Shouting Incoherently in a Crowded Theater

by Joe Tacopino

20 September 2007


When a 21-year-old Florida college student was tackled and Tasered by campus cops at a recent John Kerry speech, the ensuing YouTube footage set off a mini-debate about the issues of free speech and the use of excessive force. Andrew Meyer, the rambunctious—some may say obnoxious—student, began the melee by allegedly muscling his way up to the front of the question line, and proceeding to aggressively shout queries at the former presidential candidate.

“Clinton was impeached for what, a blowjob?” Meyer confidently stated, “Why don’t we impeach Bush?... Were you a member of Skull and Bones in college with Bush?” he continued, “Were you in the same secret society?”

The campus ‘tin-badge’ squad then moved in, trying to haul the loud-mouth student away—and here’s where things got complicated. Meyer resisted; escalating the episode by making a huge dramatic scene out of the whole mess. Campus cops then over-reacted by Tasing the guy after he was wrestled down to the floor.

The cable news coverage was ubiquitous. Tucker Carlson correctly stated that the cops should “be ashamed of themselves,” while Rachel Maddow, appearing on Countdown with Keith Olberman, agreed that the campus cops were overzealous but also called the student a “loud mouth activist.” (Good call on both counts.) Finally, America’s most popular (alleged) sexual predator, Bill O’Reilly, not only believes Meyer is “the biggest wimp in the United States of America” but also that “he should be prosecuted.”

My analysis:

Andrew Meyer: You’re an idiot. Ask your question and sit down. This forum was not meant to be about you and you conspiracy theories. Furthermore, when police attempt to contain you— don’t resist. Nothing good will come of it. That should be common sense.

Tin-Badge Squad: Turn in your Tasers and plastic pistols. There were about six of you surrounding this 21-year-old college student as he was sprawled out on the ground. Slap the cuffs on him and drag him out. A Taser? What were you thinking? You knew there were more than a few cameras aimed at you. Didn’t you learn anything from Rodney King. Enjoy your “leave of absence.”

Anyway, if you haven’t already seen the video, here it is:

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