October 7, 2006

"Everybody should quit Facebook right now."

Marcus Johnson, a Columbia student, reacting to the news that Columbia is using student Facebook entries to investigate the incident in which a mass of students stormed the stage and drove off the speaker, Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist.
As of late Thursday night, 13 Columbia students and alumni had joined a Facebook group titled, "YES, I was there when Gilchrist was rushed faster than CUFT's Quarterback."

"I don't [agree with the decision], but there's nothing we can do about it," Patric Prado, SEAS '09 and creator of the group, said. "I was there, and it's fine that they want to incriminate people who actually started violence. ... Yes, we were stupid, but we got our message across that we weren't going to accept this on campus."

Universities, employers, and law enforcement agencies have widely contended that materials posted on Facebook-including posts, photos, and personal information-are admissible in investigations. Hornsby emphasized that screening Facebook was just one of several methods that the University would employ to conduct its investigation.
What is the argument that these things are not "admissible"? This is public speech. It could be faked, but so could reports from eyewitnesses. To use the material in an investigation is not to presume it is conclusive proof of something. What makes people think that if they do something in a place that makes them feel confessional it somehow doesn't count? The students storming the stage also seemed to feel entitled to act out. That doesn't make them not responsible for what they did. They can't say oh, we were surrounded by friends who all thought this was just fine and we felt in charge of our own space. Really, these are intelligent college students. Why do they feel a special immunity from being observed in a public place?

The linked article describes the incident in a way that is quite sympathetic to the students. In the opening paragraph it refers to "Wednesday night's Minutemen brawl" -- as if the Minutemen were the main actors in a free-for-all. The fourth paragraph has this:
The investigation comes after a violent protest broke out in Roone Arledge Auditorium during a speech by Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, an organization that patrols the U.S.-Mexican border for illegal immigrants. Shortly after the speaker took the stage, several audience members rushed onto the stage with banners, sparking a physical conflict and prompting the early cancellation of the speech
"A violent protest broke out"? That's purged of human agency. A protest happened, as if a protest is a thing with a mind. "Several audience members rushed onto the stage with banners, sparking a physical conflict"? Here we get human actors, but they simply "rushed onto the stage" -- they didn't rush the speaker. And they came up to show their banners -- as if it's a festive "more speech" sort of thing. This then "spark[s] a physical conflict," so the speech of the banners ignites fighting. You can't tell who introduces the fighting ("physical conflict"). Again, the human agency is scrubbed out of the prose.

What really happened? Powerline has video and an eyewitness written description. Here's another -- shorter and more vivid video:



It's not that easy to see violence in the video, so it's especially hard to tell who's doing what, and there's no way to tell whether any given individual -- unless he's a banner-holder -- is for or against the speaker. I'm not taking a position on who's responsible for the chaos, but clearly the University needs to investigate, and what people have written on line is not out of bounds. I will say though that I find it ironic that students who are passionate about the cause of helping the poorest people are also passionate about their own privileges as affluent college students feeling immune in their Facebook realm.

UPDATE: The NYT has a substantial article about the incident:
[Columbia president Lee Bolliner said], “There is a vast difference between reasonable protest that allows a speaker to continue, and protest that makes it impossible for speech to continue.”

Monique Dols, a senior in history at Columbia’s School of General Studies, said she had mounted the stage in protest and unfurled a banner but that at such events in the past the speakers had kept going.

“We have always been escorted off the stage and the event continues,” she said, adding that this time the protesters were attacked.

“We were punched and kicked,” she said. “Unfortunately, the story being circulated is that we initiated the violence.”...

[Freshman Anusha Sriram] said she was upset that by keeping Mr. Gilchrist from speaking, the protesters had unwittingly turned the tables of the discussion against themselves.

