20 November 2011

Regarding the events at UC Davis

On November 18, 2011, students and faculty of the University of California Davis joined in protest of tuition increases, and to stand in solidarity with the victims of alleged police brutality that took place at UC Berkley on November 8, 2011, as well as the worldwide Occupy movement. The students participating in the November 18 protest are seen seated in an open area on campus, covering a section of sidewalk and peacefully assembling. The police, wearing riot gear and carrying clubs as well as pepper spray and tear gas guns, were dispatched by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi when protesters refused to dismantle tents set up in the quad the previous day. The protesters formed a circle around the law enforcement officers and sat down, linking arms and refusing to move. According to UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, the protesters were putting the officers in danger, stating "There was no way out of that circle. They were cutting the officers off from their support. It's a very volatile situation."

The protesters, many of them with their backs turned to the law enforcement officers, proceeded to engage in chants, shouting "You use weapons! We use our voice!" Tensions begin to rise as police are seen preparing cans of pepper spray and communicating via radio. Students, aware of the impending events, chant "Don't you do it!" and begin distributing scarves and bandannas to the seated protesters in an attempt to protect the demonstrators from the impending use of force. Police officers approach the protesters from both sides, and Lieutenant John Pike is seen stepping over the line of demonstrators, turning around to face them, and spraying pepper spray in the face of those seated. Chaos breaks out as the police begin to make their arrests and retreat, followed by the protesters and chants of "Shame on you!" coming from what appears to be hundreds of students. These were peaceful demonstrators.

Alleged police brutality against UC Davis students, November 18

The events of November 18 are not unlike a similar event in the history of civil disobedience in California. In January 2002, The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (coincidentally the same circuit in which the events at UC Davis transpired) held a hearing known today as Headwaters Forest Defense v. The County of Humboldt in which nine protesters alleged that the use of excessive force was employed against them by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. (For the sake of brevity, only one of  three similar instances will be mentioned in this article, the complete facts of the case can be found here). The protesters, speaking out against the logging of ancient Redwood trees, staged a demonstration in which they sat inside the headquarters of the Pacific Lumber Company, and after repeated warnings from the police to leave, the protesters refused. The law enforcement officers then proceeded to apply pepper spray with a Q-tip to the eyelids of the demonstrators and after an hour and "multiple" applications, the protesters were lifted by the police, placed onto stretchers, and carried out of the building, a process that took two officers only six minutes to accomplish.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office began using pepper spray beginning in the fall of 1997, and its use was to be specifically for "hostile or violent subjects". The events of Headwaters Forest Defense v. The County of Humboldt marked the first use of pepper spray in Humboldt County, the State of California, and the first time anywhere in the country against nonviolent protesters.
Humboldt County Sheriff Dennis Lewis and Chief Deputy Sheriff Gary Philip were acquitted in district court on the grounds of qualified immunity, which states that government officials are shielded from liability for civil damages as long as their conduct does not violate specific statutory or constitutional rights.

The appellate court, however, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that Lewis and Philip were not entitled to qualified immunity, and their acts violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the protesters. The United States Supreme Court court granted certiorari, vacating the judgment of the appellate court, and remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court reviewed the case again and reaffirmed its conclusion that Lewis and Philip are not entitled to qualified immunity and the protester's constitutional rights were violated.

The factors that determine the amount of force used by law enforcement officers include the severity of the crime, the immediate safety of the officers as well as bystanders, and whether the suspect was actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. In both the cases, the charges against both parties are of little severity. The charges being brought against the demonstrators at UC Davis amount to failure to disperse and lodging without permission of the owner, both misdemeanors. The protesters of Headwaters Forest Defense v. The County of Humboldt and November 18 at UC Davis did not endanger the immediate safety of the officers and bystanders were at no risk whatsoever, conflicting with the quote of UC Davis Police Chief Spicuzza. The officers demonstrated their belief that they were in no danger, turning their backs to the crowd on multiple occasions. Also, in both cases, the protesters were seated, obviously posing no flight risk. Furthermore, the protesters were separated and handcuffed within minutes, although undoubtedly expedited by the use of force, the law enforcement officers could have easily accomplished this without it.

When Police Chief Spicuzza stated "there was no way out of that circle", was that truly accurate? Were they, in fact, "cut off from their support"? Did the peaceful demonstrators create a "volatile situation"? One witness testimony stated the irritant caused a woman to cough blood for forty-five minutes after Lieutenant Pike began spraying. Was this an appropriate and justifiable use of force?

The acts of Sheriff Lewis and Chief Deputy Philip were not entitled to qualified immunity.

The acts of Chancellor Katehi, Police Chief Spicuzza, Lieutenant Pike and the UC Davis Campus Police are now under investigation.

Using the "Human Microphone" tactic, the protesters were able to deliver one final message as the police retreated from the quad.
"This is how they react to peaceful assembly. We will resume conversation Monday at noon. Join our strength."
I look forward to the evolution of the Occupy Davis movement, stand in solidarity with the members of Occupy Davis, and hope the UC Davis administration and police force handle further confrontations legally and peacefully.

I know the subject matter of this blog is usually much more lighthearted, but this was something I felt that I needed to post.

