[Vision2020] Kerry speech/student tasered

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 23 15:49:38 PDT 2007

I can agree with you that he shouldn't have been interrupted, that this 
was the perfect venue for him to air his views, and that they shut him 
down too soon.  There is also the issue of whether the people hosting a 
political forum can enforce forum rules, and in exactly what way, but it 
seems clear that they overreacted here by stepping in and moving him 
toward the exit.

I don't think the tasering is that big of a deal, myself.  As soon as 
the decision was made to escort him out of the building, then it's just 
a bunch of cops doing their jobs.  Fighting them, struggling against 
them, trying to entice the crowd to help, going limp, or doing anything 
else that hinders them from performing their job duties in that 
situation will result in unpleasantness.

I also don't feel a lot of personal pity for this guy.  He, in my 
opinion, wanted to make a scene.  He could easily have asked his 
question politely, calmly, and respectfully and I'm guessing that he 
would not have been hassled.  Or rather, someone else could have, I 
guess, because I think he had worn out his welcome at similar events and 
was thus shut down even faster.  Since this guy is a journalism major, 
any pity I might have had for someone who was simply passionate about  
his ideas that I might have granted him is no more.

I guess one good question might be: did they shut him down for the 
remarks he was making, or did they shut him down because he was making a 

I don't go for the idea that the First Ammendment trumps all in this 
type of situation.  Somebody is hosting the forum, there are forum rules 
to follow.  In effect, someone owns the damn microphone and can shut it 
off whenever they wish.


Sunil Ramalingam wrote:
> Paul,
> The possibility that the student was looking to 'shake things up' is, if 
> true, irrelevant.  He was at a political forum engaging in political speech. 
>   That's protected by the First Amendment.  None of us have to like it; it's 
> protected speech.  I wouldn't say there was a 'conspiracy' to shut his views 
> down, but someone made the wrong decision to shut down what was clearly a 
> dialog between him and Kerry.
> I won't defend the decision to taser him.  I think it's abominable.  They 
> shouldn't have been touching him, let alone choosing between options such as 
> electrocuting him or dislocating his shoulder or breaking his wrist.  They 
> were state actors shutting down free speech, and they shouldn't have been 
> doing anything of the sort.  They should have allowed him to exercise his 
> rights.
> It would be different if he showed up and did this in your living room; but 
> this was a political event.  There are few places where political speech is 
> more appropriate than in this setting.
> You're right that Kerry didn't initiate anything.  Instead of trying to stop 
> this, he did nothing but drone on.  He could have told the cops there was no 
> need for their action.  He could have reminded them that this is America, 
> and that citizens are allowed to question politicians, and that politicians 
> answer to the People.  What a chance to show what free speech means!  But 
> instead he showed once again his innate ability to miss an opportunity; 
> oddly enough, that was the thesis of one of the student's questions.
> Sunil
>> From: Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com>
>> To: Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com>
>> CC: Sunil Ramalingam <sunilramalingam at hotmail.com>,  vision2020 at moscow.com
>> Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Kerry speech/student tasered
>> Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 17:34:15 -0700
>> I think there are a couple of things going on here.
>> The first was a decision by the police to remove him from the microphone 
>> and from the vicinity.  The second was to taser him when they did.  I'm 
>> unsure about the first decision.  I have little pity for him, because I 
>> think he was looking for an avenue to "shake things up".  That's just my 
>> opinion.  I also don't think he was removed from the podium because of any 
>> specific thing he said.  I don't think he was removed because he was 
>> upsetting Kerry, either.  I think he was removed because he was recognized 
>> as someone who disrupts public events.  I would rather that they let him 
>> finish his question.  However, I don't think he wanted to be allowed to 
>> finish his question, I think he wanted to make a scene.  I don't see a 
>> conspiracy to shut this man's views down.  If he had asked them calmly and 
>> politely, he would probably have been fine.
>> The decision to taser him when they did I can somewhat agree with.  They 
>> were removing him from the room, and he would not calm down and submit to 
>> that action.  When they had him on the ground, presumably trying to get 
>> cuffs on him, he wouldn't stop shouting and wouldn't cooperate.  So they 
>> tasered him, after warning him they were going to taser him several times, 
>> in order to shake him up long enough to get control of him.  I think they 
>> chose to do that rather than to do something more damaging, such as 
>> dislocating a shoulder or breaking a wrist.  I say that I can "somewhat" 
>> agree with the decision because I'm not an expert in restraining someone.  
>> Perhaps they had other less headline-making options at their disposal.
>> This is all my opinion from watching one of the videos on youtube that 
>> shows the arrest, and from reading comments on various websites on this 
>> guy's history.
>> I also think this had nothing to do with Kerry.  He was willing to answer 
>> the questions, and he didn't initiate anything.
>> Paul
>> Ted Moffett wrote:
>>> Sunil et. al.
>>>  Sorry, I had not read the story at the "Counterpunch" link you offered.  
>>> And given some of the responses to this thread, I wonder how many others 
>>> read the story.  I found out what the student was questioning Kerry about 
>>> (the Palast book and the "stolen" election of 2004, etc.) from other 
>>> sources.  The more I find out about what happened in this incident, the 
>>> more disturbing the police response appears.  As the "Counterpunch" story 
>>> headline questions, "Why did Senator John Kerry stand idly by?"  I wonder 
>>> if Kerry has issued any public responses to the coverage of this story in 
>>> the media.
>>>  Meyer (the tasered student) asked very good questions that need to be 
>>> asked over and over...
>>>  The questions asked were, according to the "Counterpunch" article:
>>>  At the conclusion of Kerry's speech, Andrew Meyer, a 21-year old 
>>> journalism student was selected by Senator Kerry to ask a question.  Meyer 
>>> held up a copy of BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast's book, Armed 
>>> Madhouse, and asked if Kerry was aware that Palast's investigations 
>>> determined that Kerry had actually won the election.  Why, Meyer asked, 
>>> had Kerry conceded the election so quickly when there were so many obvious 
>>> examples of vote fraud?  Why, Meyer, went on to ask, was Kerry refusing to 
>>> consider Bush's impeachment when Bush was about to initiate another act of 
>>> military aggression, this time against Iran?
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Ted Moffett
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