“That just undermined the entire protest,” she said. “Now everyone looks at the protest in a bad light instead of him in a bad light.”
Sriram's point sounds so good that you might hypthesize that Gilchrist supporters took advantage of the situation by provoking the violence instead of tolerating a peaceful, silent vigil. Does the video support that interpretation? It seems as though it was an organized effort to shut Gilchrist up. Here's another video that seems to be taken outside the auditorium (found by searching YouTube for "Columbia" and "Minutemen"):



A speaker loudly brags about successfully shutting down the speech: "It's not about his free speech. It's about our free speech." That part is after a speaker goes on about the "rights" of "economic refugees" and tries to lead a chant: "Cops out of the hood/Troops out of Iraq/Workers unit and fight back."

54 comments:

Revenant said...

Eesh! I can't tell who started what either, but there's definitely something creepy about the Two Minutes Hate cheering of those college students. Since when is preventing an opposing point of view from being heard a cause for celebration?

rightwingprof said...

What I can't figure is where the security was. Didn't they have security? When Ann Coulter and Mike Adams came to our campus (not at the same time) to speak, the university provided security, and hecklers were immediately ejected from the auditorium. Had something like this happened, campus police would have arrested them, and there would be none of this trying to figure out who they were.

OhioAnne said...

When I read the story, I wondered if "conspiracy" could be added to the charges - especially if any significant injuries occured.

The man couldn't have incited violence by his speech - it was interupted in less than 5 minutes. If 20-30 people were rushing towards him, "self-defense" isn't only a reasonable plea from him, but an understandable response from he and his security detail (if such a thing exists).

So, if the students and alumni planned it and there was a reasonable expectation that violence could result, could those individuals be held liable even if they didn't personally cause the injury?

MrsWhatsit said...

I question whether these were "intelligent" college students. The IQ points may be there, but they do not appear to be functioning.

I have read that Columbia security personnel were present and did nothing. If that is true, they should be fired -- after the students are expelled. Maybe it's time for Columbia to institute a required freshman-year course covering the fundamental points of civics that these spoiled kids somehow missed in high school.

Paul Zrimsek said...

To make the scene complete, the audience really ought to have been chanting "Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

hygate said...

Despite it being glaringly obvious that they are not, many people persist in thinking of the online communities they belong to as being in the private domain. They think of getting together on Facebook as equivalent to gathering together in someone’s dorm room or a friends apartment for a bull session. I’m reminded of a posting I saw on a blog a few weeks ago were the blogger was complaining that he felt that his “private corner of cyberspace” had been sullied because a link from NRO had led (I paraphrase) “unspeakably nasty evil rightwing nut jobs” to his blog, apparently causing his immortal prose to become sullied because right wingers had read it with their unclean eyes. Or maybe they think of their Facebook postings as the equivalent of private papers and believe that the authorities should need a warrant to access them. In either case there is a technical term for such people; idiots. Or maybe they’re just young and the idea that their actions could have consequences hasn’t penetrated their heads yet.

Joe said...

I just wonder where these spoiled little leftwing fascists get the idea that people with different opinions have no right to be heard, and that they may use violence to quash that right, yet escape responsibility for their acts. And this is the Ivy League, supposedly the intellectual elite.

Cedarford said...

Looking at the Powerline links, I noticed that Both polls in the Columbia Spectator come down against the disruptors, both a 78-22% condemnation of their stunt and around 70% saying, yes, use Facebook to see who they were.

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/poll/index.cfm?event=displayPollResults&poll_question_id=18492

The problem at Comunbia lies more with faculty and administration than the students - who have various contingents of hotheads with a smug belief they can act out, use "sanctioned hate speech" accusing non-progressives of racism, homophobia, sexism, the usual and shout down speakers - with no repercussions. And profs that call for a million Mogodishus of dead American soldiers confident that they get faculty "benny points" and warm support for their courageousness in "speaking truth to power".

The attitude is revealed in part of the NY Sun editorial that Powerline links that recounts the immediate interaction between event organizers, Administration, and the Kampus Kops who stood by while the event was disrupted:

It only gets worse. After letting the perpetrators escape, university administrators had the gall to berate the president of Columbia's College Republicans, Christopher Kulawik, for allowing his guests to infuriate the crowd, according to Mr. Kulawik. In other words, despite formally nodding to the value of free speech, Columbia is effectively blaming the victim for inciting the chaos. "It's a horrible feeling to know your peers are willing to resort to violence when they disagree with you," Mr. Kulawik told our Eliana Johnson. Yet Mr. Kulawik's peers could be forgiven for thinking they'd get away with it, given their school's troubled history on free speech.

