Friday, November 17, 2006

What the fuck is happening to my country?

Please, if you don't do anything else political in your life, read this story and think about where we're headed. Thanks to Dr. B for the tip. Here's part of it:

An incident late Tuesday night in which a UCLA student was stunned at least four times with a Taser has left the UCLA community questioning whether the university police officers' use of force was an appropriate response to the situation.

Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner.
..Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A six-minute video showed Tabatabainejad audibly screaming in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds. He was told repeatedly to stand up and stop fighting, and was told that if he did not do so he would "get Tased again."

Tabatabainejad was also stunned with the Taser when he was already handcuffed, said Carlos Zaragoza, a third-year English and history student who witnessed the incident.
During the altercation between Tabatabainejad and the officers, bystanders can be heard in the video repeatedly asking the officers to stop and requesting their names and identification numbers. The video showed one officer responding to a student by threatening that the student would "get Tased too." At this point, the officer was still holding a Taser.

I couldn't even finish watching the video the first time -- I was shaking too hard and had to stop. It took a long time for me to finish it. Oh my God, his screams...they kept shocking this kid. SIX minutes worth of shocks. I don't think I've ever in my life felt so disturbed. This is what democracy looks like? Being TASED because you can't produce a goddamn LIBRARY CARD in time? Jesus, the reason he couldn't stand up is because he'd been tased! While wearing handcuffs. Because he didn't have his student ID on him. Who the fuck trained these guys?? And how awful is it that the students had no choice but to sit and WATCH because the officers had guns and so no one could help this kid? I don't really care if he was committing an act of civil disobedience, which is what some people say -- you should not be assaulted if you aren't being violent. Is that suddenly a radical proposition??

This is the symptom of a sick society. Why don't we just call this "war" a failure? We've already destroyed the way of life we supposedly set out to defend.

I don't know who to write about this or what to do, but I will find out. This is too sick and wrong to write off as "just one of those misunderstandings" that happens in a time of war. Fuck the war. If this is what we're fighting to preserve, I'd rather just quit.

I've emailed tips to the NYT and every other media outlet I can think of - please do the same with your local paper.

Update: UCLA's student paper does a much better job of analyzing the incident than I did.

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