Matt Taibbi nails it.
"What happened at UC Davis was the inevitable result of our failure to make sure our government stayed in the business of defending our principles. When we stopped insisting on that relationship with our government, they became something separate from us."
"And we are stuck now with this fundamental conflict, whereby most of us are insisting that the law should apply equally to everyone, while the people running this country for years now have been operating according to the completely opposite principle that different people have different rights, and who deserves what protections is a completely subjective matter, determined by those in power, on a case-by-case basis.
Not to belabor the point, but the person who commits fraud to obtain food stamps goes to jail, while the banker who commits fraud for a million-dollar bonus does not. Or if you accept aid in the form of Section-8 housing the state may insist on its right to conduct warrantless "compliance check" searches of your home at any time – but if you take billions in bailout aid, you do not even have to open your books to the taxpayer who is the de facto owner of your company.
The state wants to retain the power to make these subjective decisions, because being allowed to selectively enforce the law effectively means they have despotic power. And who wants to lose that?
The UC Davis instant crystallized all of this in one horrifying image. Anyone who commits violence against a defenseless person is lost. And the powers that be in this country are lost. They’ve been going down this road for years now, and they no longer stand for anything.
All that tricked-up military gear, with that corny, faux-menacing, over-the-top Spaceballs stormtrooper look that police everywhere seem to favor more and more, it’s a symbol of the increasingly total lack of ideas behind all that force
These people are weak and pathetic, and they’re getting weaker. And boy, are they showing it. Way to gear up with combat helmets and the submachine guns, fellas, to take on a bunch of co-eds sitting Indian-style. Maybe after work you can go break up a game of Duck-Duck-Goose at the local Chuck E Cheese. I’d bring the APC for that one.
Bravo to those kids who hung in there and took it. And bravo for standing up and showing everyone what real strength is. There is no strength without principle. You have it. They lost it. It’s as simple as that."