It's the same problem out in Boulder. The Colorado students are from a broad cross stream of Americana, but soon learn they attend a radicalized University where PC is rampant. Many become radicalized in the process. I have 3 nephews that graced that place, two still in school, at a "serious" school - engineering - and all say some profs and faculty hate America more than Al Qaeda does. (An exaggeration! ...I hope...)

The roots of this go back to the 60s, when the "politics of confrontation" soon replaced the Berkeley Free Speech movement idea. A big part of that was Leftist theorists embracing the tactics of the Paris communist rioters of 1968 and the influence of Herbert Marcuse, whose essay "Repressive Tolerance" argued that it was anti-progressive to tolerate free speech when the speech was by a repressor or oppressor sort, and tactics should be employed to shut the speaker down. Marcuse was a communist refugee from Nazi Germany. Would that he stayed.

So if one looks for the roots of this and other stunts at places like Columbia, look to faculty and staff that were young and angry back in the Days of Rage in Paris and who thrilled to Marcuse's 1965 essay making the rounds and groups that developed the "shout down and disruption tactics". Grown up, they seek to perpetuate their boorish, being a rebel to shut others up in the name of truth and socialist progress Marcusian ways.

The students at Columbia? As amenable to firm rules on civil discourse as they are to being amenable to firm rules regarding cheating, underaged drinking, violence that ARE enforced. The difference is in lack of enforcement by the "adult powers" who are still unfortunately back in the 60s timewarp of their own immature salad days.

Daryl Herbert said...

It's infuriating just how entitled these little commies feel. Entitled to rush the stage, entitled to brag about it afterwards, and entitled to avoid any consequences for their behavior.

They will get away with it. Who's going to punish them? The Columbia administration? What a pathetic joke. College Administrators in general are a pathetic joke, but never moreso than when it comes to free speech issues.

Like I said at Volokh.com:

But that's just it. Mr. Bollinger knows that if he hits all the right notes now, attention will die down and he can get away with giving a few of the ringleaders a slap on the wrist (when everyone who took to the stage to disrupt the speaker should be expelled)

Expulsions would send a real message about free speech. The commies weren't there to stop this particular speaker from giving this particular speech. They want to intimidate future speakers, intimidate future listeners, and increase the cost of putting on a controversial speaker in the first place (College Republicans had to pay for the university police to be there, for instance).

That's why, after the event, they surrounded a student and harassed him. They already stopped the speech... yet they continued to act like thugs. And they will continue to act like thugs in the future.

Note how Bollinger refused to condemn the constant interruptions of the first speaker. He only condemned the rushing of the stage, and everything else was very vague. He might be a noted first amendment scholar, but he's also a university administrator. We know where they stand on free speech issues.

Prove the cynics wrong, Mr. Bollinger. Stand up for free speech, and back your words with real actions.

Daryl Herbert said...

The problem . . . lies more with faculty and administration than the students

Definitely. The only way to effect change is to strike fear into their hearts. How? Direct action. Disrupt a wealthy alum fundraising dinner the same way Gilchrist was disrupted.

One successful "random act of fascism" like that, and every college administrator in the country will take notice. We could reverse the trend against free speech with a single, decisive maneuver.

Alternatively, we could write polite, handwritten letters to alumni asking them to withhold donations until Columbia does the right thing.

George said...

Is this another one of those posts about schoolhouse violence?

I thought elementary schools had zero tolerance about bullying and the use of violence...Oh, wait, this is about a college. Nevermind.

--

I dug out 1970 Life magazine whose cover story is about the revolution in co-ed dorms. The story focuses on Oberlin which in 1968 required a couple visiting each other to keep their feet on the floor at all times and to keep the dorm room door open the width of a wastebasket.

How positively quaint! as Tom Wolfe might exclaim.

