Monday, December 5, 2011

Open Letter To Roanoke College

December 4, 2011

Open Letter To Roanoke College:

My understanding is that your policy manuals do not specifically prohibit the school’s police/security department from initiating violence in the event of student protests. Given the way some colleges have been behaving lately, would it be too much for you to formally address the issue?

At the bottom of this letter are two website links that you should see. The first one is a video that shows police methodically smashing fellow human beings in the ribs and stomachs with batons. These peaceful protesters, students from the University of California at Berkeley, were exercising their right to free speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. This type of non-violent rebellion led to women’s rights, ended American apartheid, and stopped the Vietnam War. These are good things, yes?

This time, if I had to sum up the many things being protested across the country in just a few words, then I would say the goal is the separation of business and state, (like we separated church and state). This is also a good thing, yes?

Let us go right to the heart of matter by way of analogy…

We can begin by saying the students, all of them beloved children to somebody, were wrong for being so stubborn. I do not believe that, but even if you start with that premise, you still lose the argument to use such violence against peacefulness…

Imagine that your own children and some of their friends were upset with your behavior and decided to sit on your driveway and refused to move, which resulted in you being unable to drive your car. You then discussed the issue but neither side would change their minds. At that point, instead of getting your friends to drag them off to their rooms, you had your friends come over with bats and smashed them in the ribs and stomachs until they were bruised, bloodied and throwing up.

The second video link shows more beloved children, this time being gassed at the University of California in Davis. Note that the expression “pepper spray” is a doublespeak term to make potentially lethal poison sound like it’s only mildly annoying. In fact, pepper spray is like mace, 500 times stronger than cayenne pepper and is nothing less than gas warfare. The result of this police brutality was that some of the students were hospitalized. (To digress a moment… Side effects often last for months and in some cases permanent nerve damage or respiratory ailments result. There is also a risk of fatal allergic reactions, similar to how some people react to nuts or shellfish, which can lead to death by asphyxiation. Dozens of fatalities have been documented now, hundreds more are suspected.)

So the question to Roanoke College administrators is this: If you are ever in a similar situation as the California universities, how will you treat your students? And if you cannot immediately say that you will never do what California did, then I have another question: If your children happen to inconvenience me, or maybe they sass me, am I then permitted to smash them with clubs and hose them with poison? And claim the ambulance they left in was deserved?

If you were those California college administrators that authorized those attacks, what should be done with you? Continuing my use of the earlier metaphor, the answer is that you are unfit to be a parent. You are a violent criminal and your children should be taken away. You even gassed your children with a product the military classifies as a weapon. You are unfit for society. You should go to jail!

It is the duty of every college administration to stand up for the beloved children they have been entrusted to teach and protect. Why do you stand on the sidelines Roanoke College? Where’s your outrage and indignation? You are giving tacit approval to violent assault. Are we to become a police state like China, or someday even like Nazi Germany? It is a cowardly and dying society that will not tolerate dissent. Wouldn’t any parent be a fool to think that their children have nothing to say? And even if the students had been wrong, this fact will always remain: It is an abomination for parents to cause hospitalization of their peaceful children, to gas and beat them into submission for having a different opinion than their own!

By saying and doing nothing, Roanoke College forfeits the right to call itself an institution of higher learning. Speak up! Condemn the actions of California’s violent police state behavior. Then make it official college policy that you will never resort to “first strike” violence on peaceful student protest. You are not visionary mentors or even adequate teachers when you tolerate such violent abuses by your peers. What you are is sycophants to the status quo and you care more about your paychecks than doing what’s right.

Dave Gresham
Hardy, VA

Berkeley students assaulted by police.
Davis students gassed by police.