Student Tasering “Justified”

On Wednesday, University of Florida police were cleared and reinstated to duty after tasering a student who insisted on asking questions. That was two days ago. It’s taken me this long to calm down enough to write about it coherently.

Here’s what I heard on CNN: (I paraphrase) that the nasty, nasty young man -- 21 year-old journ student Andrew Meyer -- refused to stop asking questions. So he was tasered. And arrested. And somehow that’s not only OK, in some circles it’s laudable, that the young man in question is known to be of a light-minded disposition (i.e.: he can be pretty jokey) and perhaps had posed the whole incident as a stunt. And somehow the fact that he was jokey, that the whole thing may have been staged to illustrate a point made a lot of people think it was OK for him to have been handled in this way. (Even though the point was probably that it’s OK to ask questions of authority. Oh well.)

This item from The National Ledger seems to echo popular opinion:
University of Florida student Andrew Meyer got his fifteen minutes with his now infamous “Don't tase me Bro’” cry as he was being hauled off by cops after he disrupted a question and answer session with failed 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry. His wild video became an instant You Tube classic but it appears that his fifteen minutes may be over.

Meyer’s “disruption” lasted a minute and a half. His questions were perhaps naieve, but were certainly on point. (Like, for instance, he wasn’t asking Kerry where he got his dog waxed or why he eats meat.) When did we get this complacent? When did we stop expecting answers and only expecting obedience?

From the time news agencies started airing the “don't taze me bro’” footage, I thought the message being sent was too clear: in the new America, it is not OK for a student to stand up and ask hard questions in a clear voice.

It should be mentioned that Senator John Kerry -- the person who the questions were publicly asked of -- seemed genuinely distressed by the way Meyer was handled. Kerry’s actions on the day made that clear, as did a statement he issued the following day.
I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.


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