16 November 2011

King of the Beach

I went to Puerto Rico last summer.
Aside from the benefits of being able to legally drink, the place was fucking gorgeous.
We climbed waterfalls and ziplined over rivers through the jungle canopy.
I ate fresh tropical fruit straight from the tree.
To get to such a location, we took a long drive that literally brought us up the face of a mountain.
On our way out, we stopped at what the locals and guides call "downtown", a central location to the sparsely populated groups of people living in those mountains. It consisted of nothing more than a cantina and small convenience store.
My brother met the town drunk.
He had a bunch of hats.
Later that week, my family and I made a trip to El Yunque National Forest. While my family took a trek to get to a waterfall crowded with tourists, I chose to investigate the tributaries by myself.
This is what I saw.


14 November 2011

Remember that night? Halloween 2009

After reminiscing about this night with friends earlier today, I got nostalgic and looked up some old shit.
Halloween 2009.
One of my favorite pictures ever, even though I didn't meter the right spot.
My mom gave him that costume.
Isaac still makes that face.
In retrospect, three cross-dressing French maids in one night may have been a bit of overkill.
Found this gem just recently.

Memorable night.
Now for the perennial music post.
This is what I was just starting to listen to.

11 November 2011

Because it's 5:30 a.m. and I'm still awake

I have a glowstick.
Look what I did.

Obligatory glowing cock.
Choppin' up punk-ass bitches with a radioactive katana. Just another day in the life.
That's the name of my blog.
Music one listens to while playing with glowsticks.

09 November 2011

Foxy Shazam and grilled cheese donuts

Catching one of the nation's most entertaining live music performances and eating the definition of absurd, delicious, artery-clogging food makes for a generally good fucking awesome weekend.

We met up with past acquaintances and I soon found myself eating hot dinner rolls with honey and giggling at episodes of Adventure Time while witnessing Nick fuck up the nuances of the gentlemanly art of pipe smoking.
Season 2, Episode 6: "Slow Love"
Above: The gentlemanly art of pipe smoking, as demonstrated by Nicholas Southall.

It was Saturday night. We got motivated, drove downtown and walked inside the small restaurant only minutes before close.
The staff wasn't too excited to see six salivating youths giddy with excitement for their original and delicious grilled cheese donut, but they kindly took our order and we sat at a table, impatiently waiting for our food to come.
This is where things get tough to describe.
The sandwich that I built consisted of a glazed donut, Brie, macaroni, and smoked turkey.
It was a religious experience.

Pictured: A religious experience.
The donut glaze was grilled to a perfect golden brown and the ammoniated Brie flavor was lost in the grilling process leaving behind a pliable, creamy cheese paired with the grilled donut that gave the entire sandwich the delightful scent of fresh funnel cake and hot sex.
As I took my first bite into this monstrosity, my favorite Neon Indian song began to play over the restaurant's speakers.
Terminally Chill indeed.

Around the table, clockwise: Codee, Conor, Brooker, Tyler, Nick. Make sure to check out Tom + Chee next time you're in Cincinnati!
Fast forward 24 hours.
The only important thing that happened in the omitted timeframe was breakfast pizza.
We arrive at Bogart's and make our way towards the stage. Nick and Conor strike up casual conversation with a guy near us, complimenting him on his beard. (He turns out to be none other than Foxy's keyboard player, Schuyler Vaughan White)
Foxy takes the stage and goes right into their setlist, kicking it off with "Oh Lord", a powerful song with blasting horns and falsetto notes that show off lead singer Eric Nally's impressive vocal range.
Foxy Shazam is known for their extreme performances, and the band definitely lived up to the reputation. Nally defied venue policy by lighting up three cigarettes and subsequently eating them while they were still lit.
But Nally didn't stop there.
During a guitar solo of bandmate Loren Daniel Turner, Nally vaulted himself onto Turner's shoulders and basically fucked the back of his head.
Some memorable quotes from the performance include:
"This song is about being caught between a bed and a whole lot of woman."
"Every time I feel like I've hit rock bottom, some asshole hands me a shovel and says, 'Keep digging.'"
"Rock and Roll may be dead but that doesn't mean we can't dance with their fucking ghosts."

I saw one of the most entertaining shows I've ever been to and did it with some of the best guys I know.
It was a damn good weekend.

07 November 2011

Peter Sibicky eating a danish (for lack of a better title)

Holy shit I'm tired.
If you didn't know, I've just returned to Athens from a weekend trip to Cincinnati where I ate grilled cheese donuts and and watched these guys perform live.
More on those things later.
For now, here's a picture of Peter Sibicky eating what appears to be a danish.

03 November 2011

There goes a rainbow

How can I sum up this day.
"The day we took Hirschfield's dad's bow, taped a bottlerocket to an arrow and shot it at a couch."
Actually I think that does it.
Also, we listened to this and cooked hot dogs.

02 November 2011

That awkward moment where you realize 100% of your blog posts mention Nick Southall

After reminiscing over the previous pictures of Nick, I remembered some cool shit that I want to relay to my (0) readers in a nice, bulleted list.
  • Mrs. Unroe yelled at me for featuring too many pictures of Nick in the Halloween issue of The Original. (Shoutout to Mrs. Unroe)
  • After the Halloween dance, I left with classmate who offered me drugs for the first time. I denied it. (Shoutout to my mom)
  •  Nick is wearing a scarf that I used in my Halloween costume last weekend. (Shoutout to my Halloween costume)
tl;dr, Nick rocked hipster shit before hipster shit was hipster shit.
Go Nick.

What is this I don't even

Nick Southall, DJ.
Pictures taken November 1, 2008.
Dig it.