Bascially, in 1970 Life reports that at Oberlin anything goes, and the university's President Robert Fuller is quoted saying, "We operate on a good old American basic: the majority of students rule and determine their own life-style."

Translation: We, the adult administrators, have, for whatever reasons, lost interest in requiring our students to follow long-standing moral guidelines.

The article also quotes a student guide telling the somewhat dazed parents of a prospective student, "'One thing you don't have to worry about at Oberlin is a drinking problem....There just isn't one.' But he admitted that a lot of students had tried marijuana."

Which reminds me of a line Neil Young shouts to his audience on one of his live albums. After a long sludgy jam, he yells, "It's all one song!"

Daniel said...

Below is an extract from a New York Times article, where protester Monique Dols basically says that mounting the stage with a banner is part of the usual drill and doesn't usually disrupt speakers, and the protesters were attacked. So they were exercising their speech rights and are victims. Sounds like BS talking points to me, but I'd be interested to hear comments.

NYT excerpt:

"Monique Dols, a senior in history at Columbia’s School of General Studies, said she had mounted the stage in protest and unfurled a banner but that at such events in the past the speakers had kept going.

“We have always been escorted off the stage and the event continues,” she said, adding that this time the protesters were attacked.

“We were punched and kicked,” she said. “Unfortunately, the story being circulated is that we initiated the violence.”

Roger Sweeny said...

I find it ironic that students who are passionate about the cause of helping the poorest people are also passionate about their own privileges as affluent college students...

Ann, since you and I are similar ages, I suspect you also found it familiar.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If the Minutemen really attacked the banner-holders, they must enjoy more support at Columbia than I would have expected; whatever happened, the audience sounds pretty enthused about it. (As does the breastblogger community.

Donald Douglas said...

This is an interesting thread. We've got "left wing fascists" and "spoiled little commies." Whatever we call them, the multicultural left is violent, intolerant, and ignorant. Their facebook communications should be considered a public forum -- there's no expectation of privacy when posting to a social networking site. I took particular umbrage at the Columbia melee. I live in California's 48th congressional district, and I voted for Gilchrist in the special election last December to replace former U.S. Representative Christopher Cox, who's now Chairman of the SEC. Gilchrist's rousting could have taken place at any university campus, really. UC Irvine has had all these "free-speech" debates whenever a controversial speaker visits the campus. John Yoo spoke a year a two back, and apparently security was sufficient to allow the former Justice Department attorney to make his case (though I'd argue that college campuses should be considered enemy terrority for visiting speakers championing mainstream conservative causes). Perhaps Gilchrist should have known better. University officials, in any case, have a lot for which to answer, and I hope arrests of the student perpetrators are forthcoming (Gilchrist was knocked to the ground and lost his reading glasses, so perhaps there's some battery charges that could be handed down against these violent multicultural anarchists).

Burkean Reflections

Daryl Herbert said...

Following Zrimsek's link, I find this, a wholly sincere comment at Eminent Fisting:

You're missing the larger point which is that the Minutemen are offensive thugs. The students have a social conscience. Like when people known to be offensive thugs i.e. Ann Coulter or Bill Kristol show up at universities they're shouted down or have things thrown at them.

rightwingprof said...

Have a manual trackback.

Ben Masel said...

Facebook provides users with a range of Privacy settings for various sorts of materials. Some scribblings be set as available to anyone in the user's entire University Community, ie anyone whose email originates at the same .edu domain.

Material posted with the Privacy setting at "friends" only would, I'd think, carry as much Expectation of Privacy as is set out in Facebook'policy, and require at least a subpoena if the authorities want to stretch the incident to a Patriot Act threshold, or a warrant if we're looking at the parameters of a traditional criminal matter.

altoids1306 said...

College Democrats (for that matter, most Democrats) believe in their moral superiority. Their every action is justified because the cause they serve is just. It is impossible to convince them otherwise - there is no logic, just conviction. Debate with them is like wrestling jello. (From first-hand experience.)

(You could argue the same is true of evangelicals, but at least there is the recognition of non-rationality.)

