CBS 4: “A Weston student at the University of Florida was shocked with a stun-gun and arrested Monday when he tried to continue speaking at a forum with U.S. Senator John Kerry after the question and answer session had ended. The whole incident was caught on camera.”
Here’s another camera angle. The chilling thing is that nobody did a damn thing while Andrew Meyer cried out for help. Is this a free society?
And to show you just how acceptable this kind of over-the-top police reaction has become, here are some comments from the NBC 6 site:
Taser him again!!!!
This was so hilarious that I watched it several times. The demented liberal freak is yelling “what did I do?” while trying to punch out police officers. It’s nice seeing an anti war protest thug receive some of the street justice that they love to meet out at their “peaceful” protests.
Use a bullet next time
Hit him again….
what a douche
And here’s another video angle. To be fair, there are some queries here from the crowd. But the detail that creeps me out is the blonde woman who stands on the left edge of the frame smiling while this student is being hit with a stun gun.
UPDATE: More details from the Miami Herald: “Members of the student group sponsoring the event summoned UF police to escort Meyer out, according to a police statement. At first, students can be heard cheering as he is asked to leave.” In addition, a website has been created containing a number of links to what happened. A protest is planned at the University of Fresno this afternoon at noon.
And here’s more from Emil Steiner:
Before his Miranda rights had even been read, the outspoken student asked loudly, “What are you doing? I want to stand and listen to him answer my question. Why are you arresting me for asking a question? I didn’t do anything.” The six officers then grabbed ahold of his shirt, pulled him to the ground and cuffed him.
Throughout this disturbing display, Kerry remained stoically focused on answering the young man’s questions (the ones to him, not the ones he asked the police). Even as Meyer’s shrieks grew in urgency, the Massachusetts senator reflected calmly on the importance of not contesting the results of the 2004 election.
Kerry’s voice, however, was no match for Meyer’s, who despite not having a mic continued to hog the audience’s attention with such glib catch phrases as: “Help me! Help!” and “What are you doing! Get off of me! Don’t Taser me, bro! Oh my God! OH MY GOD!”
Nothing, incidentally, on this posted by Daily Kos or Atrios.
Gotta hand it to this kid! I think he finally got his point across.
Those glazed expressions and motionless, apathetic bodies are indicative of a country in which everyone has spent a good portion of their lives sitting in front of screens, eating potato chips. I can think of no better image that better suits the U.S.A. right now than a group of people staring passively at a young man while ge gets assaulted by rent-a-cops. Expect more of this in the future. This country is going to eat itself before all is said and done.
As a psychological phenomenon, most of the people sitting idly is incredibly common and has very little to do with any kind of passivity that’s been ingrained in our society. When something so obviously disjunctive is happening, particularly an event involving violence, the brain for most of us simply freezes. It’s a version of fight or flight, with the reaction being closer to flight. It is literal shock.
Couple that with natural herd behavior, i.e., I’m confused so I’m going to go with the crowd to be safe and you have situations like this all the time. (Think the Stanford Prison experiment.) Ed recently posted to a Kitty Genovese-style incident that happened recently. The truth is, almost all of us would freeze and do nothing because we’re not wired to behave differently.
One of the most important pieces of training the military engages in is training soliders to not be stunned by violence. When soldiers hear gunshots, they instinctively move towards them since if you’re armed and trained your best chance of survival is ferreting out the threat, not running from it.
Hindsight has us all horrified, but it’s easy to pass this judgment in hindsight. Human nature is human nature. There’s some people who defy nature, but they’re the exceptions in these situations, not the rule
The lack of empathy in those message postings is another thing entirely, an equally fascinating phenomenon that is part of human nature, but (I think anyway) greatly exacerbated or at least amplified by some of our communication technologies.
Incidentally, the email address for the University of Florida police department is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disrespect of the First Amendment is rampant in America. This is clearly demonstrated by what happened to Meyer. Perhaps, he could have given Sen. Kerry a chance to answer one of his questions before throwing a barrage of others, but Meyer should not have been delt violence for exercising his Constitutional right. What if Meyer had been a grannie and been hit with a stun gun? Would that have made a difference?
I am horrified that no one came to the defense of Meyer. His cries when he was hit by the taser should have moved someone to help.
Where have all the freedoms gone? Long time passing…
Oh, come ON. Yes, the conservatives who are cackling about this are idiots — what do you expect? But don’t let their stupidity turn this guy into a martyr for the cause.
