition, we must also ask what happens to political interrogation of public officials if the quaint procedures of discourse are not adhered to? Should we always abide by the time they give us, the public, (which is not long ever really) or should we make a serious inquiry of them when we really feel they must answer for what they have done?