Luckily, most snap out of it after entering the real world, paying taxes, getting mugged/cheated, and competing in the global population for jobs/flats/mates. The effect is particularly pronounced for self-identified feminists.

Joe said...

Attacking a conservative speaker, or Israel, or Christianity, or the US, takes no courage whatsoever, no matter how much these smug lefties congratulate each other in their insular little world. Want to show real courage? Try criticizing Islam, or any facet thereof. As the Pope demonstrated, you cannot even cite historical fact without facing death threats. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Orianna Fallaci: that fascism is not an ideology, it is a behavior.

Zeb Quinn said...

Aging baby-boomers can relate, the mindset, indeed the basic dynamics of the relationship between college administration and radical leftist protesters, fundamentally shifted with the Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970. The ramparts were stormed and virtually every college campus in America went into some manner of shutdown mode for the rest of the academic year. At that moment, in their outrage over the shootings, the radicals acquired the moral high ground and therewith obtained their sense of entitlement that has persisted to this day. As a general proposition, administrators have never sought to get that item back.

Richard Dolan said...

The video had the feeling of one of those John Belushi movies about a frat house out of control. It looks like a bunch of kids who haven't learned how to live in a diverse community, no doubt in large part because they don't, and conduct themselves with all the maturity of those Belushi-like characters. As many have already noted, the whole thing is abetted by the prevailing attitude, fostered by the supposedly adult element on campus, all to the effect that the university campus is "our territory," meaning a lefy playground, and anyone who rejects the lefty rules of the game cannot to be invited to play.

As for Ann's comment about "intelligent kids," that's probably true only in the test-taking sense. If these kids had any understanding of the wider world, they might have figured out that the big winner here was the Minuteman Project -- it got lot's of free publicity casting the Minutemen in the always-to-be-cherished position of "victim," its opponents are now self-defined as a bunch of immature nutjobs, and outrage has been duly expressed about viewpoint suppression even by the university admin-types who detest the Minutemen, etc., etc.

Not a bad day's work for supposedly intelligent kids.

PatCA said...

I would agree with posters who link this phenomenon to the '60s. The left stayed on after graduation, became professors and administrators, and transformed the university as a safe place for themselves. The now institutionalized hatred for America was what, strangely, led me to abandon my liberal identification.

The students today feel entitled to a free pass for violence because they have been indoctrinated with the ideas of Marcuse and praxis, that "speaking truth to power" or intimidating offensive people is fine, even required, behavior. The majority of these demonstrators will leave the movement once they get a dose of reality, like "the pigs" reading their FAcebook entries, but the true believers will live on. What the end game will be, I can't fathom.

Ben Masel said...

I've done my share (or more0 of leftish heckling, and, after trial (and error) settled on a modus operandi which distinguishes between commentary and 'shouting down.'

So long as the featured speaker is actually speaking, don't interrupt. A pause for breath opens the floor for a brief (~15 second) interjection.

I'm unaware of caselaw parsing the distinction, and draw these limits on esthetic values. The Speaker gets to have their say, the unfriendlies in the audience a chance at counter-narrative.

"Taking over" the stage is always counterproductive. If you don't have the theatrical chops to steal the scene from your seat, leave the job to someone who does.

Fenrisulven said...

Daryl Herbert: You're missing the larger point which is that the Minutemen are offensive thugs. The students have a social conscience. Like when people known to be offensive thugs i.e. Ann Coulter or Bill Kristol show up at universities they're shouted down or have things thrown at them.

Daryl inadvertently reveals the depravity of today's Fascist Left. If they don't like your speech, the declare you a "thug", so you deserve whatever violence follows.

They intend to respond with violence anyway, the excuse thats its "offensive" is just cover to justify the attack. At least it show they know what they are doing is wrong.

Must be nice - hmmmnm, if I believe all Leftists are cowardly traitors, that justifies hanging them from the nearest tree.

Parents of Columbia students should demand a refund. They've been ripped off.

Ann: In the opening paragraph it refers to "Wednesday night's Minutemen brawl" -- as if the Minutemen were the main actors in a free-for-all.

