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Breaking the Consensus



Ever since I can remember, I have hated the use of clichés. Usually employed as a lazy cop-out, literary bromides pollute the prose of many writers, and I would like to imagine myself as being above their usage. However, in this instance I feel justified in employing one of the most old and tired platitudes: I told you so.

Now, by this point, we have all heard the most prominent excuses for the riot incident this past weekend. Students are blaming out-of-towners, and many outside our community are pointing a finger at our supposedly rebellious student body. Interestingly, I have not heard much commentary as to another potential cause of the incident: the excessive and overt presence of law enforcement personnel within Isla Vista.

Recently, much has been said regarding the emergence of stricter security methods both on campus and in the adjacent neighborhood. The recent proliferation of a set of conspicuous security camera installations has caused many to question their necessity. Media outlets — this newspaper included —have postulated a connection between the recent case of sexual assault, the crackdown on Deltopia and the emergence of the security camera towers. Originally only half a dozen in number, there are now more than fifteen in place both in Isla Vista and on university property. At five cameras and two floodlights per structure, this places the new security camera count at roughly seventy-five and the floodlight number at thirty.

With this information at hand — and with various campus officials claiming that these structures are in place for the public good — one might wonder why any criminal incident occurred at Deltopia on Saturday.

As I am writing this, it is Sunday afternoon. I intentionally waited to write this article until today because I had a hunch that something of this nature—an act of civilian resistance—would occur at Deltopia. It almost seemed as if it would be inevitable. As this is what did indeed take place, I am going to break with UCSB’S administrative consensus and state that it was the heavy-handed law enforcement presence that influenced and caused the riot to occur.

How is it that we as a community have decided that more of what is not working is what should be employed to stop violent events in our neighborhood? Obviously, an increased police presence and the placement of dozens of security cameras did nothing to prevent mob action at Deltopia — why should we expect next year to be any different?

The explicit presence of law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies set the stage for what happened. Citizens in our community have simply grown tired of the predatory police force which festers in our town like a parasite, making a living wage by arresting hapless and drunk underage students and others participating in victimless crimes. The agencies that putatively are in existence to protect us are causing the very problems that they claim to solve.

If this is a mistruth, then why was it so amusing to many of us when an anonymous student strapped a North Korean flag to one of the aforementioned security camera towers earlier this week? I have heard many justify the placement of these structures by stating that if they prevent crime and unrest then they are good for our community. Has this proved to be the case?

Despite the pleas of our community members, this is not a problem that will solve itself. It is not an illness which may be rectified by a simple request to the student body and others inhabiting Isla Vista. Is the solution merely more riot shields and tear gas? How could it be? Local violence has become a circular problem, and you are not less culpable because you engage in this action while hiding behind a badge.

Why is it that we have Deltopia anyways? Is it not because of the closure of the beaches by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and the UCPD, thus precluding the celebration of Floatopia? How many years will it be before someone points out, in a court of law, that the restriction of access to a public waterway is in fact an illegal action? I have heard much rhetoric by our campus administration and local law enforcement about the woman who passed away during the date of last year’s Deltopia — of course, what they always omit is that she was nowhere near Del Playa Drive, and in fact died while participating in the allegedly illegal act of trespassing on the beach. This individual’s tragic passing has been transformed into a justification for the draconian and clumsy enforcement of anti-social regulations by our law enforcement agencies. If the police department was unable to prevent this tragedy — which they are constantly citing as the raison d’être for the heavy law enforcement presence at this year’s Deltopia — why should they expect us to believe that a more aggressive stance by the police force is a viable and effective solution?

If we have a large police force, they are going to be put to use. An anonymous open letter — a missive published this past week by both the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Daily Nexus — accused both the UCSB administration and local law enforcement of being “Neo-Fascist” in nature. I agree, somewhat; I just see no reason for the prefix “Neo.” It’s the same old brand of radical and reactionary dicta that we have been suffering under for years. There is nothing new about it. The name and faces have changed but the problems have not. Law enforcement in Southern California — our precinct included — has shown itself to be reactionary, supranationalist and discriminatory time and again. The only difference between the police force of today and yesteryear is that now they have security cameras.

