Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No One Ever Said Freedom of Speech Was Free

Today while I was at lunch I saw on CNN a story about a journalism student at the University of Florida being tasered during a townhall meeting with Senator John Kerry. He had been asking several questions when he was dragged away from the microphone by campus police and eventually tasered. While this was going on Kerry said to let him answer the question. (You can of course watch this for yourself on YouTube.)

Was this an infringement on free speech? As you should know, the 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. It says Congress will make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't say that other people, such as the police, can't abridge your freedom of speech, nor does it say that speech is free or without consequence. The cost for this UF student to say what he wanted was being tased. As long as Congress stays out of it, you can't complain.

Who tasers a student for asking a question in front of a bunch of people who are bound to have videocameras? You have to know this is going to end up on the internet and the news. Of course they now have to investigate. In the video you can hear protests of police brutality from onlookers. What do you expect? When will the police learn to only beat people and taser, etc., when there is no videocameras?

Although I could probably go on and on, I feel a picture speaks a thousand words. And if a picture speaks a thousand words, a video clip made up of many pictures speaks a whole volume. So go judge for yourself.


Anonymous Riley said...

As I saw it, the guy didn't get zapped because of what he was saying. He got zapped for disobeying the police when they asked him to leave. At one point in the video, he gets pretty aggressive with them. I am not sure if his freedom of speech was violated, maybe it was. All I know (mostly from watching cops, wildest police videos, and other programs) is when the cops tell you to jump, you say how high. If a person doesn't want to get zapped, he or she better do what the police say. There is a time and place to question authority; this guy didn't make a wise choice.
By the way, I like your blog!

Sat Sep 22, 10:56:00 AM EDT  

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