Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm super excited for the holidays. This is definitely my favorite time of the year because I get to spend it with my family. I love making Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, shopping for presents, doing Secret Santa with my cousins, and staying up late on movie night with my aunts and uncles. It's the happiest time of the year for me. I also really love the Christmas songs. I mean, "'tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la." Who doesn't love that?
Well, even though I'm getting excited about the holidays, I'm finding that 'tis not really the season to be jolly. As much as I'm trying to get totally engulfed in the holiday spirit, something on the news has gotten stuck in my mind and that's what I really want to write about -- the kids getting pepper-sprayed at UC Davis.
When I first heard about this, I was kinda confused. I didn't really know what they were doing and why they got pepper-sprayed. In fact, I'm still a little bit confused. Here's the story as I know it. Please correct me if I have it wrong.
Basically, the student protestors set up an unauthorized campsite on the campus and were told to have it removed by 3:00 p.m. They were protesting because the university wants to increase tuition by 81 percent, which will make tuition 150 percent of what it was in 2009.
Because it's a public university, students find this unacceptable. Probably because along with the increased tuition, there will be pay cuts for the professors and fewer courses offered. I mean, if the money was going to the professors and to more courses, then maybe the students would be fine with it. But it's not going to either of those things. So where is the money going? I don't know.
Some of the protestors complied with the time restriction, but many didn't. At 3:30, the riot squad came in and surrounded the students. They grabbed three or four and placed them under arrest.
The rest of the protestors formed a circle around the arrested students so that the police could not actually take them into custody.
Several minutes later, a couple of the officers stepped over the students so that they were outside the circle. Then, they sprayed the students with pepper-spray at close range because, supposedly, they were preventing the officers from leaving the circle.
I'm confused because the lieutenant WAS able to get out of the circle; that's how he got in the position to spray them. So why was the justification for spraying them that they "couldn't leave the circle"? It doesn't make any sense to me.
I think the spraying was completely brutal and unnecessary, and I hope the students are going to be OK.
Now, back to Thanksgiving...
When I'm thinking about all the things that I have to be thankful for this season, I'm thankful for my family, I'm thankful for my friends, and I'm thankful that we live in a country where people have the right to express their opinions and beliefs, a place where students can peacefully protest against their school policies without the fear of being harmed by their government.