I have been reading the growing reaction to the shocking footage of Andrew Meyer’s arrest and tasering at Kerry’s University of Florida speech with mounting horror. The incident horrified me enough, but I had thought that at least among the left-blogosphere, that the obvious unconstitutionality and near police-state brutality the event represented would have been transparent. I thought it would have been universally condemned, even by so-called “left wing moderates.” Apparently, my naivety shows once again.
The comments on Common Dreams for an article written by Naomi Wolf condemning the event are revealing. Because, of course, Common Dreams is far to the left of almost any other newsportal online, and its commenters could generally be relied upon to condemn this sort of obvious (to me) police excesses. And yet all many people can bring themselves to condemn is the tasering itself (and maybe not even that!) instead of the very fact of the completely unlawful arrest.
I’ve seen as many of the videos as I can, including one featuring all of Mr. Meyer’s question to Kerry. I think any person who has attended a lefty event with a Q&A session knows the type of questioner Mr. Meyer represents. They’re the ones who are determined to make their point in as rambling a fashion as possible, with a good deal more statement than question. They can range from fairly mild mannered to considerably more obnoxious than Mr. Meyer. They might be doing it for some cameras, or they might just want to have their rambling views responded to. The fact is that I have been to dozens of events where these types of questioners were one hundred times more annoying and frustrating than Mr. Meyer. Never at any time, even at its worse, did I feel the need to do anything more than perhaps join in the chorus of audience members urging these individuals to wrap it up. Usually the speakers were also familiar with these types, and were adept at disengaging from the long-winded questioner and getting to the answer. Let me repeat this again in clear, unadorned English:
It is EASY to deal with people like Andrew Meyer, no matter HOW you feel about his question. It is done hundreds of times a year and someone as seasoned and experienced as a FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE should not have even batted an eye at Meyer’s behavior.
To make matters worse, it appears that as soon as he asked the Skull and Bones question he had planned to give up the microphone anyway. Obnoxious, loud-mouthed and grandstanding he might have been, but last I checked our First Amendment rights DO cover speech that does not conform to all standards of politeness. His question was more than valid– it was vital and one I doubt any reporter has ever put to the senator. And even if Meyer had spent one minute asking “if you could be any animal, what would you be”, it STILL wouldn’t merit an arrest. People are claiming that Meyer deserved what happened to him because he resisted arrest. They seem to be missing the major point (which is ironic, since Meyer himself shouts it at least ten times on the video):
WHY WAS HE ARRESTED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Asking a question ISN’T, in the America I hope I still live in, grounds for arrest. He had left the microphone. Kerry was answering the question. Order had been restored. And then, to make the punitive nature of the arrest even more apparent, they wrestle the kid onto the floor and threaten him with a taser. He says, quite clearly, that he will leave if they let him go. Well, that solves their problem, right? That’s the entire point of the fraudulent arrest, right? Apparently not, since they then proceed to zap him with a taser. He’s moaning in pain on the floor while Kerry, former presidential candidate, makes a joke about Meyer not being available to “swear me in as President.”
And this doesn’t make you sick? Do you really think that speech you disagree with, or whose delivery you find fault with, has the right to be censored so violently? Six police officers for one rowdy student?
And significant portions of the left seem to think this isn’t that bad?
Some kind of fog has descended on this country, so thick that we can hardly see through it, and no one even seems to realize that it’s there.
Paul Craig Roberts on this incident.
And a monumentally irrelevant defense of police brutality here, on Common Dreams (apparently, it’s okay to wrestle a non-violent questioner to the floor because he likes posting media pranks and videotaping himself. Who knew?)
Comment by Kyle Mitchell, Freelance reporter, videographer, and columnist
3 hours ago
“As more and more inquiries are being made into who Andrew Meyer really is, the picture of a young man capable and willing to manipulate this weakness of modern media becomes ever more clear.
“An avid prankster and politico, Meyer is a regular at local Gainesville political events. In the past, he has stood on a major street corner with a sign proclaiming “Harry dies” in the final book of the Potter series. His personal website lists interests that include “getting wasted.”
“Moments before publicly berating Senator Kerry – who was gracious enough to allow the question beyond the allotted time available – he gave his own video camera to a complete stranger nearby, simply to ensure that the incident would be recorded. There are also some who have said that he was warned of his impending arrest, though he repeatedly asks “Why are you arresting me?” while it was happening.”
“Kyle Mitchell is a graduate of the University of Florida. He has been working with The Gainesville Sun for more than four years, covering music, entertainment and news.
Mr. Mitchell goes on to condemn University of Flordia police in using excessive force on Meyer, and the did just that. U of Flordia police should rightly be condemned, but neither should Meyer beheld as some sort of hero of the First Amendment.
It is clear from Mr. Mitchell’s account that Meyer is a provocateur.
In all likelihood, meyer is sitting in his Gainsville apartment laughing at his own cleverness.