Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Tasing Of A Bro

Over the years many strong statements have been made in response to oppression. "Don't tread on me" was coined by American general and coiled rattlesnake Christopher Gadsden. "I have a dream" was made famous when shouted by Martin Luther King, Jr. "Can't we all just get along" pleaded Rodney King, (no relation). Kayne West made a powerful statement about George W. Bush not caring about black people when he said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Now we can add Andrew Meyer's inspiring message to the list: "Don't tase me, bro."

By now, a lot of people have seen the video floating around the Internet of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer asking John Kerry a series of questions which indirectly results in getting himself tasered by the university police. I'm sure you all are thinking the same thing I am in reaction to this footage, that this incident begs the question: Is there a university somewhere in Florida that has the abbrevation F.U.? Because I would so totally want to get my degree from F.U. That would be awesome.
"Where did you go to school?"
"Fine, fuck you too, then. Christ, it was just a question."
That is pretty much the only serious political stance I have on this incident, that it would be cool to go to a school called F.U. Of course, this has blown up into a major ordeal on the news and throughout the Internet, so I feel obligated to write more on it. In a time when people feel their freedoms being taken away, people see a video like this, where it seems at first glance that someone is being arrested for asking a former Presidential candidate a question, the freedom of speech advocates protest the seemingly unfair treatment. Conspiracy theorists have been quick to jump on the point that his mic was cut and he was arrested as soon as he uttered the phrase "Skull and Bones," which is a pseudo-fraternity at Yale University to which Kerry and Bush both belonged and is said to be a powerful recruiting branch of the Illuminist cult.

Now, anyone who's been reading my blog for any amount of time should be pretty familiar with my sentiments on America's erosion of freedoms, and you may recall my fascination with trying to strip the bullshit from the truth when it comes to the Illuminati, so naturally, video evidence as substantial as this would be right up my alley. That is to say, if the video evidence was fairly substantial. Unfortunately, I have my doubts about the complete sincerity of the video.

A year ago, I'd probably be among the first to champion an Illuminist conspiracy cover-up, or at least blame Bush for allowing our freedom of speech to be impaired to this degree. Maybe I'm a bit older and wiser now, but I feel compelled to do neither. If there is anything I can say that I have learned, any bit of wisdom I have gleaned from working where I have been for the time that I have, it's that everybody has an angle. You just have to find it. If someone isn't outright trying to scam you, they're just honestly that fucking stupid. Yes, there are a few people who are enlightened enough to be honest, but for the most part, humans are inherently selfish creatures, and if they aren't trying to get more than their fair share from you at the moment, they likely will at some point. Generally speaking, if you look hard enough for a motive, you'll find it. Most people wear it right on their sleeves.

I've done a little research on this kid, in order to make a more informed decision before I wrote an article about the incident. Yes, just like everyone else, the first time I watched the video, I was shocked that he would end up getting tased for asking Senator John Kerry some very controversial questions. However, the more I watched it, and the more footage that got released that showed different angles, I started getting a clearer picture of what was really going on. The more I found out about this kid from various sources, the more the evidence seemed to support my suspicion.

My suspicion is that this was a big publicity stunt and this kid got every passionate political blogger in the country upset primarily to draw attention to himself. Andrew Meyer is a journalism major. The best thing anyone who enters journalism can use is publicity. Reporters need to be assertive enough to get their story at any cost, and they need to be brave enough to ask the important questions that might otherwise not get answered. A journalism major would have to prove that he is willing to go to those lengths to ask those questions, and what better way to do that than to fire off a series of expository questions at a United States Senator and former Presidential candidate who lost to one of the least capable Presidents in recent history and then get hauled off by security and tased while having everything conveniently documented on camera?

Numerous reports have been trickling in claiming that Andrew Meyer already had a reputation as a campus prankster. In fact, in the videos, the crowd was applauding as he was being removed from the microphone. The students didn't seem to care about his being escorted out of the theater, in fact most probably thought he was getting what he deserved. No one really reacted until after they tased him, at which point a few students thought they'd crossed a line and a few more just made cynical "police brutality" remarks. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that he had this entire debacle planned. It seems at least somewhat orchestrated, as if he knew what he needed to do to get the desired reactions from security and even ensured that they would be driven to those measures. Of course I seriously doubt he'll ever admit it. It wouldn't look good for his reputation or the verdict of any possible impending lawsuits if, in a moment of burdened conscience, he were to admit to having staged the entire incident. We may never know if this was an expertly choreographed publicity stunt or just a kid who was honestly curious about the answers of his questions, and whichever it was, to just what degree out-of-hand it had gotten.

