Forty plus years ago, I participated in a number of nonviolent anti-Vietnam war protests at Berkeley. I was among those students who were tear gassed. Had my generation of protesters been as disciplined and as non-violent as these UC Davis students who refused to disperse Friday, I believe our efforts would have been far more successful. I believe that the Vietnam war would have ended much sooner—sparing countless lives. The power of nonviolence is real. If you haven’t already seen the video of John Pike pepper spraying non-violent protesters, you can find it here. I found it quite upsetting to watch, especially the first part. I strongly encourage you to watch this clip all the way to the end. The clip is about eight and a half minutes long. You won’t want to miss the final 90 seconds. It shows the overwhelming power of disciplined nonviolence.
I’m going to guess that many Mindful Heart readers have yet to see this second clip of an assembly of students as the UC Davis Chancellor walks to her car. You see a stunning instance of the deafening power of non-violence.
Two further notes:
I understand that students pay approximately $12,000 each year in tuition. It’s now time to review and reduce the pay of police. According to the Sacramento Bee, last year Police lieutenant, John Pike, was paid—I cannot say he earned—a salary of about $110,000. His salary is a lot higher than those offered to instructors at UC Davis. This in unconscionable. His salary is, in my opinion, well out of proportion to his contribution to the education of the students who pay his salary.
Under California law, the use of pepper spray in California is illegal unless used in self defense. There is NO exception in the law for police. This officer needs to face trial for this crime, along with the others who conspired to commit this assault against the protesters. The District Attorney should do jail time if he refuses to prosecute. California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8)
(g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person