Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Student asks Kerry tough question, Kerry watches him get tasered; free speech nowhere to be seen

There are so many things wrong with this video that I don't even know where to start.

You can see another video, posted at Daily Kos here that shows the student's full question.

Sure, he ranted and raved just a bit. But, he barely got his 'impolite' question out before the University of Florida Rent-a-Cops started harassing him. If you ask me, more people should rant and rave like this. He's clearly upset that Bush's Administration is clearly ripping the Constitution to threads, edging towards ANOTHER ill-conceived war, and that Kerry could have stopped it if he had forced the issue on the 2004 voter suppression reports.

If more people were this passionate, then we might have a chance at bringing this country back from a state of absolute apathy in the face of corrupt government. This guy made the people in the room feel uncomfortable because of his passion and tough questions.

Because of the uber sensitive environment that George Bush's "free speech zone" society has created, everybody is on edge and thinks that free speech has gone away. I'm not sorry to say that most of America needs a reality check. Serious issues are before us and sober conversation with polite head nodding isn't gonna make anything better.

NEWSFLASH: The government might be spying on you and have suspended habeus corpus, but our right to free speech remains. And that means you can be a nutso, annoying, know-it-all jerk. That student didn't cross any line that put him into illegal territory. Period.

Have you seen the bumper sticker, "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention"? This guy was paying attention and it rubbed some people the wrong way.

Those Rent-a-Cops, unjustified in the initial moments of confrontation, further failed to properly handle the situation. There were FIVE cops there and there's no reason they couldn't remove him from that room and handle it outside of the company of an entire auditorium. Their actions fueled the situation and they should be held accountable for it.

This whole thing makes me sick because it represents a lot of what is wrong with America right now.


Unknown said...

You're dead-on right about this one.

Anonymous said...

jesus christ. that's fucking disturbing. where's the ACLU? why were they trying to remove him? that makes no fucking sense whatsoever. i can't understand why john kerry just let that all happen. fucking pussy.

Glennbird said...

For heaven's sakes, people, chill!

I come from a long line of proud liberal Democrats and I share everyone's respect for the Constitution. I am all about free speech.

After viewing two different videos of Andrew Meyer's disruption of the John Kerry question-and-answer session, as disturbing as it was to watch at first, I totally support the cops' decision to remove him from the room. Using a taser on the drama queen may or may not have been excessive, and should be investigated, but that is a separate issue from the freedom of speech issue that has everyone up in arms and marching in the streets.

The right to free speech is important. This country allows for it in many forms. It is not, however, a right that exists in a vacuum.

Free speech has never included the right to disrupt a group of people gathered for a purpose and force them to listen to your thoughts. You can protest outside on a public sidewalk all you want. Andrew Meyer could have obtained permission to set up a little table outside the hall and tell anyone who was interested about the book in his hand, and express his thoughts to his heart's content. That wasn't good enough for the jerk because he wanted to FORCE everyone to listen to him.

You can't stand up in a movie theater and exercise your free speech to a captive audience. You can't stand up in Church and ramble on for an hour and force the congregation to listen to you and disrupt the service for which they are gathered. You can't stand up in class at school and ramble on as long as you please and force the class to listen while you disrupt the class and its purpose. What is that old saying? "Your rights end where another person's begins."

You don't have a right to FORCE your free speech on someone.

Even in political gatherings, the right to free speech is not absolute.

Say, at the Democrat and Republican Conventions, they allowed everyone with a complaint to talk as long as they wanted....then every nut in the country would be there disrupting the convention and it would be CHAOS! Protesters are often outside the Conventions where they can speak and carry signs all they want. Protesters inside the convention are often thrown out.

This Meyer jerk said Kerry had spoken for two hours and now it was HIS turn.

Ahem. WRONG. Kerry was INVITED to speak...the twit wasn't. Again, if everyone who had something to say was allowed to get up and talk on and on....it would have ruined it for everyone there. It was obvious Andrew wanted to give a speech, and not just ask questions. He wasn't there for that...Kerry was.

Kerry was there to speak and answer questions. This was a QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION, not a time for debate or political speeches for the students. People were there to listen to Kerry, not this jerk. Yet, Meyer wanted everyone to listen to his ramblings, when he was supposed to ask a dang question. Kerry asked him more than once to get to the question...but the guy wanted to go off on his views instead. Kerry said he had read the book but Andrew wanted to tell the audience about the book...which was not part of asking questions. He was loud and hostile. He acted like he was manic, unstable or he was on something. Now that I know more about him, I imagine it was simply trying to get attention for himself and his views, and it did work. Misguided students and activists have turned him into some kind of poster boy for free speech.

He isn't.

The cops stood there and let him go on and on for quite awhile....if everyone asking a question had done that it would have been a long, drawn-out mess. Maybe it was the "blow job" comment that turned the tide against him finally....being crude, etc.

I don't know why the cops decided to stop him when they did, but I know I was ready for him to shut up and I wasn't even there.

It is too bad it turned out that way....perhaps, if the cops had waited just a little longer he would hopefully have shut up and let Kerry answer.

I WANTED TO HEAR KERRY'S ANSWER.....instead, the drama queen ruined it, which was his goal, really. He didn't really WANT Kerry's answer, he wanted to lecture everyone.