These recent incidents are not the fault of partygoers, local or not. Perusing through news articles last week, one would have thought that we live in some bizarre Footloose-esque town where music is banned and the police decide our moral standards. I do not condone this violence and no else should either — especially by those who are involved in an agency that is supposed to serve the populace that pays for its existence.

 Jonathan Rogers would also like to propose a sanctioned screening of Footloose be shown to all IVFP officers.

This is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are primarily submitted by students.
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Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB.
Opinions are submitted primarily by students.

17 Responses to Breaking the Consensus

  1. Gary Fouse Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Watching the video of the riot, it seems to me that this justifies the use of video cameras and police presence.

    It is also clear that some students need to grow up. You are not victims in spite of what your liberal professors may tell you. You are privileged to attend a university and get an education. What happened is inexcusable and those responsible should be punished.

  2. Alum Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Facial recognition software is being implemented by police agencies in California, usually through Department of Homeland Security grants:

    http://www.cbs8.com/story/24604243/facial-recognition-software-tested-countywide-by-law-enforcement

    The war is coming home, folks. The military industrial complex is powerful and President Eisenhower warned us about it.

    While we may not have an expectation of privacy in public, I don’t believe that means that we expect our government to be able to track our movements. I doubt we would feel comfortable if a cop followed us everywhere we go with a video camera in hand. Microphones are also improving, so what we say in public will also be recorded, stored, and processed through fancy algorithisms. People who blindly support surveillance are extremely naïve about the negative impacts it will have on our lives and the changes it will have on the balance between the government and its citizens.

  3. Syrian Refugee Who Wouldn't Trade Places With You For a Million Dollars Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Good article. When I look at IV, my mind is inexorably drawn to make comparisons with North Korea, Soviet Siberian prisoner camps, panoptic dystopias of film and literature. Some thoughtless cretins look at the sparkling sands, abundant sunshine, affluent population of gorgeous youngsters with little in the way of responsibility, and cannot see the abject misery of a population suffocating beneath the grinding heel of a police state run amok. The student body’s noble, indefatigable capacity to soldier on with parties 4+ days a week (plus holidays and special events) is a lesson in bravery to us all. Where can we donate to assist you?

    You are all Winston Smiths, we applaud you! “War is Peace!” “Partying Endlessly is Slavery!” “Drunk is Sober!”

  4. Dave Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Using the surveillance towers and an increased police presence as an excuse for abysmal behavior is a joke. One can protest an unjust situation without resorting to violence. You may have heard of people actually doing this, like MLK or Ghandi. While your situation of having too many cameras around pales in comparison to their struggles, you can still learn from them.

    Also, please stop using “fascism” and “fascist” as catchall words for things you don’t like. Fascism is political ideology. Say “authoritarian” instead.

