I feel like I've been living under a rock because I haven't heard of the "Occupy Berkeley protests" until today, even though they started a week ago. It's only come to my attention because someone brought a gun to campus and was shot by cops yesterday (more on that later).
I sometimes wonder how I'd turn out if I had been a Cal student. It would have taken me away from my family and TN, and thrown me into a den of liberal lions. I don't have a problem with liberals, it's just... when you're in a community where everyone all comes from the same political background, there's too much group-think and not enough truth searching. I dislike hardcore conservatives as much as the super hippie. I see myself as a moderate, but I guess my views here are more on the conservative side.
Okay here's a quick summary if you haven't followed any of these news. Cal students are emulating the "Occupy X" movements. The school told them they are allowed to peacefully protest, but they are setting up tent camps on school property. I don't know all the details, but I assume the students were given some sort of deadline to get out. So cops come, and students form a human barrier. Cops start jabbing them with batons and hurl some kids to the ground.
The cops had every legal right to push people back. But I wouldn't have used batons, just use tear gas. Tear gassing is less barbaric than batons. The ironic thing is that I think tear gas might have caused more medical bills than mere baton jabbing (respiratory problems and such). Still, students should be happy that the school is saving money by not using tear gas, but mere sticks. The Occupy Cal movement is a success ! Oh Hoh! ... I'm just joking, I'm not that heartless. But those people that called this a "brutal beatdown" are kidding themselves. Sometimes Andrew and I jab each other just as hard. I don't condone force or violence, but these kids need to stop whining. These need to see some videos of the Tiananmen Square protests. In this documentary, some people were gunned down in the open. The people were bleeding to death, and one brave ambulance comes into no man's land, trying to save some people. Guess what, the soldiers shot the medics too. That ... is brutal. To to sum up how I feel: the kids were the breaking the law, they already had the right to freedom of speech, but not freedom of invading private property. The cops, while having the legal right to push people back, were not morally right. You shouldn't use force on someone peacefully resisting. That's why I say use the damn tear gas.
And then yesterday, the Cal UCPD shot and killed a student. Man talk about adding fuel to the fire. I remember UCLA students HATED on the police when they tazed a student repeatedly. So with this incident, alot of people are super angry... even though the guy brought a loaded gun to school. Looking at his personal story and his actions that day, it's pretty obvious that this was suicide by cop. He wanted to die. He showed the gun to a student, who called cops. When cops came, he pointed the gun straight at them. The only reason cops didn't shoot right away was because of students behind the guy would get hit. So cops told him to drop the gun, he didn't, and when one cop had an open shot he took it. The guy didn't fire once, so it probably is a pseudo suicide. But the cops that arrived on the scene didn't know this. All they knew was that there was someone pointing a gun at them. Some people just do what they can to demonize police. But I'd like to think that cops are good people. It's not fair to call police pigs, dicks, etc. There are always bad apples that make the whole bunch seem bad. Honestly, how many dicks are there in a typical office? Tons. Cops are just like us: some are dicks not because they are cops, but because a certain percentage of society are dicks.
Anyway... in other news... UCLA students are following suit and setting up tents at Wilson Plaza, although our campus is hardly known for being political. If anything, they just can't afford rent in Westwood anymore.
Click here for the link to the Daily Bruin live updates. It has a chance of getting interesting:
The crowd is singing along to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and clapping to guitar. Spoken word performers take to the mic.
University curfew now in place. No sign of UCPD.