Thats standard policy for the media. If the Left starts a fight, and even if we resist non-violently, the media writes the story as "both sides doing it". I challenge you to find a MSM story that describes Leftists as unilaterally responsible for protest violence.

The Drill SGT said...

Back onto the general subject of Facebook and MySpace etal.

These kids really don't understand that their ranting and bragging has long term consequences. Not only is their self confession of anti-social behavior (or drunken binging, or drug use, or sexual escapades) out there for Police to view, but also grad school admissions folks, Federal securiy clearance investigators and corporate recruiters. It's becoming standard for firms to screen facebook entries of applicants. Who needs folks with drug/alcohol binges or who participates in very risky behavior of any type.

Stephen said...

College exacerbates the disease of adolescence. The hormones are raging, and the victims are exposed to "new" ways of thinking unleavened by experience. Also, parents aren't there to rescue them from the consequences of their folly. Ivy League kids have it the hardest (said with only the mildest trace of sarcasm) because they've always been on top and have never learnt humility. That will come later.

Most of us make it out of college without permanent physical damage or a police record. Some of these kids won't be so lucky.

Tibore said...

For the love of God!... those students are stupid.

I am just fed the hell up with protestors nowadays. Volume has never been a suitable replacement for rational argument. Part of me wonders if this protest was more about those students feeling good about attacking "an oppressor" (scare quotes deliberate and intended) rather than actually accomplishing something constructive.

Also, as a digression: When the HELL did talking about illegal immigration turn into being anti immigration? I'm an immigrant myself; I was born in Manila. I have a probelm with illegal immigration. Does that make me anti immigration? What kind of stupid sophistry would that be? I'm all for immigration of the legal variety, that doesn't penalize people like my uncles, aunts, and cousins who take the time and raise the money to fly to Hong Kong to get the paperwork done in order to come to America. I am not for people jumping the line and getting the same or even better treatment by just running over the border. That penalizes those who try to do things the right way.

Also: I've yet to see a Minuteman say he was against immigration, only that they were attempting to help stem illegal immigration. And are they really thugs? I thought all they did was voluntarily patrol, then call the police or border patrol when they spotted a group coming in. How exactly is that thuggish?

So much protest today is irrational. It's just stupid and disgusting. And in academia too... (*barf*). There are days when I feel AskMom has got it right:

"Education used to be about teaching children to think; that is, to examine assumptions, test theories, cross-check facts, probe the chain of evidence, carefully construct the rationales, justify the connections and reference the final product back against personal experience, classic wisdom and opposing ideas or beliefs.

In recent decades, education has morphed away from this time tested method of turning short immature heathen into men. Now we slot our young into the temple of an unholy triumvirate alien to Christianity, real science and classic liberalism alike. The new holy grails are these: learning to blame and ignore if not actively hate traditional European history, ideas, people and religions; acquiring superficial self-esteem and vaporous unsubstantiated but virtuous sounding beliefs; and accepting victimology as religion, lifestyle and narcotic."


Link

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

Donald Douglas said...

In response to the "Eminent Fisting" link: Having a "social conscience" would include demonstrating proper respect for competing views. Campus multiculturalists are the true thugs, though they're entitled to their opinion. It'll all get sorted out in the marketplace of ideas, of course, and since they're mostly losers in that realm, resorting to violent thuggery is routine.

Burkean Reflections

reader_iam said...

What makes people think that if they do something in a place that makes them feel confessional it somehow doesn't count? The students storming the stage also seemed to feel entitled to act out.

You answered it: Entitlement. Specifically, Entitlement to Privilege, which can roughly be translated into plain English as "the right to be an ignorant asshole who corrupts the ideals I pretend to hold dear."

Poseurs.

reader_iam said...

What's depicted in those videos is appalling.

Tim Sisk said...

Ann: Legal question. What is the criteria generally (although aren't you a member of the New York bar) for convicting someone of inciting a riot?

Ernst Blofeld said...

