Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am a Student. Don't Taser me !

I finished the first draft of my thesis on Thursday. I was happy with the result, happier when I heard my advisor’s comments.

But my swollen eyes did not get better after I heard the news about the UCLA student stunned by Taser gun. Everything on this news was disturbing; the six-minute video, shot by another student, was the most disgusting thing I have seen in years. The story goes that after 11 pm or so all students have to have their ID in order to be able to stay in the UCLA library. Apparently this student did not show any ID and perhaps was not happy that the library assistant is asking him for one. They get to an argument (whatever it was) the library supervisor calls the campus police (security) more than three of them showed up (my guess is there was four of them) and they started to escort the student out of the library when the student supposedly limped and got Tasered over and over by the security. Even after he was handcuffed they still used the Taser gun.

The least one can ask (whether the student was offensive or not) is how the police, apparently the four of them, could find the student a threat after he was handcuffed.

The moral issue is who or what is the subject of the campus security’s protection; the students or the institutes: There are buildings, institutes and agencies in civil societies that are defined by the people within them. Academia is one of those. There are the students who give the real meaning to a university. Whom are we protecting the universities for and from? What kind of a policy allows carrying Taser guns, or any controversial weapon for that mater, within the walls of universities and use them with no conscious on someone who forgot to bring his ID? Regardless of the student’s ethnicity, since I don’t believe that the case was racial (at least in the beginning), I question the judgment of the officer under the vague policy of UCLA for the usage of Taser guns, the judgment that we as a society rely on to feel safe and secure.

I am a student.
I study late at night in the library.
I may forget my ID.

I am a student. Don’t Taser me!

* Two days ago, in a small town in Iran, a student got killed by the Basij (a religious semi -militia group) simply because he was talking to a young woman who later appeared to be his wife. Apparantly the respect for human life is cheap everywhere in the world!

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