The whole world is watching and we're getting angry

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NOVEMBER 20, 2011

I write this because I cannot say nothing, but I feel like my outrage is inexpressible. I write this because I am just too angry not to write something. I try to see the good in everything, but virtually nothing in my life has made me angrier than the behaviour of the police in this country over the past week. Pepper-spraying students peacefully seated on the UC Davis campus? Brandishing guns bigger than any I’ve ever seen outside of a game of Call of Duty at students? Pepper-spraying an 84-year-old woman? When the behaviour of a police force is making world news, it’s time for the whole system to be re-examined.

Occupy Cal may have begun as a protest about the privatization of our university education system, but fueled by the nation-wide Occupy movement, it’s become an outcry or anger and frustration and a sense of reeling at the deep injustice being faced by protesting students on the frontline. I cannot believe that here, now, in our supposedly progressive society, humans are pointing guns at other humans to supposedly inforce petty university regulations, technicalities being slyly used to arrest students instead of coming head to head with what is really at stake. What  “serious health and safety concerns” posed by a group of peacefully protesting students could possibly justify the use of pepper spray and the brandishing of firearms?

But the police force are human too. So I ask, what is wrong with them? We need answers from the real people behind the guns and riot helmets. The polished statements from police chiefs and university chancellors are not answers. In order to stand up to this brutal madness sweeping the UC system and indeed, the nation, police and students need to sit down, look directly at each other and talk as human beings to human beings rather than clashing as us and them. I have emailed Lt. John Pike, the now infamous cop who begins to pepper-spray students at UC Davis to express my outrage. It’s not enough, but I urge you to do the same at [email protected] The whole world is watching our campus police, and what it sees is disgusting.

Contact Margaret Perry at 


NOVEMBER 20, 2011