You can see a couple uniformed security guys wander onto the stage a minute or two in and try to shoo off the protesters. They were a bit passive, but as much as I'd like to have seen some of the protesters get smacked upside the head, it probably wasn't a bad choice on their part.

The whole protest and demonstration concept just seems bizarre to me in the context of the US. Never saw the attraction. Though I did like the UPenn students who put together a rally to protest rallies.

http://tinyurl.com/jq2qm

"Hey hey, ho ho, mindless chanting has got to go!"

reader_iam said...

Oh. my. out of the mouth of babes.

LOL.

My son is sitting next to me "working" on his computer as I'm working on my laptop this morning. Apparently, he's been listening as I've been reviewing these YouTube videos (the little multi-tasker). Note that I've been keeping my comments strictly inside my head.

He just said:

"What the heck is that guy going on about? He sounds arigo pathetic to me."

LOL. First, I don't know what he means by "arigo." (I'll ask, in a minute.) Second, of course his question is literal, in that he's asking what the guy's talking about.

Still. What a giggle.

The "whoosh and plop" you hear is the apple falling from the tree and hitting the ground--speaking of ANOTHER Althouse thread this morning.

And OF COURSE I'll explain the situation fairly and dispassionately , on principle, but in my head, I'll be thinkin'... .

vh: mrohx

Ann Althouse said...

Tim Sisk said... "Ann: Legal question. What is the criteria generally (although aren't you a member of the New York bar) for convicting someone of inciting a riot?"

Yes, I'm I member of the NY bar -- retired from the practice of law, however, since the 80s. I'd have to do research to answer the question.

I can say that I don't think heckling and holding up signs presents a "clear and present danger" within the meaning of the First Amendment.

Gerald Hibbs said...

I went by the Fisting site to check out the comments and was struck by a phenomenon I hadn't noticed before. A number of times people stated an opinion and then cited a far-left site's editorial post as though doing so was a proof of their opinion.

Now, I've used cite sources before, of course, but always for specific numbers or studies to support an arguement. Even then I search news stories from sites that people in the opposition would tend to feel confident in. For example, I might cite a UN study or CNN.

This citing of an editorial as though that mattered troubled me. Is this type of thing a rarity on the left (or right for that matter) or is it becoming common?

The type of mental cocooning this behavior exemplifies could well explain why these students behaved as they did and does not bode well for the future of left/right relations.

Seven Machos said...

Isn't anyone going to defend the actions of the students? That's what I want to read.

dave said...

The brownshirts sure don't like it when their victims fight back, do they?

Talk about whiny-ass titty babies...

Ernst Blofeld said...

BTW, what is exactly the role of a demonstration these days, anyway? What was supposedly the objective of the Columbia demonstration? Anyone who wants to know about the minutemen goes to their web site, and the demonstration probably drove up traffic there.

As near as I can tell, the objective was to make the demonstrators feel good about themselves by being on the "right" side of an issue, and to physically intimidate the people who hold another view.

Why would anyone want to be associated with either of those objectives? The first is simply vain, the second a bit fascistic.

Freder Frederson said...

They were a bit passive, but as much as I'd like to have seen some of the protesters get smacked upside the head, it probably wasn't a bad choice on their part.

So you are complaining about these protesters because they disrupted a speech, but you would like to see them "get smacked upside the head". Yet from the thread, the leftists are the ones who are out there fomenting all the violence. Something is not quite right here.

Were peaceful protesters assaulted by rightwing thugs in this case? Are you saying that no one has the right to peacefully protest a speaker? That if they try they should "get smacked upside the head"? Now that sounds fascist to me. Not unfurling a banner or heckling a speaker or even throwing a pie.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Little "D" Dave, you keep saying "brownshirts". It's like your favorite word or something. Do you know what a "brownshirt" is? Did you see the video?

Was the "brownshirt" the speaker? And the students were the "victims" fighting back?

What were they victims of? Boring speeches? I agree, boring speeches are violations of human rights, but I'm pretty sure they weren't forced to listen to the boring speech. But actually, students are forced to go to class, which is boring, or else they will flunk out and have to work at McDonald's or become strippers, which is fascist.

