Tony Norman (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) | Common Dreams
November 22 2011
When the late Gil Scott-Heron said that “the revolution would not be televised,” he spoke too soon. There was no way that the performance poet could conceive of the era of the viral video or know that it was just around the corner.
Even Mr. Scott-Heron couldn’t have predicted that every citizen would one day have the option of recording and disseminating a piece of the revolution with a cell phone camera. Who would have imagined back in the 1970s that a generation later, we would all be media gatekeepers by virtue of living in the modern world?
Last Friday, a cop at the University of California, Davis forgot the cardinal rule every officer should have internalized since the Rodney King debacle — if there’s a camera around, then police brutality will be televised. There are too many witnesses and too many cameras in the environment to ever give another officer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to violence on civilians. We know from painful experience that there are too many liars wearing badges to pretend otherwise.
When UC Davis students set up tents in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movements nationwide, the university’s insular leadership freaked out. College students haven’t seriously clamored for freedom of speech in decades. Who can blame the school’s ruling class for being a little foggy on the concept?
On Friday, someone who will probably be fired by the end of this week gave the order to campus cops who deal with these students every day to put aside their humanity and act like storm troopers.
Police wearing riot helmets and carrying truncheons went from enforcing arbitrary parking rules and breaking up rowdy keg parties to assaulting the students who pay their salaries.