Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forget the Taser, Let's Focus On What Meyer Said...

I am not quite sure how I feel about Andrew Meyer, the guy who got tasered at the University of Florida during a Q&A portion of a speech given by Sen. John Kerry. Right off the bat, I am not sure that they should be using tasers on a a college campus, but the fact that the officers were authorized to used them is not the fault of the officers themselves.

Meyer was definitely trying to cause a ruckus, which I kind of like - on the other hand I am not sure that the cops were that out of line, either. It was their job to get him out of the room, just as it was to the protesters job to stay in the room and make as much noise possible.

Maybe they should have just picked him up and carried him out - on the other hand the guy was squirming around pretty good. I would say that he was following the civil disobedience playbook pretty well. You can't really blame Meyer or the officers for just playing out the roles that were meted out to them. I think you have to go higher up the food chain to properly assign the blame in this case.

You can decide the whole taser question for yourself. BAC over at Yikes! has the the video. Badtux has a post about the tasering, and so does There is even a new taser story today about an autistic teen that was tasered in California.

For me, the question of whether Meyer should or should not have been tasered is not really the issue that is important. Meyer stepped up to that microphone to say something. The scuffle and the tasering are a distant second in my mind to the fact that Meyer had a message.

The media and even the blogosphere are just concentrating on the taser aspect of the story. I say forget about the taser aspect. Meyer's question is much more important. So I say let's actually acknowledge what he said:

Andrew Meyer: "I first of all want to thank you for your time. You've spent a lot of time talking to us today and want to thank you for being open and honest. You recommended a book to us earlier, and I wanted to recommend a book to you as well. It's called 'Armed Mad House' by Greg Palast. [ 1, 2 ] Kerry said that he had read it."

"And he says you WON the 2004 election. Isn't that amazing?! Isn't that amazing, you won in 2004. In fact, there were multiple reports on the day of the election of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio..."

A woman next to microphone tells him: "Ask you question or..."

Andrew Meyer: "I'll ask my question, thank you very much I'll ask my question, I'm going to preface it. He's been talking for 2 hours, I think I can have two minutes... I'll ask my question, I'm going to inform people and then I'll ask my question. There are multiple reports of disenfranchisement among black voters on the day of the election in 2004. There was also voting machines, electronic voting machines in Volusia County Florida that counted backwards. So amidst all of these reports, of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day? How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? In this book it says that there were 5 million votes that were suppressed for you in the election. Didn't you want to be president?"

"I'm not even done yet. I have two more questions. If you were so against Iran, how come you aren't saying "let's impeach Bush now?" Impeach Bush now before he can invade Iran. Why don't we impeach him? Impeach Bush? Clinton was impeached for what, a blow job? Why don't we impeach Bush? Also, are you a member of the Skull and Bones in college with Bush? Were you in the same secret society as Bush (mic cuts out) were you in Skull and thank you for cutting off my mic..." nationalledger

Meyer went to a lot of trouble just to say that. Let's at least give his words the same same amount of attention as the taser aspect of the story. I would say that these words are the really important part of the story, what Meyer said. Taser stories are becoming a dime a dozen. The fact that the media and even the blogosphere has decided to focus only on the taser aspect of the story I can only see as a failure of communication.

And speaking of failures of communication, Media Matters reports on two of the more pathetic aspects of how the how the story has been reported by the right-wing media.

Bill O'Reilly: "Well, thanks to Andrew, we now have a new promotion. Anyone buying anything on will receive a 'Don't Taze me, bro!' bumper sticker. And you know you want one. Everybody wants one." Media Matters

Glenn Beck: "Now, I'd like to say that my sense of humor has evolved past the point where I don't enjoy watching someone get Tasered. I'd like to say that, but I can't. To me, Taser videos are a little like potato chips. I just can't watch just one."

"I say hit him with another 50,000 volts." [...] "I would have Tasered him just for being stupid enough to listen to John Kerry for two hours, just yammering on." Media Matters

Glen Beck and Bill O'Reilly never seem to fail to glorify the most sordid and disturbing part of story, and then make it even worse by adding their own sordid and disturbing personalities to it.