  5. Out-of-Townie Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Mr. Rogers, this isn’t your neighborhood. You know it’s funny- I can actually remember a time when writers for the Daily Nexus needed to pass basic aptitude tests, remedial writing exams or at the very least, NOT have the mental acuity of a houseplant. This ‘article’ possesses the depth of critical thinking I would expect from a drunk four-year-old. Pay attention Edward R Moron this is for you: There may come a day when your parents get tired of you allocating all their money to rebellion and force you to trade the Snuggy-esque comfort of University for the stark reality of the job market. And so off you’ll go with your lambskin tucked under your arm, all a-quiver with angst and caffeine withdrawal, brimming with purpose and resolve– dead certain a Pulitzer is only months away. BUT… no one will have you but the mail room. So you’ll quietly delude yourself like the rest of us: “this is my journey” you’ll say, “It’ll happen. I’m a precious budding flower,…first they’ll read my poetry….then they’ll love me.” Years go by as you wander in the wilderness of writer’s block and empty intent, the ‘great American novel’ ever out of reach as you trade it one chapter at a time for the company ladder you’re climbing to the middle. You’ll meet someone and get married- Probably someone you met at the office or maybe the bi-product of a one-night stand you were too afraid to turn loose after the second pass. You’ll look for a house together- nothing too expensive- a life of quiet desperation doesn’t pay that well, but you’ll tell yourself: “a man’s home is his castle” while standing in the shadow of the fast-food billboard that is presently starving your flower bed. But no matter, you’re rooted now. Immovable. An ‘essential laborer’ in the army of progress and with any luck, your kids will be the next you- regurgitating unoriginal schlock for cheap laughs thinly disguised as a short-cut to thinking. Still, you’ll keep at it- upwardly mobile to middle management, miles away from your writing career but comfortable in your choices and just within sight of contentment. It’s not perfect, but it’s your life. You worked hard for it, nurtured it, made a family, made plans, learned to appreciate everything your parents tried to teach you to spare you the dreadful epiphany of disappointment..
    AND THAT is the exact the moment when a mindless hoard of students/four-year-tourists/(out-of-towners)in the throes of some twisted group-psychosis will defile your neighborhood and your lawn with trash, colorful underpants and pretty much every bodily fluid ever catalogued. You’ll watch as your peaceful mediocrity is threatened by privileged, over-grown Bart Simpsons dancing around like phallic mittens on your sensible yet sporty commuter vehicle ALL THE WHILE clinging desperately to the hope that someone with authority will do something violent to them while “hiding behind a badge”. How much will you care if they’re “rights get trampled” when they’re shitting in your bird fountain? –Or will you list that among their first amendment rights? I wonder where your sense of humor will be if one of the ‘Barts’ gets column inches in the Daily Douchebag to throw around terms like “fascist”, “supra-nationalist” and a few latin terms in an effort to legitimize a witless, soporific, groaning-under-the-weight-of-its-own-pretentiousness, tirade against local law enforcement. Ask yourself -as other ‘Barts’ pile on the comments with thundering ignorance will your flaccid intellect be up to the task of ‘breaking the consensus’?
    Think it over Mr.Rogers, your neighborhood is next.

  6. Brian Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Great use of the cliche “ever since I can remember” to express your hatred of cliches! That was either a little bit clever, or incredibly idiotic. Based on the rest of the article, I’m leaning towards the latter. I beg of you, call up the parents of the young woman who got drunk (underage) fell off the cliffs and died last year. Explain to them how victimless her “victimless” crimes were.

  7. TowersShouldStay Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The towers are there for when a crime does happen. Anybody who believes they are to prevent crimes are dumb. Sure they can prevent morally sensible non-drunk people from committing crimes, but for those who just don’t care, then it’s there to help investigators find the culprit. If my friend got raped and everybody was either too drunk to notice, no one cared or did anything (bystander effect), or if no one was around I would be really thankful if the surveillance video caught the culprit and can help prosecute the person who did the crime. Is it really that much of an envision of your privacy? If so, then don’t drive on the streets and don’t go into any malls/stores/forums, because they’re essentially the same thing. You just don’t like it because it can hold you accountable for you misbehaving and being inappropriate, but you know what? It can also help prosecute criminals and help the victims/their families/and their friends all find peace. The worse feeling is being a victim of a crime or friend of a victim and not know who did it, and because I do not wish this experience onto you or anyone the cameras should stay due to the recent events.

  8. henry sarria Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Really dude? I still live in IV (since 1987) & have to say YOU’RE SO FULL OF SHIT!
    Oh, boohoo, cry me a river about how the cops treat you “unfairly” already. Why, because you can’t take “NO!” for an answer? Because as an entitled punk you feel that bad behavior should not be punished?
    Stop crying already! You’re probably 1 of the many self-absorbed asshats who invited all the out of town douchetards to douchetopia. Feelin’ good now?
    By the way dipshit, I attended the 1st FLOATOPIA & can say it was a blast. All IV peeps, good times, no garbage, no hassles, just fun.
    Next year asshats like you had to dramatize it, put it on facebook & screw it up for OUR town. Way to go jackhole!
    Well, here is the best thing: YOU CAN KISS DOUCHETOPIA BUH BYE! It’s done for good!
    Oh, by the way, expect the popo to fuck your Halloween up too, you gave them EVERY reason to do so!
    You got what you paid for, live w/ the consequences of it (you do know what consequences are, don’t you?).

  9. TakeCareOfOurCommunity Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    This is why the County closes the beach. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly6ZNvq6KWM
    As someone who is a permanent and longtime member of Santa Barbara community, and has the historical knowledge that many UCSB students don’t, we can never allow this to happen to our beaches again.

