Monday, September 24, 2007

Andrew Meyer Had It Coming

9/20/07, 12:35:00 PM:

So for anyone who hasn't seen the video of Andrew Meyer getting tasered, here it is. I'm not going to waste any time describing what happened because it's all right there in the video for anyone to see. Here's the bottom line: this douchebag broke the rules and resisted duly appointed law enforcement officials when they tried to remove him. He tried to take over the microphone, he was ranting without giving the university's invited (and paid) guest a chance to respond, and when the people in charge of keeping order tried to remove him, he started screaming at the top of his lungs and trying to pull away, so they incapacitated him. I've got no sympathy for this prick.


Turpitude said...

and at what point did this not violate free speech?

Okay, boys and girls, let's settle in for a quick First Amendment lesson. Americans enjoy the right to free speech. It's a good thing. We want people to be able to express their ideas, especially their political ideas, the notion being that people ought to be exposed to viewpoints and allowed to judge for themselves. It also means the government can't arrest someone in a public park for ranting about alien invaders. But what if he's in the middle of the street in a residential area at three in the morning with a bullhorn? There's clearly some balancing to be done.

The most important thing to remember about the Andrew Meyer media event is that it didn't happen in a park; it happened on university property. The university went to the expense of providing the forum and paying the guest, so it gets to make the rules. When someone breaks the rules, as Mr. Meyer did, the university has the right to remove them.

Mr. Meyer's freedom of speech isn't at issue here, and that's the misunderstanding that needs to be corrected. The question isn't whether it was okay to remove him from the premises. He was pretty obviously in violation of all sorts of university policies, not to mention being just plain rude. According to the author's comments on the video linked above, Mr. Meyer was being disruptive from the moment he entered the event. He apparently interrupted another student to take the microphone, even though Senator Kerry said he wouldn't be taking other questions. When security moved to intercept Mr. Meyer, Senator Kerry told them he would take the question and to please let Mr. Meyer speak. Frankly, I think it's an impressive display of tolerance that this douchebag got to use the mic in the first place.

As you can see in the video linked above, Mr. Meyer's "question" very quickly turns into a screed about inconsistencies in the 2004 Presidential election, assertions that President Bush is going to invade Iran, a call on Kerry and (presumably) the rest of America to impeach Bush, and questioning Kerry about his membership in the Skull and Bones society. He was clearly "sticking it to the man" in his own juvenile way. What happened? The university's duly appointed security officers tried to remove him from the event. When Mr. Meyer continued to be loud and obnoxious, they didn't do a thing, just kept moving him towards the door (here's a better video of the scuffle with the campus cops). It wasn't until he tried to break away and stay in the auditorium that he was tackled, and at that point he's resisting law enforcement officers. Sorry dude, you lose.

If Mr. Meyer were outside the auditorium protesting in the parking lot, I'd have a big problem with him being ordered to leave, let alone tased. Even if Meyer were a fringe lunatic, he has the right to speak his mind, and most of the stuff he brought up is actually of legitimate public concern. Even some of the nuttier-sounding accusations merit investigation.

But he didn't go that route. He didn't march around, didn't make a sign, didn't buy a megaphone, didn't write a leaflet, didn't take advantage of the multitude of options open for him to express himself. He decided to hijack someone else's event and use it for his own purposes. I mean seriously, what a dick.

Dicks get to talk just like everyone else here in our infotopian nation, but freedom of speech means you have the inviolable right to say whatever you want however you want, not wherever and whenever you want. You don't get to stand in the middle of the grocery store and scream about how much you hate your representative on the City Council if the store owner tells you to leave, even if you buy things at that store. Why should you get to stand in the middle of an auditorium yelling about how much you hate the President when the person in charge of the event tells you to leave? Just because you're a student?

This guy is facing two criminal charges: one misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace and one felony count of resisting arrest with violence. I don't think I've ever seen better-documented crimes. And seriously, what a dick!