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Why Authorities Use Excessive Force

by Dennis Loo, Ph.D. Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 at 4:26 AM
ddloo@csupomona.edu

Why authorities and this system cannot avoid using excessive force against dissenters and why this spells the system's doom when the people refuse to be intimidated by state violence.

The UC Davis police’s use of pepper spray a few days ago upon quietly sitting students (including holding students' mouths open and shooting the spray down their throats, producing repeated vomiting) is one of the latest examples of many of police use of excessive and unnecessary force against non-violent dissent from the Occupy movement. The Oakland, Seattle, and Berkeley police, NYPD, and so on, are part of this growing list, which includes the fracturing of Iraq Vet Scott Olsen’s skull by teargas canister in Oakland and the pepper spraying of an 84 year old woman, Dorli Rainey, in Seattle. Some wonder why authorities and police are using such tactics. Here is the problem that is being played out: when people, especially a lot of people, engage in direct action, which is the very essence of democracy (voting doesn’t even come close) and they demand answers and ask uncomfortable, embarrassing, and unanswerable questions of authority and institutions, these institutions and authorities have no real answers to offer. Authorities cannot win through reason and cannot offer rational arguments to defend what they do and how the institutional processes routinely and by their very nature produce unjust outcomes. Authorities will initially try to dispel dissenters with false promises, failing that, insults, failing that, verbal and physical attacks, or some combination of all of the preceding. Read more here.

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