Tag Archives: violence


Like the title, my time on Oahu was abbreviated.  That said, it didn’t lack substance.  Given that December 30st started with this:

"Going to Hawaii, right..."

“Going to Hawaii, right…”

… it took most of the 6 hour flight from Seattle to convince myself I was going to sleep on a beach in Hawaii without a sleeping bag for the night.

I felt pretty good getting off the plane, and somehow managed to talk the rental car guy into a substantial upgrade from my originally reserved Ford Focus.

Rollin', like I do...

Rollin’, like I do…

My first stop might have been my most important.  I’ve wanted to visit the Pearl Harbor Valor in the Pacific war memorial for quite some time, and it was the only thing I had really planned to do on Oahu.  I visit war memorials a lot.  I think honoring the dead is important.   The Pearl Harbor memorial is well done, and powerful- and I particularly appreciated the fact that it clearly laid out the primarily economic drivers that coerced the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor (and entering WWII) in the first place- they are not dissimilar from our own current circumstances.  I couldn’t hold back the tears while I was there.  Our culture has a problem, more specifically- an addiction, to violence that I find entirely unacceptable.  Maybe, with time and luck, humanity will figure out how to meet it’s needs without killing one another.

Tribute to the 4,560 men KIA, just in the Pacific Submarine Service alone.

Tribute to the 4,560 men KIA, just in the Pacific Submarine Service alone.

Collecting myself, I took an obligatory pass to gawk and the absurdity of Waikiki beach, but followed some beta from the guy I sat next to on the plane and headed to Oahu’s east shore for a more down to earth scene.

Despite a thorough investigation via Yelp, Sunday night is a bad time to try to experience Hawaiian cuisine on the cheap.  That said, fish tacos, an acoustic bass guitar, and a gorgeous beach all to myself were a perfect way to spend the night.  With the time change, I was up plenty early on Monday morning, and around sunrise, I headed for the tallest point I could see.  Makapuu Point was the perfect spot for a healthy little run and some great photos.

East side- love.

East side- love.

The last sunrise of 2012.

The last sunrise of 2012.

After a dip in the ocean, and a few wrong turns, I headed up the Pali Hwy and back to the airport.  I can’t say much for Honolulu as a city- cluttered, dirty, and mostly ugly, but the rest of the place is pretty okay- and I’m certainly glad I poked around a bit before heading south.

Kaneohe, from the Pali Highway.  Worth the drive.

Kaneohe, from the Pali Highway. Worth the drive.


I am reblogging something for the very first time in this space.  I no longer accept violence to be a valid response to anything, but especially not in an academic environment.  Maybe this is old news because I was away for the weekend.  I don’t care. Some might say that if violence continues to happen, our civilization is doomed but I’m quite sure that it is simply a sign that those who use violence will only find the end of their time faster at the hands of the action they inspire.  Police brutality or protestor rioting- it doesn’t matter.  Despite the absolute outrage I feel in reading this tonight, violence is violence and it is unacceptable.  I invite you stand with me in protest of it.


Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Posted on November 19, 2011 by 

18 November 2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Linda P.B. Katehi,

I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.

You are not.

I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:

1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today

2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality

3) to demand your immediate resignation

Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons,hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.

What happened next?

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students.Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.

You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.

On Wednesday November 16, you issued a letter by email to the campus community. In this letter, you discussed a hate crime which occurred at UC Davis on Sunday November 13. In this letter, you express concern about the safety of our students. You write, “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.” You write, “while these are turbulent economic times, as a campus community, we must all be committed to a safe, welcoming environment that advances our efforts to diversity and excellence at UC Davis.”

I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis: 1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or 2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked? Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”

I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.

Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.

I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.


Nathan Brown
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Program in Critical Theory
University of California at Davis