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At Fri Sep 21, 07:37:00 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

Can someone please taser O'Reilly live on television at 50,000 volts for fourteen and a half seconds, and then ask him whether or not it's funny? PLEASE?

At Fri Sep 21, 08:20:00 AM, Blogger Jess Wundrun said...

I think the most important question is why did the police act in the first place?

You've given us the transcript of the kids' words. There was nothing patently out of line that he needed removing for.

John Kerry has said that he did not have any problems with the manner in which Meyer was posing the questions.

Yesterday on the Today Show (Today:Jess::Fox:Zaius) Matt Lauer would not let go of the fact that the kid had a prior record of acting up and video taping it. So? Matt refused to take his own stupid question a step further and ponder: did the police already know the background of everyone in that room? Scariest thing I could imagine if that were true (And I don't believe it is true). Yet the question taken to its logical extreme would have to make that the case.

If this were not bizarro world that we are currently living in, Beck's remark would be playing on a continuous loop like Imus' despicable comment. And Bush's 'dead Mandela' comment would be right behind.

At Fri Sep 21, 09:11:00 AM, Blogger Splotchy said...

Nice post.

At Fri Sep 21, 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Evil Spock said...

It was excessive force plain and simple. Mr. Meyer should have a nice settlement coming to him.

I wanted to write about this, but I couldn't find any funny in it.

At Fri Sep 21, 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Liberality said...

You've made some good points here Dr. Z. It is important to focus on the guys questions. He asks some good questions that never seem to get answered. Kerry doesn't want to acknowledge that he threw in the towel as fast as he did. I was personally pissed about that because it was apparent, even to me, that many voting irregularities were going on even before the election as well as on election day and I specifically gave hundreds of dollars to the democrats so that there would be money for lawyers to fight these voting irregularities and that did not happen. So yes, I'm still pissed about that and I would like to hear the answer to those questions. However, I don't like that tasers are being used on people left and right for whatever reason. The cops don't need to taser people. It has killed people who have health problems and tasers have been used on children as well. There is just no good reason why tasers are being used on the population. This constant use of tasers on the population by law enforcement is an issue that needs coverage by the news media and blogs. It is inhumane and barbaric and just plain stupid.

At Fri Sep 21, 12:14:00 PM, Blogger Kelly the dog said...

Dr. Z: I would say that he was following the civil disobedience playbook pretty well. Actually not! The first thing you are taught is to not resist the police. It distracts from the message of the protest, and resisting the police is just asking to be abused.

If you don't want to leave, go limp and make them carry you out. If you aren't struggling, its much harder for them to justify a physical response.

As for the tasing, I've seen police at protests use them far too many times to punish protesters. Especially where they repeatedly tase someone who is not resisting just to inflict physical discomfort.

That said, I can imagine situations where a taser is justified such as an alternative to deadly force. Unfortunately police to use them as a first, rather than a last resort because the are considered non-lethal. What is needed is to place the use of a taser into the same category as using a regular gun.

At Fri Sep 21, 12:21:00 PM, Blogger mark hoback said...

though I would like that bumper sticker...

At Fri Sep 21, 07:07:00 PM, Blogger Sleestak said...

Tasing, the new nightstick upside your head.

At Sat Sep 22, 12:22:00 AM, Anonymous Dee Loralei said...

The boy asked some good questions.. I'd like to know why Kerry didn't at least hold back a few days before conceding.( And I know that Rajin'Cajun called his wife and told her Kerry was going to fight.) Hell, I'd like to know why Gore didn't fight harder too. And Armed Madhouse is brilliant.

But tasering is hideous, just this week some woman in a wheelchair, during a psychotic break, weilding knives, was tasered to death by the police. A Taser should never be used on an un-armed suspect.

I'm with Colbert on this one... some guy is being hassled by the cops and those kids just sat around? Maybe I'm just too old. I see someone being used and abused by authorities, I get involved.

As I said, that may be a generational thang.I'm old enough to have been there for some of the civil rights marches, old enough to do the anti-war stuff, and young enough to have done the divestment from South Africa stuff (:-P) Which means, still old . But would I have sat there whilst some fellow student was being manhandled by the campus police and moved out of a public venue?? Hahaha, not effing likely.

