Identity of Authority

This story has made its way around the Internet quickly:

UCLA cops tasered a student who refused to show ID in Powell Library. They threatened nearby students with tasering if they interfered. A student captured video of the assault with a cameraphone.

The video is here, and the main point is ably addressed by a commentor:

This is the problem with tazers. Since they’re ‘non-lethal’ cops will use them when violence isn’t necessary.

And this is far from the first time there’ve been problems with overenthusiastic use of tazers. But the comment thread is nearly as startling as the incident itself, with many, many of the comments expressing enthusiasm for the student’s being tazered:

 

iwatkins

Camera work by Michael J. Fox

The kid was being a dick no doubt. That said, hey should have just drug him out, not taze him. I usually enjoy seeing a good tazing on a jackass, but this we excessive.

 

jonhagop

What a LOSER! ahahha. Why did he just not do what the cops asked. He keeps whining like a little baby, OMG! What a toolbox. Shut up and do what they say.

 

julesenheimer

This is possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. That’s not police brutality, it’s brutality against the police. They shouldn’t have to put up with dumbshits like that. It seemed like a pretty simple request, “stand up”.Hell I’m in a wheelchair half the time and if a cop says to me “stand up” repeatedly, I’m gonna stand the fuck up. Not scream like a girl. After six minutes he still didn’t stand up. He didn’t seem deaf? Maybe just stupid?

 

 

symonwill

“I have a medical condition!” Hahaha, so good. Damn that was funny. If you don’t wanna get tasered, then don’t a dick to the police. They’re just doing their job.

 

 

trappednAZ

if you don’t cooperate you get tazed. it’s very simple to understand.

 

Then there’s this:

 

deeds1 (1 hour ago)

Just shut the hell up and stand up you fool. Dumbass..Just think if Rodney would have listened.

 

 

 

plusbryan (35 minutes ago)

yeah man, great analogy. did it look to you like Rodney had a chance to listen?

 

 

 

ddeeds1 (8 minutes ago)

Yeah man…Just think if Rodney would have not been doing illegal acts of crime and just stayed in his car like most people do when being pulled over by the cops and keeping you stupid mouth shut and just listen unlike that UCLA dumbass student…

And this:

 

 

aquanutz (5 hours ago)

While I don’t see it right for him to be shocked like that, why didn’t he leave when he could not prove that he was a student of the Univ? He had to sit their and be a smartass. I believe he was techincally trespassing for not showing proper ID and being asked to leave and refusing to do so and I can see myself (If I were a police office) shocking him once if he did not follow orders to leave.

 

 

 

eustatic (4 hours ago)

you would encourage violence and humiliation solely for the sake of “efficient” bureaucratic functioning?

you are a fool to think that sitting in a library is a tazerable offense. There are so many other ways to reprimand a student who refuses to show ID.

The officers are both cruel and are cowards for not calling him in, or picking him up and taking him away. take these barbarous toys away from them.

 

 

 

aquanutz (4 hours ago)

Right. Sometimes people need to learn the hard way that they need to grow up and they can not do what they want when they feel like it. The kid was being a jackass and got punished for it.

I do agree that they should have just carried him out and like I said above, I don’t think it was right for them to do so, still, that doesn’t mean the little shit didn’t deserve it.

 

 

You are the fool if you think every situation needs to be handled with kid-gloves.

 

zorak8me (25 minutes ago)

He was on his way out. He was doing what they told him to do, just not quickly enough. Typical police bullshit.

 

 

aquanutz (11 minutes ago)

Even so, he should have left before the police got there. It’s a policy they have for the safety of the students and obviously this kid is unstable and can’t handle authority very well at all. [emphasis added]

This is a problem, even beyond the specific problem of severe over-use of tazers. An identity has emerged in this country – nurtured by many mainstream political leaders and commentators – that values, seemingly above all else, obeisance of everyone else to authority. It assumes that in any situation where authority is being questioned, the guilt of the questioning party; assumes, as a first principle, the impossibility of abuse of authority.

if you don’t cooperate you get tazed. it’s very simple to understand.

For adherents to this line of thinking, it is indeed very simple to understand. For the rest of us, it gets rather more complicated – “fuck the police” is not a coherent political philosophy, and doesn’t do much to advance a non-authoritarian line of thinking. It’s a sad state that we’ve arrived at that it’s necessary to re-formulate new ways of saying that citizens ought not be publicly tortured for refusal to show a photo ID in a library, but there you have it.

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One Response to Identity of Authority

  1. Mark says:

    I think some of those comments are reflective of people posting to a discussion thread without really thinking about the situation first. I would like to think that a lot of the same people endorsing the tasering would not be quite so enthusiastic about it if they were in the room and experienced the situation firsthand. This is without even getting into whether or not any of them are intentionally trolling.

    On the other hand, perhaps I am just blinded by my own idealism and faith that most people have a limit on how much authority they will accept.

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