yeah, i live here. sigh.

Yeah, so if you haven’t, please watch the video. It’s quite likely to annoy you and perhaps disturb you, maybe on multiple levels, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

So, UF is all abuzz over this. Apparently, the thing made the Today show, the front page on AOL.com, and has gotten its fair share of media attention. I totally get it. It seems a sexy story–kid wants to ask Kerry a question, kid gets his civil rights all trampled on because the campus police try to stifle his right to speak his mind, they brutally taser him in order to keep him quiet.

As sexy as that version is, it’s not really what happened at all.

What you may not know is that Q&A had already ended. Kerry was attempting to move on with his speech, and this kid wanted to ask 14 insipid questions that made no sense. He kept going on and on and on…with no merciful end in sight…and then, when campus security attempted to escort him from the microphone once they got the signal from someone else, he resisted arrest with the fury of a thousand drunk undergrads.

What exactly were they SUPPOSED to do? He was attempted to run away from them, he would not be subdued, he was screaming “help” before they even really touched him.

Exactly what would be the better option? To let him walk out of there, to let him get away with resisting police officers and causing a monumental disturbance because he is a huge egocentric blowhard?

I think not.

But, of course, there is one big fat brouhaha a brewin’. Rumor has it that there was a protest march from the Plaza of the Americas to UPD to demand not only that the officers involved be suspended, but that tasers be removed from UPD usage and that the charges against the kid be dropped.

Don’t be alarmed. People march here for everything. They march so much that when I see a march, I’m not even surprised. Amused, sometimes, yes. Surprised? No.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the hugest believer in nonviolent protest. I have huge respect for people who stand by their beliefs and do what they can, no matter how small their sphere of influence, to speak out. If people are genuinely alarmed at what happened, by all means…please protest.

But I really don’t think that’s the case here.

See, UF tends to be a bandwagon school. It’s like they’re itching for something to get all worked up about, something to protest. I want to call it the Election 2000 syndrome–once you feel shafted, it’s almost like a chronic pain that flares up when there’s scandal in the air.  Whenever anything happens here, there’s a march. Or a protest. Or someone sending up-in-arms emails to the entire department about how our rights are being violated. Or someone showing their face on TV, all righteously indignant about something.

Listen, life’s too short.

Do I get shafted as a grad student? Absolutely. I, frankly, would expect nothing less. It makes no (fiscal or pedagogical) sense for my university to actually pay me what I’m worth right now and, on a more eternal scale, it’s good for me to struggle and try to earn my way to where I want to be someday. If it all came easy, I wouldn’t appreciate it.

That said, I’m glad for the union that agitates for me to get my meager raises and the huge blessing of health coverage.  But they don’t march down Museum Road with signs. They work quietly, skillfully, subtly through the channels available to them.

And they get results.

Do I think that the University Police are ridiculous? Sometimes. I think it’s preposterous that our campus speed limit is 20 mph. I think that some of them like to give out tickets for ridiculous reasons. I wish that there were not quite so many of them everywhere.

But I also think that they are just people doing their job, doing the best that they can do. And what rankles me is the potential for two of them to go down for a policy they had no power to make or change just because Matt Lauer is talking about it on NBC.

I just wish everybody would just take a deep breath and consider the whole thing logically.

But instead, there are protests, 50 emails from the Administration, angry phone calls from parents (really?  this is college!), and a myriad of Facebook groups supporting the idiot who resisted arrest.

Welcome to Florida.

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