The Splinter in Your Eye
Claire Potter on the Fountain Avenue incident at Wesleyan last week:†
Allowing for the fact that students were drunk and undoubtedly overreacted because of that—that the police showed up with dogs, tasers and pepper spray in the first place is outrageous. Tasers are sometimes a lethal weapon, not a harmless crowd-control device. Pepper spray, if it gets in the eyes, can cause permanent damage. To be attacked and bitten by a dog is a terrifying and possibly life-changing experience. At its worst, the party was a noise nuisance: students were not trying to interfere with a function of government, nor were they doing anything more harmful than being a pain in the ass to some of their neighbors. Students did not deserve riot control tactics typical of Birmingham in the 1960s or the West Bank for acting as kids do when they are confronted by authority. While I wish our students had simply been compliant and not escalated the confrontation, not being deferential to unreasoning, violent authority should not make anyone—Wesleyan students or Middletwon [sic] citizens—subject to assault and battery by the police.
Well said. President Michael Roth issued a statement yesterday.
† Via Wesleying.