Sargeant Pepperspray is symptomatic of plus ça change. Plus Temple and Penn State here in PA.

Firedoglake has a neat post that shows UC Davis’ infamous Lieutenant Pike in various portraits, macing Jesus and as the Statue of Liberty.

The focus is going to be on the policeman’s act and not on the environment that encouraged him to do what he did. This is maybe wrong. Fact is, students at colleges and universities have been milked for tuition money, loaded up with debt, and then portrayed as “threats” for decades now. And this is the environment that Lt. Pike was operating in.

It goes back to the hippie era of fifty years ago. The right wingers in both the Democratic (then), and now Republican parties have callously portrayed students as these violent risks who are just sucking up resources–except if they are in ROTC or otherwise behaving as a good shill for whatever the politician needs as a prop.

You can’t expect anyone to believe that the Pikes of this world got the attitude on September 17 that students at colleges weren’t to be respected. No, no. This has gone on for some time. What the Occupy Movement is doing is ripping the Band Aid off. It is making clear to a greater membership in the public that many of these schools are wayyyyy out of line.

[Update 11/22/11: Woo hoo! Even more good ones on the meme.]

[Update #2 11/22/11: This event, and the recent Penn State fiasco–which has nothing to do with Occupy but everything to do with a breakdown of law, respect, and respect for all–bring to mind my days at Temple Law School.

As I keep telling people, these police forces attached to colleges occasionally operate as the adminstration’s thugs. They have color of law, and so there is very little you can do, as a student, when you are meeting with an administrator on a personal matter, and all of the sudden there’s law enforcement at the door.

Robert Reinstein and his assistant dean, Adelaide Ferguson, routinely used Temple campus police as bullies. (FYI Adelaide Ferguson was actually Mrs. Alan Lerner. Professor Lerner was a fellow lawyer and good friend of Robert Reinstein, so it’s pretty clear the nepotistic connection that got Adelaide Ferguson a job and career at Temple. Ah yes! Nepotism at Pennsylvania state schools—for another post!)

The thing that people forget, looking at it all through a Hippie Era lens, is that states like Pennsylvania are granting these police powers over to what amounts to a semi-private organization. There is no questioning at the state level, and no accountability for any police activity that happens along the year. No one even questions whether the campus police shouldn’t in fact be a separate arm of the local municipal government—not under the direction of the dean or assistant dean of a school.

The irony of it is, in the Penn State child molestation scandal, the police weren’t there to protect the 10-year-old boy who was assaulted by that football coach. Why? Because the crime didn’t fit the scenario from the Hippie Era of 45 years ago, and the child wasn’t a student presenting a difficult issue to the administration.

The great thing about Occupy is that every week, it is raising a new issue that really forces the rest of the general public—if they have any decency or integrity at all–to begin to address.

We can’t solve all of the nation’s problems in a few months, but there are so many problems that need addressing, and so much where some dialogue is well overdue. Not just politics about whether the top tax rate should be 35% or 39%–or 15%. Or “where is the birth certificate” . . . ]

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