Sep 192007

I’m well aware that there are times when I don’t sound like the liberal I claim to be.  Maybe it’s because I listen to a lot of Conservative talk radio (not that I have much choice here in Tampa).  Who knows?  I like to think it’s because I try to evaluate every situation for what it is and not simply write everything as being “bad” if it doesn’t necessarily mesh with what I believe in.

And one would think that a college student (yay education) grilling a politician (boo!) to find out whether or not there’s really any difference between him and his supposed opponents (there isn’t) would be a person I could get behind, right? 

Yeah, wrong.

Near as I can tell, Andrew Meyer is yet another in a long line of rude people who likes to make others uncomfortable who went too far and pretty much got what he deserved.  Good luck getting to his web site, because despite the fact that Mr. Meyer spent the evening in jail his personal web site was constantly being updated with links to news sites and updates. 

Mr. Meyer is the kind of person who, reportedly, made a video of himself wearing a home made sign that said “Harry Dies” after the release of the latest Harry Potter book.  I can’t confirm this, because the article that says he did references a video I cannot find on his web site.  Perhaps it was deleted because it showed him in a less than ideal light?  Mr. Meyer would love that kind of conspiracy theory.

And what about that first video that made it out on the web?  Amazingly enough it seemed to have a few choice edits, leaving out the part where someone asks him to get to the point and ask his question and replies with “I’ll ask my question.  I even have two more.  He’s spoken for 2 hours now and it’s my turn” (or something to that effect…I have not been able to find a transcript online). 

So let’s review a few things here…

According to several accounts he barged to the front of the line and cut in front of another student to ask his question.

He was asked by someone (I’m assuming one of the moderators, but it might have been a cop) to get to the point and ask his question.  He refuses to do so and continues on his rant.

His microphone is cut off and he begins shouting.

The police begin to escort him out and he continues yelling, wanting to know what he did wrong.

Here’s a big one, gang…

He pulls free of the cops, begins flailing his arms about, and yells “Get your hands off of me!”

Big.  Big.  Mistake.

Look, here’s the bottom line – You don’t resist the cops.  You don’t argue with cops.  You definitely don’t try to run from cops.  Why?  Because they have GUNS.  Because they have the ability to put you in jail.  Because, and this is especially important if you really do believe that we live in a police state, if you’re arrested and charged with a crime “innocent until proven guilty” is really kind of lip service. 

I used to work in an Exxon station where I got to know a lot of cops.  Part of getting to know them let me in on the “darker” sides of police work.  I’m not talking about the fact that they risk their lives by doing their jobs.  I’m talking about the fact that if they want to charge you with a crime they will find one, and there really isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.  Need a reason to pull you over?  A quick flick of the nightstick guarantees that there was a turn signal out. 

Is it pretty?  No.  But it’s true.  I learned things about men, good men, who were genuinely committed to doing the right thing that gave me a whole new level of fear (and respect) for the law.  If these men would bend the rules, what would a BAD cop do? 

In any case, I really see this Meyer guy as a product of the Jackass generation.  The loud, in your face, say things to make you squirm gang.  I believe he went in there fully intending on making Senator Kerry look bad, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if his level of resistance was part of that. 

The ONLY thing I can say about this encounter that I think was over the line was the tazering itself.  I’m not sure that with six cops and one skinny college kid there was really a need to go to that length, but hey…I wasn’t there.  I wasn’t the cop who was worried that maybe this guy was going to hurt someone, or himself.  Hell, they might have thought he was going to try to hurt Senator Kerry.  Don’t know.  Can’t put myself in those shoes.

So yeah, here’s me not being a “liberal” and agreeing that this is a sign that Free Speech is under assault in our country.  Andrew Meyer was way, way out of line.  Did he get what he deserved?  I don’t know if I can say for sure on that, but I do believe that this wasn’t an “innocent student” who was being silenced for having controversial views.  This was a guy acting like a jackass who continued to do so when the situation Got Serious, and what happened after that was a direct result.  The truly sad thing is that as a journalism major he’s likely to turn this into a profit of some kind. 

I guarantee you his 15 minutes aren’t done just yet.

Edited to add some additional information

Meyer’s microphone was, indeed, cut off by the moderators of the forum and NOT the police.  “Members of Accent, Student Government’s speakers bureau, cut off the microphone because Meyer used profanity, said Steven Blank, Accent chairman. Accent sponsored the forum, which was held at the University Auditorium.”

In this same article it states that students were going to protest to have all tazers removed from campus.   Because, you know, it’s much better to have your campus police use guns or batons to subdue non-violent resisters.

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