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Occupy Freedom

Updated on March 11, 2012
Occupy Freedom
Occupy Freedom

This is Unamerican and Everyone Should Be Outraged

The Events at UC Davis

Davis, California is a sleepy little college town about 11 miles west of Sacramento. It is home to one of the University of California college campus, namely UC Davis. UC Davis is known as a great agricultural school with a high reputation for its engineering and other departments as well. It is one of the most respected universities in California if not the country even if it is not well known. Unfortuntly, now, it will also be known for something else: it is home to a brutal police force that pepper sprayed and beat a large number of students for their audacity to sit arm and arm in solidarity with another UC campus where the police used brutal force to remove students from their protest. What started as a peaceful protest at the UC Davis quad turned into a near riot started by the police at the direction of the head of the University. And the worst part is their is no real outrage for the administration's actions or those by the police. In fact most people blame the students for their conduct. What happened to free speech and right to assemble? It is time that everyone starts to Occupy Freedom again or we will lose and we will lose it in the name of health of safety. For the record health and safety is always used to deny freedom and it is always done with thunderous applause.

Explain to me please Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi what threat these students pose to health and safety
Explain to me please Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi what threat these students pose to health and safety

A Matter of Fairness: The Chancellor's Defense

Back to Basics Please

So what has happened to America? Both the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought to light an alarming trend in America: Americans and specifically those Americans who are elected leaders no longer want to be bothered with protests. Yes, my fellow liberals, I included the Tea Party movement as well. There might not have been pepper spray used against them but they were just as denied access as the Occupy Movement.

The 1st Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." One of the basic foundations of the United States is that when the people are unhappy about the government they have the right to peacefully protest to voice their discontent. This is a right that is inherent as American, not one granted by the government. What the Constitution states is that the government cannot abridge, or limit, this right. The Bill of Rights was written to ensure that the government did not abridge the most fundamental rights that inherently belong to the people. It was not written, as many seem to believe regardless of political affiliation, as a list rights granted by the government. If these rights were granted by the government, then they could be taken away by the government. That is not how it supposed to work.

1st Amendment Should Mean Something
1st Amendment Should Mean Something

Back to the Students

So Americans always gloat about their rights and how they have the right to say anything they want without retribution. So what exactly made that line of students at UC Davis different to the point where the police felt they needed to be doused with pepper spray? What exactly about them just sitting is a line on the ground made them a threat to health and safety? I surely hope you are as outraged as I am about that scene?

Yet so many blame the students. So many say "stop whining about tuition." So many are piecing apart their argument about tuition hikes. So many are trying to divide the students and the faculty from being a united group. So many are missing the point.

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi cannot protect the health and safety of students if she orders the police to remove those same students by force.
Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi cannot protect the health and safety of students if she orders the police to remove those same students by force.
Freedom of Assembly is an Inherent Right and not something that can be taken away by the Government without consequence.
Freedom of Assembly is an Inherent Right and not something that can be taken away by the Government without consequence.

Freedom Has Consequences

One of the consequences of living in a free society is that we all have to allow those we do not agree with say things that make our blood boil. Free speech means that somebody can say something in a public forum without fear of retribution from our government. And yes, Freedom of Assembly means that we have to allow people to peacefully assemble even if we think their cause is wrong, immoral or just plain silly. To truly live in a free society we have to allow ourselves to be inconvenienced from time to time when some of our fellow citizens want to express their beliefs.

But their appears to be a growing consensus that convenience matters more than our freedoms. In cities all over the Country the occupy wall street protestors are being forcibly removed because the cities don't want to deal with them anymore. They are becoming a nuisance to the very government they are protesting. Protests by their very definition are meant to inconvenient. The point of a protest is to call attention to a grievance against the government. And, according to the Constitution, as long as the protest is is being peaceably conducted, there is nothing the government can do about it. The people have an inherent right to peacefully protest Chancellor Katehi. Your excuse of trying to protect the health and safety of the students cannot justify ordering the police to use brutal force against the students to remove them when all they are doing is sitting in protest. The fact that you are tired of students complaining does not justify having the police shut them up. The students have the right to sit there, arm in arm, and make a grievance against your administration. You have the right to stand at a podium and tell them you are wrong. You have no right to hide in your office and order the police to pepper spray your own students. YOU MUST RESIGN.