Anyway, I think if you are going to look at the questions he was asking, you might also want to look at the responses of his fellow students. You Dr Z, are much closer in age to them than I am, and please do clue me in.


At Sat Sep 22, 04:32:00 AM, Blogger Pavel Chekov said...

We live in a police state. The cops were WAY out of line. Free speech is something that is slipping away from us more and more every day. When we give up our free speech rights by making apologies for the cops and say, "Meyer was definitely trying to cause a ruckus, which I kind of like - on the other hand I am not sure that the cops were that out of line, either.", the terrorists win.

At Sat Sep 22, 08:17:00 AM, Anonymous mwb said...

"Tasering the Stars"

Watch washed up former celebrities get tasered on live TV for a chance to re-capture their lost fame.

Only on Fox!

At Sat Sep 22, 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

J.D.: We could disguise the taster as a loofah! That would be falafelly funny!

Jess Wundrun: (Today Yes, I would agree on all you points. I don't think campus police should even be allowed to have tasers, as I stated. I mean, they are just rent-a-cops. Real police should have proper training and an understanding of the law. There is a difference.

I just wanted to focus only on the message that the young man went through so much trouble to say. What he said has been kind of ignored by everyone, I thought.

There is one saving grace in what Glenn Beck said. He is the lowest rate news program on cable TV. Nobody was outraged because nobody saw it. Nobody even knows who Glenn Beck is, except some dour die-hard red state blowhards.

Splotchy: Thank you, sir!

Evil Spock: Yes, it was excessive force plain and simple. The problem here is that the one with the best lawyer wins.

Liberality: People in the Kerry camp have already been quoted as saying that they were kicking themselves over that election. Politicians have a problem with looking like they made a mistake, though. That is why they use surrogates to say things like that. And I don't like tasers either, and don't think that campus rent-a-cop "police" should have them, as I stated.

Kelly the dog: The guy did go limp at the end, he was on the floor. I would say that all in all he was pretty effective. He did get on TV. And I don't like tasers either, and don't think that campus rent-a-cop "police" should have them, as I stated.

Mark Hoback: The graphics for the bumper sticker were kind of lame, I thought. It looks like some hack churned it out in half an hour. I guess I would want one as conversation piece, or as an "don't-design-your-bumper-sticker-like-this" example.

Sleestak: Same old crap in a new package, if you aske me. ;o)

Dee Loralei: I am extremely pissed off about both elections. Both times I felt like someone had murdered Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. And I don't like tasers either, and don't think that campus rent-a-cop "police" should have them, as I stated.

I don't know how old you think I am, though. I am no spring chicken. If you are pushing, I pulling it. And I have done my share of protesting, leafleting and signature collecting for petitions and ballot initiatives.

I wanted to focus only on the message that the young man went through so much trouble to say. I did not want to focus on the other issues, that is what everybody else was discussing. I felt like his message was getting lost in the shuffle.

Pavel Chekov: After talking at length, the guy was asked to ask a question or let the next person up to the microphone, and he did not, he just kept talking, in an increasing loud tone of voice. The "cops" are allowed to intervene at some point. And they are not cops, they are campus police. People get thrown out of rock concerts and restaurants all of the time for similar issues. Bars even have non-cops called bouncers, who have absolutely no training in these matters. The bounce people for being loud and obnoxious on a regular basis. I don't think your argument is really as black and white and think, nor do I think that I was "making apologies for the cops." There is room discussion on that point. If it was as certain as you say, why haven't all of those bouncers that work in bars been arrested?

That said, I am as mortified as you by the way free speech is being destroy in this country. I just did not want to focus on that aspect of the story. I wanted to focus on Meyer's message.

MWB: Let's start with Tucker Carlson. I'll bet he squeals like a little girl!

At Sat Sep 22, 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Jess Wundrun said...

Hee hee hee, Tucker Carlson is so not gay, really! that he would ask to have the tasering done with alligator clips on his nipples. Twice.

At Tue Sep 25, 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Ouch! What an image! My Tucker nightmare just got far scarier than I thought possible.

At Wed Oct 31, 11:58:00 PM, Blogger BAC said...

Dr. Z thanks for the link. xoxoxo I've been so busy the past few days I'm way behind it my blog reading!



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