Watch the video above to see happened last week at Keene High School, a government-run school. Now, I’d like you to pause and consider a few things:
- If you did this to your child at home, do you think this would rise to the level of assault? Do you think if a cop saw you doing this to your child, say, in a public parking lot, you might get arrested? If YOU couldn’t or shouldn’t get away with this sort of behavior, why would you condone this assault from an armed government agent in a school?
- Let’s assume for the sake of argument the kid was rude to the officer in the minutes before the video started. Do you tackle your child from behind and smash him to the floor every time he is rude to you? Is this the type of response you would like anyone to make when your child has his or her back turned and is walking away? Remember, in NH, the AG’s office has ruled law enforcement can shoot someone in the back when they are fleeing and kill them, and that this is “justified.” If you wouldn’t let anyone else get away with this, you should x1000 not let a government agent authorized to use lethal force get away with it.
- If the rationale for this sort of behavior is that we need to “save” children from vaping, do you think this level of violent response is OK to stop someone’s personal, peaceful, behavior, or do you think perhaps the LEO overreacted? If he overreacted, should he be held accountable, or should we just sweep this, like tens of other similar incidences, under the rug of “awful things we let happen in ‘our’ schools; *Shrug*”?
- The inevitable “spin” from Keene Police Chief Russo as quoted in today’s Union Leader boils down to their classic Nazi Nuremberg defense: “The officer was just following orders.” Chief Russo stated, “It looks like it was a legal use of force that followed our procedure,” and, “It doesn’t appear to violate our policies or state statute.”
Please note these nifty catch phrases are specifically designed to make you question your very astute GUT FEELING THAT THIS ASSAULT WAS WRONG AND SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOLS. We hear that “just following procedure” phrase with alarming frequency whenever questions about use of force come up. That’s on purpose. They want you to think, “Well, really, what do I know? I’m just a little ole person, and even though this behavior looks like a dangerous, immoral attack to me, and I know *I* would get in trouble if *I* behaved like that… but, they’re saying it’s legal and procedural for them to do, so I guess it has to be OK, because they say it’s OK?!?”
NO! Repeat after me: This type of behavior is not OK in a free society.
How do we fix this? First, we need to elect people who understand the actual challenges facing our state and schools. You can vote for me for the new School Charter Commission on Tuesday, November 5th. Second, we need to acknowledge we have a societal problem whereby we have sanctioned the government to use baseless bullying tactics against people in order to VIOLENTLY FORCE THEM INTO SUBMISSION.
This is not a world I want to live in. This is not a New Hampshire I want to live in, and I think we still have time to stop this kind of behavior here. We have a chance to reject government sanctioned violence as a way to make people do what we want. If you can’t persuade me, then maybe you need a better pitch.
If it were up to me, I’d fire this officer (listed as JOSHUA ENGLISH in the school staff directory), but we all know that will never happen [EDIT: This officer shot and killed someone in 2010 and that killing was ruled justified]. What will happen is the police will close ranks to protect this officer, and police apologists will make excuses and attack people who criticize them. They will have a secret, internal review and miraculously find themselves not guilty of anything, the officer will continue to work at the school, will likely hurt more children, maybe accidentally snapping someone’s neck in a “lawful procedural act” in the future, or maybe he’ll get moved to another school, but regardless, the system will make sure that ultimately, he gets a nice fat payout, and a lifetime pension. I doubt he’d even be placed on the secret list of bad NH cops (sign the petition to release the list and restore public trust HERE) and, well, I’m not holding my breath for that one, because #ICANTBREATHE.
The likely only result of this video will be they use it as an opportunity to expand the areas and tactics of “permitted procedural violence” that they will say is “legal” for them to use against our children in our schools. Oh, and I’m willing to bet any takers, they will 100% go after the kid who made the video. Because you can’t fix what you can’t SEE. And they don’t want you to see for yourself what they claim to be doing in your name, and they certainly don’t want you to make up your own mind, and say, Enough is enough, NOT IN MY NAME!
[UPDATE 08/08/20: If you had taken that bet, you would indeed have lost! Both children involved were sanctioned, one was suspended and one was reprimanded. Can you guess which was which?
The kid who took the video… i.e. the child who provided the evidence showing a grown man tackling a 15 year old in pink shorts from behind got… SUSPENDED. What kind of message do you think that is designed to send to the other students? Chilling, indeed.]