Media: The YouTubeization of Andrew Meyer

When University of Florida student Andrew Meyer was given the chance to question senator John Kerry in a Q&A session on Monday, he did not intend to hold back. Neither did the university cops who tasered and arrested the 21 year old after he refused to leave the lecture hall. Video of the struggle immediately surfaced on YouTube, and it has continued making a wave, inciting national debate on freedom of speech, police brutality and Meyer's intentions.

Known around campus as a prankster with a knack for stirring controversy, Meyer's Web site also documents his passion for political change. Perhaps Meyer was just playing around, not to be taken seriously, but he was harmless nonetheless. Although there's a blurry quality to the video, YouTube is flawless at showing unmediated transparency. Meyer may have wanted to provoke and cause a circus, but the video clearly shows how the act quickly turned against him. Even Kerry said that he "could have handled the situation without interruption."

Regardless of whether or not Meyer had self-promoting intentions, what the cameras caught and YouTube exposed is an issue well worth the attention, at least until a new viral wonder surfaces next week. In the fight between authority and rebellion, cops may be (over) relying on tasers, but students are using the viral volts to the max.

The original YouTube video has been viewed over half a million times, CNN has aired it on television and it's currently #1 on Digg.com. Over 2,500 people have joined the Facebook group, named after Meyer's famous last words before the shocking incident, "Don't Tase Me, Bro," which has already become a slogan for the college crowd, their self-important, well-intended jokester of a martyr and their weapon of choice, YouTube.

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4 Comments

  • Carmela Shuler-Franklyn

    This whole scene was just foul on both sides! As a mother, I see campus police with either a lack of training or a lack of sound judgment. Why take unnecessary extreme measures- like tasing- before employing tried and true methods like removing the problem? They greatly outnumbered this belligerent boy, yet there was no move to separate him from his captive audience and park his boorish backside in a police unit until he quieted. If he didn’t immediately calm down, eventually he would tire like a crying baby and hush up!
    On the other hand, young Mr. Meyer clearly has no manners. There is a time and a place for everything and a way to deal with complex, inflammatory issues. HINT... pitching a fit in a public forum is not the proper time, place or method. In my view, there are three parties responsible for this kid's apparently inappropriate tasing: HIM, CAMPUS POLICE and whatever PARENT taught him it is okay to (mis)behave in this way.

    If you think Andrew Meyer is bad; you should see the next batch coming up. Because I have a teenage son (as are most of his cousins) I have had the distinct pleasure of personally experiencing this generation on a regular basis. It is more than evident which kids are required to appropriately conduct themselves within society. As for the rest, it's downright scary the way they are often totally lacking in social skills. Just try speaking to one of them; they don't even bother to respond.

    This is the helicopter parented e-generation that even does their bullying online. Many are completely consumed by limitless television, untold hours of video games and now total, unsupervised internet access. As is often the case, these things that are harmless in moderation are lethal in excess.

    Those who would say regarding this as a deadly trend is an alarmist exaggeration should check out the youth suicide rate - it is TERRIFYING! My own 8th grade son has now been affected by this as one of his classmates committed suicide last week. These are children with no hope and no skills to cope with living. Now they are paying the price for our foolishness- with their BLOOD. They have no older, wiser role models, no mentors and no peer support because their playmates are the remote, the game controller, a keyboard and a monitor.

    I don’t know how parents became convinced that they should be "buddies" with their children: spending their money on extravagant gifts and "distraction" vacations (instead of spending meaningful and personal time together) and shuddering at the notion of their kids being mad at them. (Personally, if my son doesn't get at least irritated- if not angry- at me for the boundaries and expectations placed on him, I figure I'm doing something wrong!) And with families' over-crowded schedules, not to mention the din of our daily lives, how is a parent ever to notice that their kids need someone to hold them up when they are overwhelmed by this world? When will they have the opportunity to see an example of how to peaceably stand upright in messy and confusing times?

    Remember how we learned our social skills at the park or the neighbor's back yard, on the school playground or in Sunday school; without parents hovering over us and SPEAKING FOR US when we are totally capable of speaking for ourselves? Goodness, how did we survive? I’m not keen on the “good ole days” mindset, but isn’t it just as important to learn from what was right in the past as well as what was wrong? Not too long ago, if an adult spoke to a teenager and was blatantly ignored, that child would be chastised by both adult AND parent for their discourtesy. In today's social climate, if you admonish another person's child in any way, regardless of how kindly or constructively the reprimand is delivered, you are deemed to be some sort of ogre.

