The Crying Game

by James A. Bacon

After President Jim Ryan ordered a breakup of their liberation zone for Gaza a week ago in what one might call a “mostly peaceful” police action, encampment veterans are posturing as victims of “brutal” fascist state “violence” and “trauma.”

“I got brutalized by the police at a UNESCO World Heritage site,” reads one meme making the rounds.

“Welcome to the University of Virginia, where we encourage free speech and expression unless you’re protesting genocide, where we brutalize our students and mace our community members,” says an UVA Encampment for Gaza post on Instagram.

“I just want to acknowledge the trauma that I believe some of them [the protesters] felt in all this,” said a health-care provider participating in a two-hour “Honest Town Hall” organized by faculty members in response to Ryan’s earlier “town hall” presentation.

A student speaking at the counter-town hall spoke of “layers of violence” at UVA stretching back to the displacement of the native peoples and days of slavery. “The University is unique in the kind of violence that it has … endorsed and propagated.”

“Every time I go to Grounds,” the student continued, “I actually am physically ill when I’m near the Range. I feel like I’m surrounded by the ghosts of slaves … and also the recollection of seeing police brutalize my friends.”

Time out, snowflakes! Are you ready for some hard truth? You don’t have the faintest idea of what it’s like to be brutalized or to experience trauma. You belong to the most coddled, privileged, self-indulgent generation in the history of mankind. Most of you wouldn’t know hardship or adversity, much less brutality or trauma, if it smacked you over the head… with a foam pool noodle.

In the disingenuously named Honest Town Hall, critics of the police action against the tent encampment showed video of University Police officers advancing on protesters who defended themselves by using open umbrellas as shields. In narrating the video, global studies professor Dave Edmunds said police “pulled some umbrellas from the protesters and then retreated.” Oh, the horror! Dispossessing innocents of their umbrellas will be remembered in the halls of infamy with the Bataan Death March and Malmedy Massacre. (Historical illiterates can look them up on Wikipedia.)

But that’s not all. The UPD advanced — and retreated — again! And then a third time!!

Finally, in “the most violent part of the confrontation,” armored state police formed a phalanx with shields and advanced slowly and deliberately, pushing people out of the encampment. With guns blazing? Well, no. With batons at the ready, surely? Well, no batons either.

Then what happened? One student was “roughly thrown to the ground.” (Tell that student to never take a judo class!) And then what? The student was handcuffed!!

Police made abundant use of pepper spray to break up the crowd, the Honest Town Hall narrators testified. The pepper spray stung peoples’ eyes. Horror of horrors, University authorities had no medical responders on hand to treat the pepper spray. The protesters, however, did have water at the ready for flushing out the chemical agent. One student apparently did go into a seizure, which critics blamed, without medical confirmation, on the spray.

(For the record, pepper spray is known as a non-lethal crowd control device, although extremely rare fatalities have resulted. “While painful, the symptoms are self-limiting in most cases,” says Medical News Today. “They tend to resolve on their own within 30 minutes and usually do not require medical treatment.”)

In other examples of fascistic police oppression, faculty member Laura Goldblatt asserted, two Black bystanders were arrested and a student wearing a hijab, also a bystander, had her backpack confiscated. “This was a moment where people who were not part of the encampment were also being brutalized by the police,” she said.

Even if the latter two incidents are confirmed to have occurred as described, with no mitigating circumstances, there is no insinuation that the bystanders were subjected to violence.

In the Left’s playbook everyone’s a victim, and the definition of victimhood gets more expansive by the day. Skinned knees, bruises and stinging eyes incurred while resisting arrest are viewed as trauma-inducing police brutality. We’ve come a long way since George Floyd.

You want to talk about trauma? Talk to a U.S. Marine who had his legs and arms blown off by an IED. You want to talk about brutalization? Talk to an Israeli woman who was raped and mutilated by Hamas terrorists. You want to talk about police-state violence, talk to survivors of the horrors inflicted by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Here’s what I’d like to know about these self-pitying whiners casting themselves as victims of structural racism, classism, fattism, or whatever flavor-of-the-month oppression they subscribe to… How many receive federal financial aid? How many receive state financial assistance? How many receive aid from alumni-endowed scholarships? How much is their tuition subsidized by middle-class and affluent families? How many are receiving food stamps, Medicaid and other government benefits?

These people are not oppressed — they’re coddled. If they’re not sponging off their parents, they’re leaching off society while cosplaying social justice warrior. They need to get over themselves. They need to grow up. Their act is getting tiresome.