WE LIKE TO WATCH: There are many angles from which to ponder Monday's tasering of a University of Florida student. Ultimately, we think the most interesting angle is that there are literally so many angles of this incident available for viewing.
There are many angles from which to ponder Monday's tasering of a University of Florida student.
Free speech? Widely circulated footage of the incident shows Andrew Meyer, 21, addressing Sen. John Kerry during a question-and-answer session at the university. When interrupted by a police officer, a testy Meyer says, 'I'll ask my question, thank you very much.' A moment later officers yank him from the microphone.
Unnecessary roughness? As officers try to subdue a flailing Meyer, he shouts, 'Are you gonna arrest me? … What did I do?' With Kerry still droning on, officers force Meyer to the ground and shock him with a Taser. He wails in pain before being led off in handcuffs.
Ultimately, we think the most interesting angle is that there are literally so many angles
of this incident available for viewing. Seemingly every other student in the auditorium had a camera or cell phone with which to capture the action. And capture they did, passively holding up their digital devices as Meyer shrieked for help: 'Is anybody watching this?' Everyone's watching now. Videos and still images of the arrest are all over the Internet and cable news stations.
On the one hand, the fact that Florida students recorded this is not a bad thing. Thanks to accessible technology, witnesses can document all sorts of events — riots, arrests, accidents — like modern-day Abe Zapruders. It helps keep the watchers honest when they know they're being watched, too. Also score one for the cause of truth, as these video testimonials leave far less doubt as to what actually transpired, rather than having to rely on he-said, they-said accounts.
On the other hand, no one should doubt the ability of the clever to manipulate even seemingly 'real' events. Beyond that, when do 'citizen journalists' become jaded observers, more concerned with filming something weird to post on YouTube than with actually caring about what's going on? One gets the feeling that had Meyer been on fire, his fellow students might have been too busy filming the flames to put him out.