    Frankly, I feel sorry for the kids. As a country we have gone from ignoring our children (a.k.a. "Children are to be seen and not heard"— which is also completely wrong and NOT scriptural) to trying to preserve them from ever experiencing any discomfort and leading them to believe that they are welcome to dominate any and every occasion of their choosing. Both are proven to be a major failure as child-rearing theory and neither one is the way God told us to raise our children.

    Why can't we seem to find a healthy balance and some moderation? This recent incident is just another arrow pointing us to how pitiful our foolish "wisdom" is and how much damage we do when God is left out of the equation!

  • Joseph Allan

    This whole scene was just foul on both sides! As a mother, I see campus police with either a lack of training or a lack of sound judgment. Why take unnecessary extreme measures- like tasing- before employing tried and true methods like removing the problem? They greatly outnumbered this belligerent boy, yet there was no move to separate him from his captive audience and park his boorish backside in a police unit until he quieted. If he didn’t immediately calm down, eventually he would tire like a crying baby and hush up!
    On the other hand, young Mr. Meyer clearly has no manners. There is a time and a place for everything and a way to deal with complex, inflammatory issues. HINT... pitching a fit in a public forum is not the proper time, place or method. In my view, there are three parties responsible for this kid's apparently inappropriate tasing: HIM, CAMPUS POLICE and whatever PARENT taught him it is okay to (mis)behave in this way.

    If you think Andrew Meyer is bad; you should see the next batch coming up. Because I have a teenage son (as are most of his cousins) I have had the distinct pleasure of personally experiencing this generation on a regular basis. It is more than evident which kids are required to appropriately conduct themselves within society. As for the rest, it's downright scary the way they are often totally lacking in social skills. Just try speaking to one of them; they don't even bother to respond.

    This is the helicopter parented e-generation that even does their bullying online. Many are completely consumed by limitless television, untold hours of video games and now total, unsupervised internet access. As is often the case, these things that are harmless in moderation are lethal in excess.

    Those who would say regarding this as a deadly trend is an alarmist exaggeration should check out the youth suicide rate - it is TERRIFYING! My own 8th grade son has now been affected by this as one of his classmates committed suicide last week. These are children with no hope and no skills to cope with living. Now they are paying the price for our foolishness- with their BLOOD. They have no older, wiser role models, no mentors and no peer support because their playmates are the remote, the game controller, a keyboard and a monitor.

    I don’t know how parents became convinced that they should be "buddies" with their children: spending their money on extravagant gifts and "distraction" vacations (instead of spending meaningful and personal time together) and shuddering at the notion of their kids being mad at them. (Personally, if my son doesn't get at least irritated- if not angry- at me for the boundaries and expectations placed on him, I figure I'm doing something wrong!) And with families' over-crowded schedules, not to mention the din of our daily lives, how is a parent ever to notice that their kids need someone to hold them up when they are overwhelmed by this world? When will they have the opportunity to see an example of how to peaceably stand upright in messy and confusing times?

    Remember how we learned our social skills at the park or the neighbor's back yard, on the school playground or in Sunday school; without parents hovering over us and SPEAKING FOR US when we are totally capable of speaking for ourselves? Goodness, how did we survive? I’m not keen on the “good ole days” mindset, but isn’t it just as important to learn from what was right in the past as well as what was wrong? Not too long ago, if an adult spoke to a teenager and was blatantly ignored, that child would be chastised by both adult AND parent for their discourtesy. In today's social climate, if you admonish another person's child in any way, regardless of how kindly or constructively the reprimand is delivered, you are deemed to be some sort of ogre.

    Frankly, I feel sorry for the kids. As a country we have gone from ignoring our children (a.k.a. "Children are to be seen and not heard"— which is also completely wrong and NOT scriptural) to trying to preserve them from ever experiencing any discomfort and leading them to believe that they are welcome to dominate any and every occasion of their choosing. Both are proven to be a major failure as child-rearing theory and neither one is the way God told us to raise our children.

    Why can't we seem to find a healthy balance and some moderation? This recent incident is just another arrow pointing us to how pitiful our foolish "wisdom" is and how much damage we do when God is left out of the equation!