The Moral Power of UCDavis

Monday, November 21, 2011

National correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows discusses the significance of the UCDavis pepper spray incident in a moral context, and what lessons the incident has for other protests.


James Fallows

Comments [17]

Salvatore Principato from greenwich village

and finally "does Occupy risk becoming a protest about protest" OWS is a pro-democracy movement and abuse of power by authorities and their armed forces stand in harsh opposition to the development of a democracy and civil society. Therefore yes any authentic democracy movement should actively concern themselves with gross police misconduct

Nov. 21 2011 01:42 PM
Salvatore Principato from Grenwich Village

I wish Brian Lerher would stop aping the anti-OWS regimes by talking about safety or sanitation that's like criticizing the marines in an Afghanistan outpost for their hygiene. The protesters at Zuccotti Park were thwarted by authorities in every effort to build and maintain a safe, clean infrastructure. Then he goes on about some useless poll that journalists confuse with hard news about 86% of Americans think theirs too much corporate influence in politics and that it's a bi-partison issue. If that were true how come in the wake of Citizens United Republicans blocked the mildest effort as far as full disclosure of campaign funds. Despite what they might say, anyone who calls themselves a Republican totally believes in corporate domination in all sectors of society. Mr Lerher should come down from his elevated tower in WNYC studios and look around what is going on in the streets because something happening here and you don't know what it is do you? Brian Lerher

Nov. 21 2011 01:13 PM
Peter from Durham, NC (formerly Sunset Park)

Great coverage. Thank you.

I hope you continue to cover this story. A few suggestions for questions for future coverage.

1. When watching the videos, it felt that the use of pepper spray was bordering on torture and certainly appeared to be assault. Legally, could this case be made?

2. Can the other police officers present be held responsible for not stopping their colleagues from using pepper spray? In other words, aren’t all the police officers responsible for witnessing a crime and not stopping the crime?

3. Can the United States government mobilize troops to protect protestors from the police?

I deeply admire and respect the discipline and non-violent response of the UC Davis protestors. It strikes me that the police are becoming violently out of control across the country and no one is defending the protestors against police violence.

Nov. 21 2011 12:38 PM
Ally from Manhattan

I just watched this video at work after hearing your show. I sat in the office and cried for the whole eight minutes. Like someone mentioned on the show, " I didn't believe this was in America"

Nov. 21 2011 12:15 PM
john from office

Guess they are not laughing at the cop now??

Nov. 21 2011 11:06 AM

Please post this video as often and in as many places as you can.

Nov. 21 2011 10:58 AM

This is one of most disturbing things I have ever seen.

Disturbing and frightening.

G_d Bless Amerika™!

Nov. 21 2011 10:52 AM
Fabio Carasi from In Nj, exiled from NYC

Following up on the on air comments that the protesters may lose control of the message and being pushed into protesting about the way the authorities handle the protest:

That's exactly where the authorities want the protesters. That's why they keep provoking them, hoping in violent reactions (some violence, bare hands against robocops.)

And at the same time, the Establishment is developing its narrative: OWS are filthy hippies. Bloomberg claims he needs to clean up the park because of hygiene issues. Republican King from L.I. repeats on TV over and over that the protesters live in 'feces and urine'. And then, UC Davis cops spray them like an infestation of disease carrying bugs.

Semiotic analysis shows you were we are going.
I am very careful not to make knee-jerk comparison to the Nazi period, but I remember very well "The Eternal Jew", a propaganda movie that equated Jews to rats and repulsive, dangerous insects. And the need to eradicate them.....

Be careful out there.

Nov. 21 2011 10:51 AM

meatwync - don't pay john any mind. He posts on these fora all the time in support of every anti-American thing he can think of. He doesn't have any friends, contacts, or social outlets. So just ignore him and let him rant in his lonely corner.

Nov. 21 2011 10:48 AM
sy from Manhattan

we have SOFT autocratic system, but not less effective. don't forget the change, back and forth, of the term limit in NYC: one would believe it was in 'those' countries.

Nov. 21 2011 10:45 AM

Brian really bends over backward to make sure we understand the cops' point of view. Fair and balanced.

Nov. 21 2011 10:44 AM
Robert from NYC

That was the one thing I agreed with when Chris brought it up, his idea on OWS, they should be in Washington DC en masse. The entirety of OWS should have a mass march on Washington whereby all groups from around the country and those from around the world join on a march on Washington gathering supporters on the way down like a rolling stone.

Nov. 21 2011 10:44 AM

"If you choose to protest, there will be consequences."

Awesome comment on democracy in America!

Nov. 21 2011 10:43 AM
john from office

Brian, how do you move people who lock arms and refuse to move??. You spray them with pepper spray so they release their arm lock. This was just standard police procedure.

If you choose to protest, there will be consequences.

Nov. 21 2011 10:41 AM
James Kaboui

If possible, can your guest comment in some way on how the officer isn't immediately facing arrest? I don't understand how seemingly criminal acts aren't being discussed in the press as, well, criminal acts. Forcefully.

Nov. 21 2011 10:39 AM

... how about the image of dead Kent State students???

Nov. 21 2011 10:39 AM
Robert from NYC

It's just amazing that this cop just caually and nonchalantly shmoozes along pepper spraying this line of peacefully seated in protestors. What kind of crap is that!! Really.

Nov. 21 2011 10:38 AM

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