Our View: UC pepper spray settlement is an overreaction
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 19:09
Dr. Evil would be satisfied with the settlement that the University of California system has agreed upon with the victims of last year’s pepper spraying incident.
A total of $1 million will be distributed amongst 21 UC Davis students and alumni who happened to be on the wrong end of Lieutenant John
Pike’s pepper-spray can. Each plaintiff will receive $30,000 in damages, while their attorneys will receive $250,000 total. Jeez. We should all just drop what we’re doing here and enroll in law school.
Also, the UC system will pay a maximum of $100,000 with up to $20,000 to any plaintiff a part of the class-action lawsuit who can prove they were pepper-sprayed or arrested during the protest.
This seems to be a lot of money to throw around.
Where is it coming from?
Well, the money is coming from the UC’s self-insurance program, which is said to have $600 million on reserve. Now $1 million does not seem too bad.
Still, this sum of money seems to be as much of an overreaction as the whole pepper spraying fiasco was in the first place.
Yes, what the campus police did to students and alumni that day was extremely out of line. However, for each person to receive $30,000 for some swollen eyes seems a bit of a stretch.
The UC system might as well just provide the students with scholarships for a year. It would of cost them roughly the same.
Way too often, something bad happens to people and we think the only way to clear things up is to heavily compensate those victims.
Money talks, right?
But here is the problem: now we are here a year later, and nothing has changed.
A few wily students have became a bit richer, but that money will not last them very long as tuition grows higher and higher.
Between the Occupy movement, the hunger strike, the breaking of the glass door to the Cal State University Chancellor’s Office, these protests have not changed much.
Sure, a few people have listened and they have “blogged” about the incidents, but who cares? Higher education is still in as bad of a position as it was last year and it is threatening to get worst.
Protestors get fired up and make the world pay attention for a few minutes, but then they settle as the people they were protesting against shower them money to keep them quiet.
Now this cannot be applied to everyone, but odds are that there are people out there that protest for the sake of protesting.
They show up — probably knowing little of the cause — and hope maybe they can get on television, get some attention or, who knows, get pepper-sprayed and walk away with some money.
These professional protestors are tough to find in an angry mob, and unfortunately they reap the benefits.
Unless they are wearing a panda hat.