I am just an average citizen who is outraged by the fact that the police are using brutal force to deny 1st Amendment rights and nobody seems to care.
I am just an average citizen who is outraged by the fact that the police are using brutal force to deny 1st Amendment rights and nobody seems to care.

I Am Outraged

I am not an Occupy Wall Street person. Frankly, I am not sure what Occupy Wall Street wants, what they are against, what they are for. I frankly do not understand them.

I am not a Tea Party Member, In fact, I disagree on almost everything the Tea Party stands for.

I am not a member of the ACLU. I am not a member of the Ku Klux Klan. I am just an average American trying to pay my bills, raise my kids and enjoy my life. I try to stay informed like any good citizen does but I do not get overly involved in politics. But the way the police have thrown about their batons and fired pepper spray in the faces of protesters makes me angry. More so, the way other Americans cheer when the police stop the inconvenient protesters is an outrage. Every group, including every group above, has a right to peacefully protest. And the fact that people cheer that they are told to shut up only proves the point: Every democracy ends with applause from the masses. That is why the right to protest is so important. We all better start occupying freedom and soon, or we will wonder what went wrong when it is gone.


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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Very fair point Dolores. I have noticed that too.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      When the other side protests, they call it patriotism. When protesters fill the streets in the Middle East, it's a cry for democracy. But when the OWS people do it, they are called commies and dirty bums too lazy to look for work. Funny thing that.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Fair point progressivist,

      Its not just the Occupy movement that is getting this treatment. Look at Union members in Wisconsin, and even to some extent, tea party protests.

      Now, I don't agree with the Tea Party, but I would defend their right to have a peaceful protest as much as the students at UC Davis, so long as I could stand on the other side of the street protesting them, peaceably. That is the point. If no one is allowed to protest, we all lose.

      Thanks for reading

    • progressivist profile image


      7 years ago

      Indeed, the cities are banding together against the Occupy protesters and trying to make it impossible for them to protest, which is completely the wrong move. Protest is like a pressure valve. Take away the ability of the pressure to escape, and we all know what we end up with.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      GA Anderson,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am very familiar with the nuances of time, place and manner lines of authority regarding the right to assemble. Didn't want to make this a legal argument because the legal side of me lost out to the angry side. But the point is still the same, when government makes the time, place and manner of protests almost impossible, then it is an abrigement of rights. And in many cities, that is what is happening. The government is not approving any permits because they don't want to deal with it and not for any reasons relating to health and safety. That is a problem.

      As for this case, I attached the video to let the reader to make up their own mind. I think the video speaks for itself. Those kids were just sitting there and they were sprayed to the point where it reminded me of the fire hoses during the Civil Rights movement. Not saying this movement is akin to the Civil Rights movement, but the police reaction was very similiar.

    • GA Anderson profile image

      ga anderson 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      @bgpappa - great job illustrating an abuse of authority.

      The police and the admin that called them are way off-base, and, since I am speaking only from the info you have presented - so this is qualified - the rights of those kids do appear to have been abridged.

      but.... although you are correct in applying it in this case, your blanket explanation of our right to assemble, is too general - and potentially wrong.

      there are legitimate qualifiers to that right. You should look a little deeper. I did an article on this very issue, but you don't have to read mine, there is a ton of valid information available.

      I agree with your points and the thrust of your anger. It would be a disappointment to see someone try to invalidate your opinion by rightly correcting your description of our right to assemble.


    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Agreed Ralph, Agreed.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Despicable brutality by the police lieutenant.


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