  10. IAgreeWithDailySuxass Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the riot start because a police officer was assulted while attempting to break up a fight? How is that a “victimless crime”? Was throwing rocks and bottles at firefighters and paramedics also a “victimless crime”?

    I agree that the police have a bad tendancy to over-enforce victimless crimes, but the events that occured at Deltopia were far from victimless. I think you need to re-evaluate your argument…

    • Employer Reply

      April 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      IAgree,

      I stated that strictly enforcing victimless crimes and erecting creepy surveillance towers help set the conditions for what was to come. Striking a cop in the head with a heavy object was not victimless and was senseless and stupid. The cops then reacted with a “policeman down!” attitude where young drunk kids a couple blocks away were confronted with arbitrary force. All hell then broke loose. You can then apply how mobs work as an entity where individualism quickly evaporates. I’m just trying to explain logically what happened. I know one needs to be able to hold several thoughts in one’s head to even start to understand it.

      Oh, please work on your reading comprehension.

      • MoreContextNeeded Reply

        April 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        You neglect to mention that an hour prior to the riot the police responded to TWO stabbings. It’s common sense that the police are going to increase their posture in response to such events. It’s a police function to protect the public when some crazy person is running around stabbing people. As to the closure of the beaches, you folks nearly caused a ecological disaster last time. The country was left to foot the bill for the cleanup. You point is invalid on its face: If you did not cause a public disturbance that endangered the public the police would not have to respond. You folks threw a party, got drunk and then started smashing stuff (like the kid that started damaging cars by jumping on them). Get it straight – this is your fault and you brought the law down on yourselves by yourselves. The size of the police force had NOTHING to do with the response. Your actions are the sole reason anything had to be responded to.

  11. DailySuxass Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I hope every employer you apply with sees this ridiculously naive and shameful response to the weekend’s insanity. You and your ilk are a blight on the reputation of this university

    • Empolyer Reply

      April 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      I hire people in a technical field, and I would be more likely to hire Jonathan as he is exhibiting critical thinking skills.

      This issue is complex and the riot had multiple causes of which strict law enforcement was one of them. Just because IV residents are young adults and just because they live in a town with high annual turnover, it doesn’t mean that authorities should institute oppressive measures like surveillance towers and enforce laws with zero tolerance, particularly when the enforced laws do not involve a victim. That sets the condition for unrest, and a cop getting attacked proved to set off the powderkeg. Keep in mind that the partiers were not aware what happened and why the cops were clearing the streets with tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized vehicle. All they knew is that authorities that had been arbitrary and strict was now resorting to force in an attempt to subdue them. Seems like a logical explanation to me.

      Get rid of the surveillance towers!

      • henry sarria Reply

        April 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        Get over the surveillance towers already. Here’s the deal: If you act like a jackass in public you have every consequence to be videoed, just like on the Jerry Springer show. Why are you defending douchebag behavior? You probably don’t even live in IV. Get rid of the towers? FUCK THAT! Leave em’ up! This way we get to see who the douchetards are & eradicate them. Like the song by Blur says: WE’VE GOT A FILE ON YOU!

        • Sebastian Reply

          April 9, 2014 at 12:39 am

          Your reference to the song lyrics plainly reveals that not only do you not understand the song, but that you have no concept or understanding of the dangers posed by a surveillance state.

          Any restriction of a citizenry’s civil liberties is always couched under the reasoning that it’s “for our own good.” The article’s reference to recent police actions (surveillance cameras, the incredible use of force at the recent “riot,” etc.) as fascistic is a highly applicable label that might hopefully shock some readers into a deeper reflection of similar government actions throughout history (the Stasi and KGB, to name two).

          The author is writing in defense of our civil rights (yours, mine, and his), not in defense of “douchebags.” The idea, that giving up any civil liberties at all (no matter how small) so that a few extra legal adults can be punished for consuming a legal substance at an age when they are permitted to serve in the military and required to register with the Selective Service (the USA being, by the way, the only “western” nation with such ridiculously draconian drinking laws, left over from an overly puritanical beginning and a policy of prohibition that served only to promote organized crime) is patently ludicrous. Fascistic is by far too nice a word for what is going all around us.

          • DailySuxass Reply

            April 9, 2014 at 9:28 am

            Did you seriously just say the KGB was fascist? Wow. WOW. Open a fucking history book, guy

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