The guy was very clearly causing a public disruption. Kerry was an invited guest who was trying to answer his questions — but the lunatic just wanted to rant and talk over him. (At one point he even says, and I’m paraphrasing: “He got to talk for two hours, now it’s my turn.” Well, no shit — Kerry was INVITED. People are there to hear HIM speak, not this douche.) He wanted to blog out loud, essentially, at an inappropriate forum. What’s more, he was preaching to the converted — these people were here to see Kerry, so it stands to reason they didn’t exactly vote for Bush.
You can see security (were they police? the uniforms look like campus cops to me) trying to remove the guy, starting gently but insistently, then becoming a little more forceful as he blatantly keeps going, then turning off his mic. At this point the guy should have shut up and sat down.
Instead, he freaks out, yells louder, puts up a physical resistance — what do you expect them to do in that situation? Should Kerry have sat down and just let the guy rave on until the entire auditorium was cleared out? This guy is no different than someone jumping up onstage at a concert — OF COURSE security will tackle the guy and escort him off! That’s how it works, that’s the law, and anyone who jumps onstage at a show knows to expect that.
Nobody beat him with a night stick — they shot him with a taser, which is a hell of a lot less destructive. I’m sure it hurts, but I’m equally sure that’s precisely what this guy wanted to happen. Now he gets to be his own figurehead for the supposed “loss of our freedoms.”
The audience is getting nailed as sheep for not resisting — but you can HEAR the applause when they drag this guy away. He was a nuisance and they were relieved to see him go. Why would anyone put up a fight when they clearly want him removed as well?
As to where our “freedoms” went — well, Ed posted the video on his blog and we’re all commenting on it. Has anyone been arrested or had their phone tapped yet?
I’m a die-hard liberal, and there’s nothing more frustrating to me when liberals rabidly glorify and rally around the wrong person or cause. We’re doing ourselves a tremendous disservice by hoisting this dipshit into the limelight. If he’d been ranting at Kerry in an identical manner about how GREAT Bush is, every liberal blogger would be grousing that he had it coming. It’s not the ideas, but the manner in which they were expressed that was the problem.
Let me ask you something, Doctor. Accounting for the reality that this kid was extremely excited and perhaps didn’t phrase his questions in the best manner, is it entirely justifiable to Tazer someone when they are merely trying to express something? Is it entirely justifiable to drag someone away from the mike and thus FURTHER aggravate the situation when he could have been disarmed it in another matter? (He could have joked about the secret society. Instead, he was defensive, pointing out that he had read the Palast book.) I’ve been to a lot of panels and participated on a few. What this kid did is no different than some bumbling guy going on too long in trying to ask a question. What makes him any different? Had Kerry, the police, or the organizers simply allowed the guy to cool off and ask his question, I’m thinking that he would have settled down. He wasn’t racing for the stage. He was off to the side. So your bouncer analogy doesn’t hold.
Could the organizers not have turned off the microphone a little earlier? Could not Kerry have simply expressed some kind of leadership here and said, “Leave him alone?” Because surely the cops and the kid would have backed off with an authority figure like Kerry there controlling the situation. But no, Kerry spoke without compassion, without intervention, and without a sense of empathy for the kind of kid that HE once was.
The students, likewise, could have approached the police in numbers, demanding what was going on (as they did in that UCLA Tasering not so long ago). Or they could have addressed Kerry and put the onus on him. If I were in the crowd, I’d like to think that I would have done either of those two things. To hell with the consequences. This was a human being needlessly assaulted.
Are we now in the practice of Tasering anybody who criticizes another person? THAT is the issue here. This is where America now stands. The fact that the students cheered for the police coming in really demonstrates just how little opinion, even those of inarticulate 21 year olds, is valued.
Let me also ask you something. Have you been arrested unexpectedly without the police giving you a charge? I have. And let me tell you that the human impulse is to ask what the fuck is going on when the cuffs go on and you haven’t been given a charge, much less a reason for why you’re being manhandled. That’s not being a douche. That’s reacting in a human manner.
Having watched this from multiple angles now, I’m not seeing a civil liberties scandal of immense proportions here. Don’t get me wrong — The guy should NOT have been tasered, and whoever pulled the taser on him should probably lose their lousy, low-paying campus security job. As for the “perp,” he should have been escorted out of the building and left out on the street.
But, otherwise, Dr. Dissent pretty much encapsulates my view of the situation. This guy was out of bounds from early on, and at each step he aggravated the situation when the campus police tried to get him to move along. It’s not like the cops set upon him Mississippi-Burning style because he dared to speak truth to power. He began rambling on about Iran and Skull and Bones and causing a scene at a public forum, and he ratched up the situation each time the cops tried a different way (shutting off the mic, escorting him out) to remove him peacefully. That doesn’t excuse his ultimate tasering, but I can see how one of the campus security folks might’ve panicked when he started flailing and yelling all the louder.
