Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident
September 20, 2007
There is a fantastic article by Howard Ditkoff that looks into the emotions and psychology of people responding to the Andrew Meyer taser incident.
What I’ve found most fascinating about the situation are the responses.
Clearly there has been a significant proportion of people that has responded with anger and indignation to what they view as the police using far too much force on Meyer without just cause. Some of those people go as far as to claim that the action was an attempt to deny Andrew Meyer his First Amendment rights and to unfairly and/or illegally suppress his pointed questions about some highly sensitive issues.
On the other hand, many people I have spoken with have defended the police. Even while admitting that their actions may have been rather heavy-handed, they will bring up – and reasonably so – the fact that police officers work in an atmosphere of great danger. Thus, they argue, we need to be sympathetic to the fact that the officers were responding to a person who was in fact resisting arrest, regardless of whether or not the arrest was originally justified or not.
But what is most striking to me is the level of emotion with which I’ve seen people, including myself, respond on both sides of the issue. As the phrase goes “When it’s hysterical, it’s historical,” and I have come to believe that people are reacting to this event based mostly on their own past experiences with authority figures during their development and/or their own coping responses to those experiences.