The Corner

Soo…

People keep asking me what I think about the tasered Florida student. The videos I’ve seen come in at the end of his questions so it seems like cops are arresting him for asking a couple stupid questions. That’s not exactly what happened, judging by the news accounts. From the Washington Post:

Andrew Meyer, a senior in journalism and communications, was questioning Sen. John Kerry about why he didn’t contest the results of the 2004 election. When his diatribe on secret societies, Iran and a mysterious “yellow book” ran over the one-minute mark, his microphone was cut off. Unconcerned with this violation of civilized Q&A decorum, the 21-year-old Meyer continued to speak, sarcastically thanking the organizers for cutting of his microphone.

Officers approached him several times to wrap it up, but he declined. University Police then proceeded to remove him from the auditorium.

In other words, he wasn’t arrested for asking hard questions or for his “dissent.” He was escorted from the mic for going on too long, as per the rules of the event, and for generally being a pest. He was arrested for resisting the officers. It seems an important distinction. The fact that the kid thought it was wrong for the cops to pull him away from the microphone is pretty much irrelevant. Lots of folks think it’s wrong for the cops to apprehend them. That’s why we have judges and lawyers to work all that stuff out. When he started resisting the cops, what were the cops supposed to do? Should they have said “Oh, you don’t want to be arrested? Gosh we didn’t realize. You’re free to go.”

It does seem arguable that better cops could have talked him away from the microphone without all the fuss or carried him all the way out of the room so he wouldn’t have an audience to martyr himself in front of. And, they do seem to have been too quick to taser the guy. Then again it’s hard to tell what was happening in the close quarters. All in all, I have a hard time seeing this as anything but a minor campus incident. He was asked to stop talking after he had his allotted time, he wouldn’t. He was asked to leave, he wouldn’t. He was told to come quietly, he wouldn’t. He was told to stop resisting, he wouldn’t. He was told that if he didn’t stop resisting, he would be tasered. He was tasered. I don’t see any profound “issues” stemming from the whole thing.

But I do wonder why Kerry isn’t getting more criticism from liberals who are outraged by the whole thing. If it was as terrible as some emailers suggest, why didn’t Kerry say something to bring order to the room? He’s just up at the podium droning on about how it’s a shame he couldn’t be sworn in as president or something. If the cops’ behavior is so self-evidently outrageous, why didn’t Kerry say “All right that’s enough!”?

Update: First I should clarify. I posted accidentally an earlier version of this than I intended. Damn blogging software! Kerry did do something. He said “let me try to answer the question” or some such. And he said something about how people should calm down. The point I thought I made, was that if this was such an outrageous moment of jack-booted thuggery  Kerry response was lame, lacking all forcefullness or indignation. But yes, he did try to get the audience to pay attention to him instead of the kid getting tasered. It was a bold and assertive moment for John Kerry indeed.

Then there’s this, from a reader:

Jonah:

You’ve probably already gotten 17,000 e-mails informing you of this, but over on Michelle Malkin’s site an eye-witness relates that Miller also rushed the mic when it appeared that the time for Q&A was winding down.  He was way back in line, and ran to the front to get his rant in.  So the police were already somewhat in a state of panic when they thought the kid was possibly rushing the stage.  It’s not like they were hovering over him just because he was being long-winded. 

Although it would be nice if Bill Clinton got the same treatment whenever his speeches wander into the second hour J

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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