It’s an unfortunate incident all around, but I just don’t see it as a death knell for civil liberties in this country. Now, if they’d waterboarded him…
I wouldn’t have lifted a finger for this guy either.
Are you kidding? This is a chilling attack on the First Amendment. The guy was asking questions. He didn’t pull a gun or throw rocks. And what in the hell was Kerry doing? Standing there like the cigar store Indian I voted for last time around. But you folks who think too much is being made of this incident better watch out. The thought poice may come for you next.
I just watched all three versions of the incident that Ed linked,and I have to say it’s a tough call here-the guy was clearly hysterical even before the cops took him down and in the clip on NBC 6,he’s very paranoid towards the end,refusing to give his name and shouting to folks nearby that the government has him and wants to kill him.
Kerry comes off pretty badly here,for his sarcasm-granted,the guy was rambling big time but some one like Kerry who has plenty of experience in dealing with the public from his many political campaigns should’ve handled things better. Instead,he seemed to have contempt for him. I’ve been to and worked at events where sometimes you get a member of the Wacky Tribe at the mike and the most important thing is to stay cool. Kerry sounded pretty annoyed at dealing with someone he clearly thought of as a heckler.
In my opinion,he wasn’t tasered for asking a question-he was tasered because of his refusal to calm down and comply with the police(you can hear one of the officers warning him to calm down or the taser would be used before it actually was). Keep in mind that it’s not so long ago that an agitated student went beserk on campus and the authorities are going to tend to rather be safe than sorry when someone acts up like this.
According to the AP report this guy has a long history of committing public pranks and taping them. He seems to think it is funny to discomfort people and catch it on tape. Well, this time it backfired on him. I am a conservative and don’t like much of what Kerry has to say. Some posters have talked about apathy, to me the real sign of apathy is that a former presidental candidate speaks at a college and only a few dozen students show up. But I don’t like to see anyone heckled and shouted down by a wingnut in the crowd. This guy Meyers was in control of the events, if he had complied with the campus security and allowed himself to escorted from the room, if he had not rushed back toward the stage, if he had not struggled with the security none of this would have happened.
Agree with Dr. Dissent and ironmike about the kid. SInce the kid was, after all, preaching to the converted, why the hell was he rasing such a fuss? “According to the AP report this guy has a long history of committing public pranks and taping them.” Simplest explanation says he just wanted attention. Sit down, kid.
Disagree with Ed about equating the kid with some “bumbling” guy. The kid was near ranting, waves away the security, pitches his voice louder and louder. Inarticulate? No, that’s aggressive behaviour no matter what culture you come from, no matter what the circumstances are. He was warned and he responded aggressively. This is a high-profile American senator being ranted at by some guy waving a book around, not some bloggers’ panel confronted by a “bumbling” everyman. Maybe he’s a genuine danger, maybe not, what’s the safer bet? I’m betting there’s more security at Kerry’s show than the normal quasi-literary panel, and more nervous security, too, with a lot more to lose. Too bad they lost their heads with the tasering.
Disagree with Ed’s penultimate conclusion, “Are we now in the practice of Tasering anybody who criticizes another person? THAT is the issue here.” Is that the issue? Was the kid tasered after he asked Kerry why the presidential hopeful stepped away from the election? No, he was taken down after he asked a third question about, perhaps rather hazily, conspiracy. Accusation isn’t criticism, it’s attack. Is security in the practice of tasering someone who makes veiled charges of conspiracy at a high-ranking American senator in a possibly vulnerable environment? They probably shouldn’t be, but safe is better than sorry.
That being said, I totally agree with whoever said that the security member who tasered the kid should probably be fired. That was a careless move, and WAY too much cannon for the mosquito.
Pleading “human behaviour” won’t get you anywhere, Ed, you can use that one to defend/attack any sort of behaviour.
Agree with Ed and Lady T about Kerry’s leadership. My word, this man is cold. Why didn’t he walk over, raise his voice, tell the security to knock it off and let the kid rant? What harm would it have done Kerry? The kid would have looked like an asshole and Kerry would have gained empathy-points.
End of me ranting. I’ve got a Skull and Bones meeting to moderate.
Meyer should be tasered again today, every time he looks in his little mirror, should learn to shut up and have a little respect for others – he’s a media/attention whore, and we’re all feeding it instead of speaking to/addressing real concerns other that this spoiled, self-serving loud mouthed brat.
Ok, officer, I’m done.
i guess laughter is the best medicine. This Don’t Tazer me bro t-shirt cracked me up: http://www.cafepress.com/dabesttshirts/3768217
i would never let no one touch me with a teaser and that guy had his rights to ask that question