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Occupy UC Davis [updated]

2011/11/19

Somehow, police got onto UC Davis and pepper sprayed Occupy people without a good portion of the other students being aware of it, which I find morbidly funny.  After all, it’s that time of the quarter.  Midterms, papers, finals in less than a month—most people wouldn’t go out of their way to look for protesters to join.

Here’s what I have to say about protesters.

I don’t think they’re doing the wrong thing but isn’t this kind of protest too simple-minded?  Of course, they shouldn’t do anything illegal, but there are probably more legal, passive-aggressively offensive tactics to spread your goals without getting hurt.  Maybe, maybe not but think about it logically.  Doing a simple demonstration on the quad to protest against the Goliaths of today makes about as much sense as posting “OMG my house is on fire” on twitter in response to your house getting set on fire.

I’m more of a boycott type of person.  Of course, I can’t really afford to boycott much because I’m not living on my own income but come on, guys, isn’t this the networking age?  Through networking, you can get critical people to join your movement and hit ’em where it hurts.

Take a big chief executive officer.  He probably owns a lot of things like cars and houses and has a lot of people to take care of it for him, right?  What if they quit their jobs?  Refusing to work wouldn’t work because that would be breaking the work contract, but imagine: you’re a rich, high-maintenance C.E.O. and everyone on your paid support team collects their salaries, finishes their duties, and walks out.  You can’t find replacements because everyone has agreed not to work for you.  You have to manage all your oversized assets by yourself, doing all tasks menial and administrative.  You got the private jet but you ain’t got pilots to fly it.  When you ask why (despite knowing the answer), people demand you stop being rich prick and put a cap on your total value so other people don’t have to be so poor.

Here’s what I have to say about the Davis police.

They’re people, too, O.K.?  I realize they can come across as brutally inexorable when they’re at work and the bad ones can be vicious but I think it’s wrong when people libel them.  I’m not one to care about people’s feelings but there are some people who really had it coming, like the UCLA Asians In The Library chick, and there are people who really didn’t, like the Davis police.  Davis PD have a reputation for being reasonable (despite the amount of bike tickets they manage to churn out for people who don’t stop at stop signs and teens who don’t wear helmets).  It’s Davis, you’re either smart or a failure.

There’s just one thing.  I’d like someone to send me a clear screenshot with a link to the original footage of when a police officer forced someone’s mouth open and pepper-sprayed it, because I didn’t see it in the video clip and I’m not taking anyone’s word for whether that happened or not.

There were better ways to handle this, sure.  The police probably have a set way of dealing with this kind of situation when they’re asked to step in but as people, they should make their own decision whether they have to stick to that or if they can find some less damaging ways of achieving their mission.  I can’t deny that the videos portray police coldly spraying down students and that it feels like this is the wrong way to do things.

I also don’t feel comfortable around police but they’re not all bad.  Their major fault is following the system too strictly and that’s kind of the nature of the police force.  They’re people, just like your elementary school principal whose office you were once deathly afraid of visiting (because that meant you were in trouble and they would call your parents who would get mad and beat the shit out of you or at least until you admitted to being wrong and promised to change).

Here’s what I have to say to Katehi.

Don’t try to snow me.  2009 salary, 240,528.22.  2010 salary, 382,249.32.  That’s more than 2.5 times than my parents combined.  My parents make more than other parents we know, but their lifestyles are just as 辛苦 as those of other middle class people, maybe even more.  What do you do?

“Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of past Friday and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students”?  Hun, they’re not in high school anymore.  In a university, the students study, some of them learn, and some of those think critically and try to become adults.  Meanwhile, they get your, like, random emails talking about something that some of them were involved in.  A good number of them probably don’t even know what you look like nor would they care because aside from raising their tuition, they don’t sense your involvement in their education.  You might thinking that you’re doing so much of this or that, but do you think about what the students see of you?  Are you thinking about what counts?

I don’t want to treat you as pure evil because you’re human but your emails and their formalities are irritating.  I have no idea what your job is, aside from sending everyone emails (read: press releases) about situations that happened on campus and why you handled them however you handled them.  I’m trying to dig through the jargon and underneath, I don’t see anything significant and solid.  Are you working harder than my parents?  What are you doing that deserves a higher pay than my parents?  I don’t get this: if you’re not working as desperately as my parents, why do you make more than them?  If you’re working the same amount, why do you make more than them?  If you’re working harder, where do you find the time to get your hair done and your suits pressed all nice?  You should be looking haggard and fatigued (though you can still look happy because you’re supposed to love your work), not all put-together.

In conclusion:

Keep your hair on, guys.  Everybody likes to make a bunch of noise.  Don’t waste your breath and don’t waste your energy.  Do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said.  It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, so fight that.  Set up your gambit with a cool head and don’t just point fingers.

–update–

Apparently they had another demonstration demanding Katehi’s resignation.  I have to feel a little sorry for her.  A mass of nonviolent students chanting and staring can be more than a little unnerving.  If I were her (and thank God that I am not), I would have thought, “How in the world should I react and get out of here with the least damage to myself?”  I probably would have come to different conclusions in terms of the best plan of action for exiting the building but I have to say, trying to make it look like a hostage situation, if that’s what she meant to do, is a completely viable idea.  Just not that smart but under pressure, people can do idiotic things (like worrying about my chemistry midterm so much that I forgot to turn in my makeup biology homework).

For all you people who think that her resignation is the answer, I totally understand your thought process and I’mma tell you what’s wrong with it.  How many good chancellors do you know of?  Chancellors who don’t authorize stupid projects that raise student tuition, don’t take pay raises, don’t set the riot police on peaceful protesters with pathetic excuses… can you think of one who can and will replace Katehi?  Chances are that if she resigns, you’re stuck with another chancellor who really isn’t much better if at all, and just as likely to make stupid decisions if not more so due to not having gone through the experience of being nonviolently hazed by a thousand students as punishment for making poor leadership decisions.  Then, you will quite possibly be worse off than before.  I say punish the one you’ve got and let her stay because otherwise you don’t know what you’re getting yourselves into.

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