It almost worked out....if the cops had waited just a little longer I think - I hope - the guy would have calmed down and let Kerry answer. Or would he have kept going? I thought they let him ramble quite a bit before getting him out of there. What were they supposed to do? Let him ramble on for 20 minutes? Others had questions. He was hogging their time. Again, I ask you.....how long were they supposed to let this jerk ramble and shout? 30 minutes? Would that be fair to others who had questions?

Put yourself in the shoes of the students waiting patiently for there turn to speak and ask Kerry a question. Kerry is only there for a limited amount of time and then he is gone. That is why each student is limited in the time they have for a question. Everybody knows you plan your question ahead of time.

This selfish jerk comes up to the microphone and wants to ramble on about a book Kerry says he already read. Still, he wants to "inform" everyone else about the book, while Kerry politely asks "What is the question?"

Is it fair to take time away from the other students like that? Perhaps some student didn't get to ask her question because of this twit's disruption. What about HER right to free speech?

Did anyone notice how many of the students were LAUGHING when Andrew was first pulled away from the microphone? Clearly, many thought he was showing off and being disruptive on purpose.

The taser might have been excessive and that certainly seemed to be what upset people.....but he needed to shut up and go outside and ramble on for those who cared to listen.

Let's discuss the taser issue for a moment. I did hear him say at one point that he would walk out on his own if they let him, and I thought the cops should have given him that chance. Apparently, at that point he had crossed the point of no return and they were trying to handcuff him. The problem is.....wrong or right....once cops ask you to leave or shut up......and you don't...it quickly can become resisting arrest and cops do not...and should not...have to ask you sixteen times to comply. I am aware that cops sometimes overreact and I don't need any Rodney King comments to remind me. I am also aware how quickly a cop (or bystanders) can be hurt or killed by someone who is out of control. Cops don't have the luxury we have of watching a confrontation after it happens and then deciding on the best response.

If Andrew felt he had been mistreated, there would be plenty of time to file a grievance and plenty of lawyers, activists and agents that will help him get to a microphone or talk show soon enough. There were plenty of witnesses. So, Andrew....why didn't you just shut up, put your hands behind your back, and let the question-and-answer session continue without you? Because this was your big moment?

Tasering the guy didn't seem necessary....but I couldn't see...if he was shouting like a drama queen while fighting the cops....I could see them getting fed up. It sounded like they warned him before they tasered him and he kept on and kept on. It seemed like when they did back off a bit he started trying to return to the front to keep shouting. He knew in what direction the door was.

He kept shouting "What did I do?" That was bogus. He knew what he did. He knew he was disruptive and pushed it too far and was being told to leave. It was a mess and the cops may have overreacted as cops sometimes do.

You have to remember that people like that guy can get out of control very easily....and cops get injured or killed by people who are out of control. For all they knew, this volatile guy was a danger to Kerry. They have a right to have zero tolerance for resistance when they tell someone to leave or hush or get on the floor.

I am a liberal Democrat.....but I don't have a lot of sympathy for that kid.

Police brutality or excessive force? Maybe.

Freedom of Speech violation? No.

I am sure Andrew will milk this for all he can.

Protest if you must, but I am saving my outrage for when it is warranted.

Love and peace,

Glennbird said...

One more rant and I will hush.

People make a mistake to focus on what the jerk said and it is a mistake to believes it was his content that made people uncomfortable. Hardly. People came to hear Kerry, a liberal Democrat....and I doubt most were the least bit pro-Bush or the least bit uncomfortable with what Andrew Meyer was ranting about. Many may have been very supportive of the content....just not the twit yelling it.

People were LAUGHING. They thought Andrew was RUDE to disrupt and hijack a question and answer session by trying to force a captive audience to listen to his views.

Rudeness makes people uncomfortable. Someone showing off and making a fool of himself makes people uncomfortable.

Andrew may have had some valid points and I might have been interested in them, as I was interested in hearing KERRY's response. The Ohio and skull/bones theory has merit, though I doubt a man run for President and then give up the Presidency for his frat brothers (simplifying, I know). Andrew blew his credibility and killed my interest in his views by his selfish and planned behavior.

My fellow liberals, activists and friends need to choose their battles more wisely. We seem unreasonable sometimes and it hurts our credibility and effectiveness.

Protesting a free speech violation when there was none makes us look foolish. Protesting police brutality when a drama queen gets tased after kicking and screaming and flailing his arms when asked to leave a room is overreacting.

Protesting homophobia on Fox when it isn't homophobia to laugh at a man pretending to be a woman while crying over Britney Spears makes us look too thin-skinned.

Ooops, I digress...sort of.

Protesting for gay marriage (which I support) during elections and forcing it into candidates laps when it costs us close elections and alienates voter support we need and we otherwise have for candidates who have the better vision for the environment, education, civil rights in general, and foreign policy.

It is a combination of arrogance and ignorance...and it bugs the heck out of me.

Love and peace,

Anonymous said...

Only a freakin' liberal would find a hero in a ranting idiot performing a publicity stunt!

Dude you can have your political opinions but seeing a Bush-conspiracy in THIS incident is rediculous!

It's why I can't be liberal - don't believe in the boogey man...

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