o brother

9/18/07

By now, most of you have seen the video of Florida student Andrew Meyer getting tasered at the John Kerry speech, either filtered or unfiltered depending on your preferred method of consumption. One could argue that if you look like a flailing-armed moron who might possibly bum-rush the stage and attack a sitting member of the Senate, you’re going to get what’s coming to you, but the actual act of one person tasering another is indescribably sickening.

The bigger point is this: could there be anyone with more of a tin ear than John Kerry? There’s no way he didn’t know what was going on, what with the student yelling “don’t tase me, bro!” Senator or no, that’s time to jump off stage, wade through the crowd and see what the fuck the police are doing to this kid. At the very least, you get on the motherscratchin’ mike and lay down the law, rather than continue droning on as if you’re announcing pre-boarding for Delta’s flight to Cleveland.

It’s easy to be a Johnny-Come-Monday-Morning-Quarterback, but I like to think I came by my frustration with Kerry honestly and early (well before he was the Democratic nominee – like this unhinged entry from 2003). When he became the front-runner, my heart sank, and when he got the nomination, deep down I knew we were fucked. I put on a brave face, mostly because Tessa told me to, but it was the most important election in modern American history, and GOD KNOWS WE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have voted for J.J. Redick over George W. Bush every day of the week, and Kerry would have done a overwhelmingly more noble job as President than the cruel, smirking monkey we’ve got right now. But Kerry seems to have sacrificed a bizarre portion of his humanity at the altar of politics.

It’s as if he is so tempered by expectation, so bizarrely addicted to remaining vaguely inoffensive, so hobbled by years of saying oddly-meaningless words in order to stay elected, that he comes across as six-foot-four of tanned goo. Mike Dukakis looked silly in a tank because he’d never been in one before, but Kerry managed to look like a panderer while windsurfing – something he’d done for decades.

As was the case in Swift Boat, or his botched joke, he issued a somewhat-dispassionate condemnation a day late, probably after looking at some polls and focus-group results.

TaseMeTShirt(bl).jpg

only a matter of time before this shirt exists

The other players? God knows they were out of their league on this one, but the Kampus Kops of Florida sure looked psyched to test the taser gun on a writhing student pinned to the floor. I admit a bias here… any of you ever had a run-in with a campus cop? I have, about 15-20 times during my extended sojourn in Chapel Hill, and I always felt like they were some of the worst people in the South.

Every single UNC cop I ever met reminded me of Chet from “Weird Science” – too stupid to be logical, but just smart enough to be really goddamn mean. In the beginning, they were annoying-yet-harmless custodians of Carolina’s brick pathways, but when I was a junior, they were granted the same powers as normal city cops, which, in my genuflected opinion, was a promotion none of them deserved.

Maybe times have changed since the batshit days of the early ’90s, but an evening consisting of campus cops with cattle prods, a conspiracy-minded undergrad with an inhibition disorder, and John Kerry? That’s got “YouTube Smash Hit” written all over it!

0 thoughts on “o brother

  1. DFB's&T's

    the whole episode is looking more and more like it was all staged by this goofball. Articles describe how he behaved when cameras were not on, and he aspires for a career in national media. The main footage of the incident was taken by a friend using the goofball’s own camera — it was all pre-planned. Maybe he wants to be the next Johnny Knoxville? He is a jackass.

    Reply
  2. kent

    They’re talking now about arming the campus police at Iowa universities. That sounds like a good idea right up until they shoot an unarmed student.

    Reply
  3. scruggs

    I am so out of the loop and hadn’t seen this yet. The cops went way way overboard. However, after snooping around, it seems this might be the best thing to ever happen to this guy (similarly to our friend, Miss Teen SC). I’ve seen some of what DFB&T’s is talking about. After watching this blowhard on the video, I think this may have been the only way he could get himself on Fox News.

    Reply
  4. Marilyn McPoo

    (to the tune of “Don’t Cry Out Loud”)
    Don’t tase me, bro…
    just keep it on stun,
    and learn how to hide your feelings
    Don’t tase me, bro…
    and if I should fall,
    remember you almost tased my balls

    Reply
  5. Steph Mineart

    From what I’ve been reading, I’m not sure the cops went overboard. A large chunk of the guy acting out didn’t make it to video – the incident began when he shoved his way to the front of the microphone line, getting physically with people in line on the way. That’s when the cops started warning him he was out of line. They also warned him several times during his “question” which was more of a rant, that he needed to get to the point.
    People are saying that the cops escalated the incident too fast, but the eyewitnesses don’t seem to feel that way, and the videos don’t show everything.
    Plus he was looking for the video cameras the whole time, and shouting to them. Heck it isn’t legal, but I kinda wanted to tase him just for acting like a showoff dick.

    Reply
  6. Neva

    I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it and have mixed feelings. I do think that it’s hard to imagine why several cops couldn’t subdue one unarmed man without a taser. That seems excessive for sure. I wonder how much of that came from inexperience, poor training and too much machismo in these “mall cops”.
    It made me realize though how scared we all are these days of the odd people of the world. Since the Virginia Tech shootings I’m sure universities are even more paranoid. I realized the other day that when I’m out running alone I scrutinize every single male that walks by for signs of “wacko” and move my hand closer to my phone when we pass. That’s really too bad, I think.. living in fear and thinking the worst.
    This guy was obviously pushing his luck, but a certain amount of wacko needs to be tolerated, especially in political discourse. What bothered me more actually was the link where the article mentions that some people were removed for wearing anti Bush tee shirts at a Bush speech. To me that’s worse than physically removing someone who is disrupting the peace after being warned to stop. Protest is healthy and important in a free society, after all.
    I wouldn’t be so harsh on Kerry though. He’s just there giving his speech. He’s not charismatic or interesting (and that’s nothing new) but he’s doing his job as he sees it. The cops are supposed to do theirs. I wouldn’t expect Kerry to try to be the peace enforcer. I imagine he couldn’t even tell entirely what was going on and, in his defense, he wanted to answer the guy’s question.
    The funniest part is that, except for the tasering, this guy got just what he wanted.. lots of attention.

    Reply
  7. Santiago

    Back to the subject of the post… Although I doubt he planned to get shocked, there’s little doubt in my mind that Mr. Meyer is a media slut who carefully staged this incident for maximum visibility. All three parties–Meyer, Kerry, and the Kops–were at fault in this bit of media fodder, but I blame the po-po the most. Such theatrics are to be expected at such an event, and so they should be extra careful to respond only with the least effective force necessary when dealing with a vocal, yet non-violent protester. Of course, that assumes that the police don’t have an “us versus them” and/or increasingly “law and order” mentality that often leads to brutality and abuse of power. A gentle example: half my life ago, when I was a HS senior I can remember going to see my sister at UNC during Springfest weekend. The campus police were there, mostly ignoring well-behaved drunkeness and just keeping people from walking out onto Raleigh Street without looking. But as a UNC senior four years later, I remember being harassed by the kampus kops (and being lucky I was the DD that night) after leaving a frat party simply for attending.
    Also, I know it hurts, but saying, “it was the most important election in modern American history,” is just buying into the propaganda–that comes from both parties. That chestnut comes out every election cycle as a means of firing up the base.
    Welcome to the State of Police. Have a nice day… and watch your a$$!

    Reply

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