The police are said to exist to serve and protect the people.

Given recent events, I now want to place the following question on the table: How much focus is put on the former compared to that which is placed on the latter? On September 17th, a university student was Tasered by campus police after refusing to give in to their demands, which were to “stand down” and “stop resisting arrest”. The incident came moments after being yanked away from the microphone stand at a campus forum for U.S. Senator John Kerry. I wouldn’t have a solid opinion on this matter if I had not watched the video of what took place in that forum. I have no clear information on what happened before, or after the incident (I’ve only read a few reports and a couple of opinions on the matter). I also do not have information on what was found out about Meyer concerning his “threat status” during the forum, but I know what I saw in the videos – and that’s what I am basing my article on. All videos of the incident start with college student Andrew Meyer asking what would be the last question of a Q & A session with John Kerry. In the video, Meyer grills Kerry, and speaks at a very quick pace, trying to get every question in his head for consideration. It seemed as if Meyer knew he was ultimately going to be cut off from discussing his thoughts and opinions with the ex-presidential candidate. Not surprisingly, a report released by (via Michelle Malkin’s website), states that Meyer had already been behaving in a “disruptive manner” before taking the mic – which is why at the beginning of most videos, you can make out two policemen right besides him. To start off his diatribe, Meyer first informed Kerry of a book - one that states a theory which explains that if the U.S. Senator had not conceded defeat in the 2004 elections, Kerry would have ultimately landed the presidency. The student was clearly agitated about the subject, and instead of pausing and waiting for Kerry to answer, he continued his subsequent queries in a hurried manner. More disruption and worry from the police came after Meyer made a point of asking Kerry why Kerry, along with other politicians were in favor of impeaching Clinton for a “blowjob” yet not in favor of promoting impeachment for Bush, for the then-impending Iraq invasion. The video shows Meyer as an irate student, much like any person with a thing or two to say, and too much fervor in tow. The student was angry, yet he looked like he was just there to voice his opinions and not necessarily to take to heart what Kerry had to say. If you observe the video closely, once Meyer is done with his last question (which was: “Is it true that you belong to the secret society ‘Skull and Bones’?), he raises his arms and looks around. His body language clearly expressed: “I’ve said my piece”. At that moment, the police closed in and grabbed him, to escort him out. Meyer’s first reaction was instinctual: “Get off me”.

The more he resisted, the more agitated he became. The police used more force as Meyer resisted arrest, and Meyer became more panicked as he saw his civil liberties being stripped from him. Had Meyer decided to remain calm, all would have been all right. One might argue that the same line of reasoning could apply to the police. Had they given Meyer the benefit of the doubt and not considered him a “danger” (or whatever they considered him), and thus engaged in civil talk with him, Meyer would have maybe left peacefully on his own accord. Yet neither Meyer nor the police did resort to any such action. The police, as if embarrassed, stuck to their police-duty, which seemed to be: “Do anything and everything to get this agitated student out of the forum”. I’m just doing my job – could very well be the police’s logic. What struck me as disturbing was how I could visually see how Meyer was shouting for help, as he was carried away, and how he kept saying “What did I do?”, while trapped in a very powerless situation. He was still resisting arrest, waiting to be freed by someone – anyone, when he told a policeman “Don’t tase me bro” – already knowing it was certainly a possibility. He was tased. Then he screamed, and after that, it just became clear the whole thing was unnecessary. Then, came a girl’s shout. Then a “shut up”, a “stay back” and in came a flurry of watchers, all keeping busy by ogling the shocking display of humiliation. Meyer was later carried away, still shouting “What did I do?” There is much to debate here – as have students, teachers and liberals nationwide. I refuse to exaggerate the issues here, and make a martyr out of Meyer. He’s not completely innocent. For one, he was in fact, exhibiting unruly behavior in a modicum that demands an air of professionalism (imagine someone acting like he did with much more important heads of state – like a Queen or a Pope…Meyer would be labeled a crazy man), and, he was also responsible for inciting the police to take action against him. The police, on their part, were responsible for “keeping the peace”, yet they did so with excessive force and a semi-complete disregard for personal freedom (at least for what is deemed as “freedom” in U.S. Standards). There exists a precedent to this; the action taken by these policemen (and women) do and will have consequences. This should not be treated as an isolated incident. It is what it is, yet much more than that. I’d like to think that it reminds the American people of other nations and their armed forces, where the punishment these foreign nations inflict upon their citizens is usually more severe. This fact probably reminds Americans of how this sort of police abuse – or mild police brutality - is “not supposed to happen” in their country, and therefore (and very exaggeratedly so) this, in some minds, is a clear warning to take action and stop this, before it turns into an Orwellian dystopia in the future.

So then, with all of this in mind, we might, as a watchful audience, take a step back, turn back the clock, review similar past incidents, and remind ourselves: never again. Even for something as small as a Tasering incident? Yes. No. Maybe. Even Meyer was cool about what happened, so I wouldn’t know. It depends on the person. After the arrest, Meyer supposedly told the police: “I know you guys were doing your job, I’m not angry at you.” Polite. Not smart. Is this isolated incident one to be worried about? As an isolated incident – no, we shouldn’t fret over it. Then, should this, as an incident which resulted in excessive police force, incite a debate? Yes. A debate, to make sure that next time, civil measures are taken before resorting to Tasering (or something worse). I view this as an attack on the “American” way of life - something the Americans pride themselves in and value deeply. The United States is the country where a thief can successfully sue the person he is robbing. It’s the country where people dare to sue the fast-food restaurants where they get obese at. It’s where they sue for the burns that come from the hot coffee they spill on themselves after placing it between their legs and going with it for a drive. It’s the country where “emotional distress” is a term which one can accuse someone of, in court. The aforementioned situations were the result coming from the abuse of liberties established by the U.S. Government to its citizens. Granted, there will always be abuse, wherever abuse is possible. Ironically, the same applies to government. A government can abuse its people, as Bush is very subtly doing, by sending people to their deaths and invading a country under false and inaccurate pretenses. But Bush and his policies are something to be discussed in some other article. So historically, this Tasering attack is much more than a Taser shock to a college student. It is an affront to the United States, and its founders, which were radicals themselves. In a more international perspective… While authority has historically been linked with societal order, to my knowledge, all world armed forces to date (be it military, police or agents for institutions like the CIA, KGB, Mossad…) still have a long track record of serious flaws and misses in their operations. Flaws in no-exceptions levels of obedience, in which orders carried out by say, purely political decisions, have resulted in millions of deaths via their most deathly proxies – the armed forces. The legal armed forces, which legally, if necessary, can exert the most inhumane treatment – albeit legal – to whatever, and whomever they decide. This student should then, aptly serve as a metaphor for the invasion of Iraq, and as a message for the American People.

“What did I do?” shouts the small Iraqi boy in Arabic. “Help,” shout the thousands of innocent civilians in Baghdad and the surrounding areas. These are the same phrases Andrew Meyer was saying, yet we fail to sympathize with any of these Iraqis, because we just don’t care. But we care about Andrew Meyer, we care ardently, because we’re scared that one day, what happened to Andrew Meyer, might happen to us.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.