I saw a few points in
any of the videos that caused me to cast doubt on the sincerity of the alleged victim. One was that, for someone who seemed so horribly in support of John Kerry that he even advocated his Presidency, Andrew Meyer's tone seemed awfully derisive to me. For instance, when he excitedly asserted, "Isn't it amazing? You won in 2004!" it seemed practically sarcastic, as if chiding him for not challenging Bush's victory. Then he has the gall to tell security that, "He's been talking for two hours; I think I can have two minutes." That's practically an insult. John Kerry was a guest speaker. He was entitled to his two hours, and yet, Mr. Meyer is making his point as if Kerry had been done a favor to be allowed to speak that long. This, of course, was smattered with an inexhaustive number of insincere platitudes. Protip: Saying, "Thank you, thank you very much," after every sentence to people you are arguing with doesn't make you look polite; it makes you look like the world's biggest bag of douche.

Then there's the struggling with the police that resulted in his getting tased. To the untrained eye, he would seem like a conspiracy nut who was convinced that he was going to be removed and eliminated for uttering the phrase "Skull and Bones," but for someone supposedly afraid for his life, he was not putting up that great of a fight. In fact, aside from his bouncing up and down, he seemed to be overall cooperating with the police. If he was truly scared for his life, I'd like to think he would have pushed, punched, and fought his way out of their grasp and been climbing over auditorium seats, picking up weapons, and fighting his way to freedom. Most of his protest seemed to be verbal, as he was allowing himself to be escorted out of the auditorium. The difference between sounding afraid for your life and actually being afraid for your life is that anyone can shout and make a fairly convincing spectacle, but the whole time, he knew the grave ramifications for assaulting an officer and fleeing arrest. Someone who actually thought they were going to be taken away and shot would not care about the consequences if the alternative was a chance to live. Someone who simply wanted people to believe that's what he thought would know better than to risk it. I seriously doubt he could be a remotely successful college student and have as much of a concept of how an arrest works as he seemed to. He really has no excuse to be that
ignorant, and hence no reason to be that clueless or scared.

Still, shouting for the camera and struggling wouldn't be enough to put himself in the largest amount of peril. So once he got to the back of the auditorium, he tried to make a break from the police's custody, which got him thrown on the ground. He was asked to allow them to cuff him, yet he would not give them his arm. He was warned several times that, if he did not comply, he would be tased. He did not comply, so he was tased. He even made sure to make a point of the fact that they were going to use a taser on him, and that it hurt once they did. Note that he did not yelp or scream in pain while being tased. He just shouted "Ow!" He actually verbalized the word "ow." I don't know about you, but if someone tased me, I wouldn't be saying "ow." I would be either growling incoherently in pain or saying something to the affect of, "Motherfucking son of a bitch!! You motherfucking tased me!!" I'm not saying that it didn't hurt him; I'm just saying that his reaction to it wasn't enough to convince me that he wasn't acting for the camera. No, he said "ow" rather pathetically, more like someone who had mentally prepared himself for the chance of getting tasered and wanted everyone to know that it hurt.

Did the police overreact by using the taser to help control the boy? Some might disagree with me, but I say that they didn't. I think they were coerced into it, backed into a corner by an amateur media manipulator wanting to look like some sort of journalistic hero. He had been warned, and all he would have to do is shut up and give them his arm, and he refused to comply. He made the choice to be tased; not them to tase him. Some people have pointed out that the taser was unnecessary with six police officers to detain him, however the obvious flipside of that coin would be that six police officers were not able to detain him, so he had to be putting up that much of a fight. He not only continued to fight after they mentioned using a taser on him, but seemed to struggle even more, as if that was his goal the entire time.

The outcome, he knew, would look like he was being tased for asking a question. He would be the victim turned hero of free speech. People have already pointed out that his mic was cut directly after the "Skull and Bones" question, but everyone knows Kerry's stock answer for that is that Skull and Bones is a fraternity, so I think that was just convenient timing. (Chances are he knew how long he could create a scene before they cut his mic; note how quickly he had to blurt out the Skull and Bones question to get it in before his mic was cut. Not only did he not preface it with anything, but his voice distinctly increased in desperation.)

Andrew Meyer was not arrested for asking a question. He was not arrested to be silenced. He did not ask John Kerry anything that had not already been asked of him at one point or another, nor could he honestly expect Kerry to give a different answer than he had given in the past. The difference is that the questions were previously asked of John Kerry in a formal interview in a professional setting and not shouted at him by a half-crazy college student. Andrew Meyer's actions were an embarrassment to the university, to Senator Kerry, and to journalists everywhere. He was asked to be removed from the auditorium most likely to save the university any embarrassment, and his resistance to the police officers was what got his ass tased, not the questions he asked. Tim Russert, for instance, asked Kerry the Skull and Bones question and never got tased. Andrew Meyer acted like an ass and got what he deserved. Likely, he got exactly what he wanted. Don't be fooled.

Also, what the hell is
this? How did anyone figure this out, let alone believe it would be serious or relevant? Some people have too much time on their hands.


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