Sapient Seizure

In interest of protecting UC researchers from animal rights' activists Long Haul Infoshop raid was justified.

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STOP TORTURING ANIMALS OR THINGS GET UGLY," read an anonymous e-mail received by a UC Berkeley faculty member. Things have already gotten ugly, and the recent release of a UCPD affidavit justifies the raid of the Long Haul Infoshop that occurred two weeks ago.

The Daily Californian was able to acquire an explanation for the confiscation of computers and data storage devices: e-mails containing threats and detailing personal contact information of campus faculty sent from the community cooperative prompted police to take action.

As the several UC researchers whose homes were targets of firebombs could attest, the words of the animal rights' activists are far from hollow. The vandalized property and jeopardized safety of the families of the researchers reflect the extreme actions that these protesters are willing take to further their ideals.

The belligerence and animosity contained in these e-mails are palpable, and the surveillance performed by UCPD and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force to catch them is commendable. It's reassuring that preventative measures are being taken to protect the researchers. However, the computers and other devices that were seized should be returned to the shop for public use once the necessary information has been gathered.

Whether or not seizure of private computers along with the ones for public use blatantly treads on individuals' rights in this situation is another point of contention. Indeed, a fine balance must be maintained between protection of fundamental liberties and the upholding of safety.

But in light of the life-threatening experiences that UC researchers have faced, the raid wasn't completely unreasonable and there must be continued protection for them.






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