Certainly Not as Popular or Useful as the Other Wizards

April 25, 2009

People, people, people, why is it so hard to accept the idea that maybe, just maybe, the police are your friends?

Because I don’t want to be responsible for spoiling any appetites, I’m not going to link to the video in question. If you’re feeling brave, go ahead and google “naked wizard gets tased”, but really I think the title says it all. This video is not safe for work. Go ahead, google it. We’ll wait.

Did you watch it? It’s OK if you didn’t, I’ll just give you the details. A ponytailed, unfortunately endowed man who was once dressed in wizard garb doffed said garb in favor of showing everybody within eyeshot at the Coachella festival a little bit more than they ever wanted to see of the man. He is clearly under the influence of one or more drugs, declaring the scene the most beautiful thing that he has ever seen, as he is surrounded by three police officers. The police talk to the man for several minutes, trying to convince him that he’ll have an even better time at the festival if he’ll just put his clothes on. The officers very clearly understand that this man is intoxicated and will be hard to reason with, but they give it a good shot. The man repeated refuses to put his clothes back on, tossing them all around himself as he grabs one of the officers by the shoulder and yells “It doesn’t have to stop!” Of course he’s mistaken, though, because it does indeed have to stop. This man is exposing himself to a crowd, creating a scene, and refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. So what’s the next step for the officers? If you had “throw on some rubber gloves and detain the man,” you’d be correct. So, naturally, the man resists arrest, as if anybody expected him to do anything different. The officers are then forced to move on to the final step, which is to subdue the man with a taser as they put him in handcuffs. The video goes on for four minutes before the tasers are brought out, and only after the man broke several laws and then resisted arrest. Still, that does nothing to stop the crowd surrounding the scene from yelling at the police officers such things as “He didn’t do anything!” and “The whole world is watching!”

Personally, I’m glad the whole world was watching. One of the great things the proliferation of digital cameras have given us is the ability to hold our law enforcement officers accountable for abuse of their power, and this practice has certainly done it’s share of good keeping crooked cops from getting away with unnecessary force. However, it’s had an unfortunate side effect of using the worst of the worst to represent the whole. Being the nephew of two former police officers, I’ve always been a bit sensitive to hearing people talking about how much they hate the “pigs”. Maybe that’s why my reaction to seeing this video was “Ha, look at this idiot. He got what he deserved.” That’s why it shocked me to hear the people at the end of the video, calling out what they saw as police brutality. That’s why it shocked me to see to see many of the comments in the blogs covering the incident calling the scene “shocking”, “disturbing” and “another example of the police brutality”.

Brutality? Really? That man had every opportunity to put some clothes on, and he refused. He then resisted arrest. If the police did not detain that man, then they would not be doing their jobs. They exhausted all of their options, and in truth, they were ¬†probably more patient with that man than he deserved. He was belligerent, creating a public disturbance, and was completely nude in public. You can’t just let that go.

I’m all for the people become police watchdogs. There are crooked cops out there, and now that we have a way to hold them accountable, I’m thrilled that it’s being used and that it’s been effective. Pick your battles though, people. The police did nothing wrong here. Just let the men do their job.


3 Responses to “Certainly Not as Popular or Useful as the Other Wizards”

  1. thebeerphilosopher said

    I found it particularly moving when he started yelling, “Taze me not, brethren!”

    I say that people who dress up as wizards deserve to be tazed anyway. Or maced. Not with Mace, but with A mace.

    And then tazed.

    Because hey, who doesn’t like barbecue.

    • thresholdlurker said

      As I have friends who do LARP (Live Action Role-Playing, for the non-geeks) and do indeed dress as wizards, I’m going to ask on their behalf that they not be punished in this manner (amusing though it may be). Trust me, they punish themselves more than you can imagine.

  2. thresholdlurker said

    I’m with you here. The police were pretty reasonable and they were well within the scope of their duty.

    If the “Wizard” wanted to behave like this, he really should’ve picked a better location. Like not near police. I’m willing to bet that had he been a little less stupid about it, no one would have really cared.

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