Overreactions hurt democracy

“The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances” was clearly defined in the First Amendment to the Constitution in 1791.

We are proud of our two high-achieving college-student granddaughters. Both were honor students in high school with many scholastic and extra-curricular honors. The older is a pre-medicine student at Harvard. Her younger sister is a veterinary medicine student at UC Davis.

The financial burden on the parents of two college students taking expensive courses is high — but worth every penny to their parents and grandparents. The end result of this happily accepted financial burden will be two contributing members of society — a medical doctor and a veterinarian, who have set lofty goals of public service in their future practices.

The younger woman has devoted her vacations and holidays to volunteering at free animal clinics. She worked every summer through high school to accumulate funds for her education. She is not political; she is a sweet, loving, kind young woman.

Recently our younger granddaughter joined with several thousand other UC Davis students to peaceably assemble and show their concerns over the escalating cost of education.

When the UC Davis campus police walked along that line of young men and women peaceably protesting and pepper-sprayed their faces, our granddaughter was standing in a nearby group and she, too, was sprayed.

I am angry as hell over what the UC Davis campus police did. The officers who sprayed the students — and their supervisors who ordered and allowed that brutality — should be discharged.

If there is anything to be learned from this, it is that our political leaders must put aside their petty differences and cooperatively solve the problems of financing education. The nation needs those educated and productive young people.

Matt and Irene Gordon