Even though I’ve expressed a small bit of sympathy for their motives, I’m not a fan of the OWS protesters. But other than sharing some jokes about the movement (see here, here, here, here, here, and here), I haven’t had much to say.
But this video showing a clash with police at UC Davis is rather troubling.
I realize that I don’t know the context, but the police reaction seems rather excessive. Two questions spring to mind.
1. Why does anyone care that they’re blocking a sidewalk? I can understand that the police have to act if protesters decide to block a street,but why was there a need to have a big confrontation (one that the protesters obviously wanted) to clear a sidewalk? My instinct would be to leave them alone.
2. Why did they use mace? Surely there ought to be some rule of proportionality. If a bunch of protesters are smashing windows or overturning cars, then a more aggressive response obviously is needed. But why use pepper spray on some college kids sitting on a sidewalk?
I consider myself a tough-on-crime conservative, but mixed with a strong libertarian belief in individual rights. As I said in an earlier post, the real key is to make sure laws are just.