Tased and Confused: Whose Free Speech Was Violated?

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 20 of September , 2007 at 3:11 pm

Below is an article written by my former intern, Ashley Emans, a student at the University of Florida who attended Senator Kerry’s speech earlier this week.  (PS — Boo Gators, Go Seminoles!)

Whose Free Speech Was Violated?

Ashley Emans, UF ’09

There was a major violation of the First Amendment at my school on Monday.  The victim?  Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.  And, every other person in the University of Florida auditorium that afternoon, including myself.  In fact, there was only one person there whose rights were not violated, and his name is Andrew Meyer.  Mr. Meyer was shot with a taser gun after being violent and disruptive during a town hall forum with the senator.  Liberals are busy shouting about the supposed infringement on Andrew’s free speech rights, but it is actually the other way around.  When someone is being disorderly, is flailing around in a threatening mode, and is refusing to let anyone else speak, as Andrew was, the Constitution requires he be stopped to protect the free speech rights of others.  The senator was gracious to talk with us students at all (and for free, as current legislators cannot charge for speaking appearances).  Yet Andrew never once showed any interest in listening to Kerry.  He yelled at him, and spouted his generic Amerikkka-type conspiracy theories in a strongly inappropriate manner.  There may be freedom of speech, but not freedom from consequence.  From what I saw, the tasing was justified.

The atmosphere at the event was stringent, with armed cops all over, and all bags checked in the downstairs lobby.  It is common knowledge that security is a very real concern for a high profile United States Senator such as John Kerry.  From my seat 3 or 4 rows behind the microphone, I got to witness all that transpired before the cameras started rolling.  In fact, the many videos out now ought to prove that people in the audience were so appalled by this guy and so sure he was on the verge of outrageousness that they had to pull out the cell phones and recording devices to catch it.  There were several minutes of frenzy that were not caught on any tape.

The moderator had counted down the open questions from students (“We will take three more questions….this is the last question,” &c.), all interesting ones from intelligent and well-read students.  While Kerry talked with the last student questioner, Meyer jumped the line, grabbed another mic, and began screaming at Senator Kerry that he was about to be arrested.  Meyer was angry he had to sit through two hours of Kerry’s opinions, and said he was sick of hearing him talk.  After Kerry finished his bit with the student who had been brutally silenced by the interruption, he coolly pondered aloud, “If you are sick of me talking, why do you want to ask me a question?” to raucous applause.  Andrew then ‘recommended’ a book to Mr. Kerry, which the senator said he already owned and had read.  The book was about the ’04 election.  Meyer’s hysterical rants were barely coherent by this point.  The words I caught were, “disenfranchised black and Hispanic voters,”…”in Volusia County (Fla.) the machines counted backward,”…”you won by a 5 million vote margin,”…”Clinton got impeached for what?  A blowjob?  Why not Bush?” …”Skull and Bones”…

What happened next is well documented.  The mic was turned off due to his profanity, and he was pulled from the mic to wild clapping.  Then Meyer rushed toward the stage to escape security.  Next we witnessed the physical struggle, then the clear warning from a cop that he would be tased should he not comply, followed by the tase as promised, and finally more ranting downstairs.  He had dozens of opportunities to sit down and shut up before being tased.  Afterward Meyer screamed the cops were taking him away to kill him.  Who was being irrational here?  Not the university police.  Question: what’s a lefty hippie’s favorite movie?  Tased and Confused.

I still cannot tell if Meyer was strongly resisting the officers while held to the ground, just before getting tased.   If he was not resisting, I agree he did not deserve the stun.  While I am open to the idea that tasing was excessive for the circumstance, it should be noted Andrew Meyer is notorious for staging obnoxious pranks and filming them.  He once stood in a road holding a sign saying “Harry Dies” shortly after the release of the seventh Harry Potter book.  Interestingly enough, he brought along someone to film his exchange with Kerry.  I think it was all a stunt.  Meanwhile, Kerry droned on in the background about how he would not contest the election because there was insufficient evidence of voter disenfranchisement (are you listening Al Gore?  This is what a sane loser sounds like).

I was actually quite embarrassed for Senator Kerry.  By insisting Mr. Meyer be allowed to speak, he catered to a complete nutcase.  This is the hallmark of the Democrats: toil to make the base the weirdos, the extremists, the anti-socials, and the conspiracy theorists.  They back themselves into a corner because they must reason with the unreasonable.  Liberals, as well as most UF students, have yet to see that tolerating rage is nearly the same as endorsing it.

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Category: Dirty Hippies,Higher Education

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LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.