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Taser-happy cops silence free speech

So a college kid asks John Kerry about his membership in Skull and Bones and lands up

So a college kid asks John Kerry about his membership in Skull and Bones and lands up getting Tasered.

From the reaction in the media and especially around the world you’d have thought this was some kind of rare event.

Far from it: it’s the new face of how law and order handles dissent in the good old U.S. of A under George W. Bush.

So now University of Florida student Andrew Meyer will recover from his Taser burn and night in jail to face charges of ‘inciting a riot.’ That, in itself, is remarkable since most of the students sat on their hands while Kerry made a joke about it all.

They were good little boys and girls whom the university taught well.

As for Tasers, well, cops love Tasers—they add that extra element of sadistic fun to an otherwise boring arrest. If you look at the video, you can see the glee on the face of one cop as the taser is applied.

I mean you really though that repeated Tasering of that UCLA student in the campus library for not having his I.D. (papers please!) last November might have changed something in the manner force is applied?

Remember all of his screaming? Ah, yeah, the cameras moved on, the police were scolded and everyone forgot.

This is who we are at this point in history, true.

But again, my point to the Canadian and international readers of rabble is that this isn’t anything special.

For instance, take the leg-breaking fun the U.S. Capitol Police had with soon to be ex-Air Force Chaplain Lennox Yearwood outside a Senate gallery where General William Petraeus was about to deliver his White House-scripted lies.

Before it was all done Cindy Sheehan and others were arrested in the hallway and former U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright had also been arrested for speaking out during a hearing.

But there’s much more out there thanks to the fearless journalists of YouTube who are doing the job mainstream journalists should be doing but are too afraid to try.

During the recent peace march on Washington, an intrepid photojournalist at WhyNotNews caught a slew of arrests of people who committed such heinous crimes as reciting the First Amendment of the Constitution in a public place.

I can understand that the rest of the civilized world might be shocked by these incidents but it really hasn’t been all that long down the historical timetable since Bull Connor and his famous dogs and fire hoses. Imagine how Connor’s cops would have loved using tasers!

Official violence has a long and very distinguished pedigree in America. Any serious reading of our history (not the kind taught in schools) will reveal countless incidents of official brutality against those who spoke truth to power.

The new tactics and methodology do insure, in all fairness, that the body count of the dead is dramatically lower than the good old days of Pinkerton gunfire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But those new tactics also ensure more widespread nets are cast around dissenters and more people are arrested and cast into the unemployable margins of American life.

Most Americans aren’t like Cindy Sheehan. An arrest in a protest could forever tarnish your record, hurt your credit rating, get you on a no fly list and make that corner office unreachable. Such is enough to keep the average person’s mouth shut.

And should you think the U.S. doesn’t have a cadre of brownshirts in waiting check out the comments of any of the YouTube videos or the media outlets that have areas for comment. You won’t have to scroll long to find people who believe that Mayer, Yearwood, Sheehan and their ‘ilk’ should have been beaten to a pulp.

Remember that UCLA tasering? Michelle Malkin and her merry band of fascists seem positively giddy about justifying it. Its all a liberal plot, of course.

Of course many of these upstanding citizens don’t believe that at any time for very little provocation, they too can be on the receiving end of American justice dispensed at street level. Why just the other day, a Roseland, Indiana council member was pummeled by a local cop in full view of cameras.

Seriously folks, there’s an Internet treasure trove of these incidents from sea to shining sea and they happen literally every day in the land of the once free.

It could happen to you, it could happen to me. And more often than not, not enough people are willing to convict police for these actions, perhaps out of fear of reprisals.

The lesson is simple: keep your mouth shut in both the halls of Congress, public universities AND in City Hall in America 2007 or suffer the consequences.

Increasingly public free speech is for the people who sign the paycheques of those who police us.

Keith Gottschalk

Keith Gottschalk

U.S. Keith Gottschalk has written for daily newspapers in Iowa, Illinois and Ohio. He also had a recent stint as a radio talk show host in Illinois. As a result of living in the high ground...