Silly me. I thought the video of campus police repeatedly tasering a student in a UCLA library was a gag, you know, a new kind of performance comedy. Like a post-modern Three Stooges cop routine with a technology twist. Just think how hilariously funny it would've been if the other Marx Brothers had suddenly turned on Groucho, took his cigar, and started beating the shit out of him with Harpo's harp and burning holes in him with the stogie once he was down. How cool would that have been? Sadly, it turns out the whole thing was real and the campus copper is apparently a sadist--amongst other things, he previously shot a homeless man in a library, was given an award by the Tazer corporation, and was recommended for dismissal for choking another student in front of a frat dorm with his night stick. His name is Terrence Duren. Even more sadly, he was simply following UCLA policy, which clearly states passive resistance warrants tazering, as much tazering as an officer wants. The policy and .pdf are up over at Americablog.
Ok, ok, I knew it wasn't a comedy skit all along. But it was so shocking that I would've greatly preferred that it were, and I mean, the student's falsetto screams were so artful! That part where he yelled, "Here's your fucking Patriot Act! Here's your abuse of power!" was very thematic. Too bad it wasn't comedy. Too bad one of the country's most well-known institutes of higher learning chooses to engage in over-the-top sadism. Soooo, I guess UCLA will be happy to pay the $10 million they're going to fork over after the upcoming lawsuit to keep Officer Duren on staff and not change their policies. It's a small price to pay for order, what with students who rebel by not carrying their IDs. Not to mention what a great recruiting video it makes to the entire world (60+% of UCLA students aren't white, many of whom are international). Michael Crowley of Amnesty Int'l gives the low-down on electroshock weapons and the surprising US role in popularizing their application. There's the old saying, "What a country does abroad comes home." Here's a little taste of what may be to come, right on schedule.