There was a great disturbance this weekend. Every Gator felt it, and it showed during the football game on Saturday. The team struggled more than the three previous weeks combined. Urban Meyer will look to the footage, but the real problem is much easier to pinpoint.
The outrage over Monday's incident at the Sen. John Kerry lecture has gone as far as inspiring protests on campus. Students are livid about the actions of the University Police Department.
When I saw the aftermath of the police Taser incident, I thought to myself, something is not right. Why has this occurrence become such a huge cause to fight for? Why is this student getting all this attention?
It is true I am a retired University Police Department officer. It is also true I am a Gator graduate (class of 1975), and I can see things from a student perspective as well as from a law enforcement perspective.
It would be an understatement to say we're glad it's Friday. This all Andrew Meyer, all the time coverage has just about driven us here in the Department of Darts & Laurels over the edge. But nonetheless, we're here for this week's recap of Tasergate. So read on, brave souls. If you don't, we might Taser you. Enjoy this week's "Don't Tase me, bro" edition of…
Just when you believed civilization to be crumbling down around yo, confirmed by all of the fighting, hatred and Tasering going on all over the world nowadays, a magnificent technological breakthrough comes along to lift everyone's spirits. The beacon of hope I am referring to is the Virtual Hills.
It seems ridiculous that party lines have been drawn already. Those supporting Meyer are "Krishna-Lunch-eating, college-aged hippies," and those not supporting him are creating a police state. All this along the lines clearly marked on your voting ballots to be cast in a year.
Torture, brutality, injustice. These are only some of the words being used to describe Monday's spat. I had a lot of reservations to overcome in writing this, knowing full well that the reaction Meyer has received locally and nationally is right up his sadistic alley. For being a punk, he has become something of a martyr.
The tagging of the Dahlem memorial is one of the most disgusting acts of self-righteousness I have seen in my time spent at UF. I am embarrassed for the student body. This display of ignorance surely reflects poorly on the caliber of students at this university. As someone who disagrees with the actions of the University Police Department on Monday, I am appalled that students would take their frustrations out in such a disrespectful manner. Have your protests, make your signs, stand up for what you believe, but do so in a way that proves the young people of today aren't the self-righteous, spoiled punks with something to prove that we're made out to be. Stay classy, Gainesville.
Whatever all of this is, it isn't a debate about free speech. Accent shutting off Meyer's microphone violates free speech no more than your professor cutting you off in class. Just as a classroom discussion proceeds according to a protocol set by the teacher of hand-raising and turn-waiting, so too does a speech at an Accent-sponsored event follow a protocol set by the university: a protocol that stipulates, among other things, that questioners approach the microphone orderly, that they wait their turn to speak and that when and if they speak, they do so calmly and without profanity.
After reading Thursday's Letters to the Editor about Tasergate, I must say kudos to the Alligator for allowing both sides to be heard and kudos to many in the student body for seeing the truth. I would think a telecommunication senior like Meyer would understand that it's not about what you say, but often about how you say it.
Disgusting. Sometimes it's difficult to think of a good word for something you observe, but disgusting is just perfect. The 34th Street Wall has often been a source of distraction for me, but today I stopped and turned my hazards on. Who would do something so … disgusting?
Meyer is no victim. I first came in contact with Meyer in fall 2004. Disgruntled that he was passed over and I was chosen as the Alligator's humor columnist that semester, he set about ranting about me on his personal Web site. He spent that semester dissecting my weekly columns and writing about what a horrible writer I was. He was my "biggest fan."
Such brutality as conducted by the campus police at the Kerry event shows that campus Police Chief Linda Stump is either culpable for their behavior because she ordered the excessive force or gave permission for it, or she is out of control of her officers.
I was present for Meyer's incident and have to say that the police were 100 percent right in their actions. He was acting extremely aggressive and being very loud and disruptive, growing angry right from the beginning. He seemed to be almost provoking the officers as well. This was not in any way an issue of free speech. Mr. Meyer was not Tasered because of anything that he said. He was Tasered because he was violently resisting arrest. Contrary to rumors, he was not handcuffed while being Tasered. He was Tasered so he could be handcuffed. He was also given repeated warnings that if he did not calm down and comply with the officers, he would be Tasered.