Is that what you mean? They were victims of boring classes and were fighting back? Then I agree with you.

altoids1306 said...

Finally got around to watching the Youtube videos.

Hahaha. What a bunch of pathetic howling banshees. If they are the future of the Left, I can't wait for the future.

From the surprisingly candid NYT:
Mr. Bollinger, a legal scholar whose specialty is free speech and the First Amendment, quickly condemned this week’s disruption.

“Students and faculty have rights to invite speakers to the campus,” he said yesterday in an interview. “Others have rights to hear them. Those who wish to protest have rights to do so. No one, however, shall have the right or the power to use the cover of protest to silence speakers.”


Even the NYT realizes these idiots cannot be defended.

Palladian said...

"The brownshirts sure don't like it when their victims fight back, do they?

Talk about whiny-ass titty babies..."

Amazing that you can successfully pass the Blogger CAPTCHA test in order to post your sticky dribble, pinkshirt.

Keep howling!

Fenrisulven said...

The brownshirts sure don't like it when their victims fight back, do they?

There it is again: the Left accuses their targets of being "brownshirts" to justify their own nazi-like violence.

Daryl Herbert said...

Fenris wrote: Daryl inadvertently reveals the depravity of today's Fascist Left.

No, I advertently revealed it. I deliberately chose to reprint that particular comment.

Gerald Hibbs wrote: A number of times people stated an opinion and then cited a far-left site's editorial post as though doing so was a proof of their opinion.

Now, I've used cite sources before, of course, but always for specific numbers or studies to support an arguement.


If you poke around some corners of the web, you'll see people cite to Bible passages in their posts. It makes sense if you're debating the Bible... but in a debate about evolution?

TW: I had to "czeck" twice because the TW looked like a real word.

AJ Lynch said...

If you have ever been to an Ivy League campus, you would never feel threatened even in this kind of protest since the male students are 100% dweebs and geeks.

Simon said...

Ernst Blofeld said...
"What was supposedly the objective of the Columbia demonstration?"

If it was to silence speech that they found objectionable, they achieved it.

It's interesting, isn't it: as Tibore said, in leftie circles, being against illegal immigration is now seen as being anti-immigration, and both are seen as being racist, xenophobic or both. The really scary thing is that these people have passed an entrance exam for a postgrad degree course. Admissions standards are clearly in need of revising.

Bleepless said...

Vicious filth always sinks into the passive voice to disguise actions they support. Your college newsies are learning their lessons well and doubtless have lucrative careers ahead of them, lives without consciences.

Revenant said...

being against illegal immigration is now seen as being anti-immigration, and both are seen as being racist, xenophobic or both.

It is an annoying habit of theirs to do that, yes.

But -- speaking as someone who is ardently pro-immigration and just as ardently anti-illegal-immigration -- they aren't entirely to blame for having that impression. Actually racist and/or xenophobic people are about as hard to find in anti-illegal circles as recreational pot users are to find in pro-medical-marijuana circles. If I had a dollar for every time someone started off complaining about illegal immigration and then drifted off-message into bitching about "Mexiforina" and the destruction of "our culture", I could afford to build my OWN border fence.

Cedarford said...

AJLynch - If you have ever been to an Ivy League campus, you would never feel threatened even in this kind of protest since the male students are 100% dweebs and geeks.

If you are talking and all of a sudden 20-25 screaming people emerged from a hostile group of 40 more and charge the stage you are speaking on - out of the blue, unexpectedly? Your first and utterly natural reaction is to feel threatened. And you need time to distinguish threat. Which you may not have.

Now for some cops trained in detecting "dangerous manifestations of crowd behavior by behavioral observation" perhaps the threat assessment can be made faster than by a layman. But be that as it may, to a layman, a bunch of Ivy League dweebs with fists clenched, faces contorted in hate, screaming, rushing at you look fairly indistinguishable from a bunch of attackers that yes, in America and other countries have rushed stages. And then thrown objects, punched speakers, even stabbed or shot the speaker to death (past decade events at rallies in Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, Egypt, Israel). Triggering the core human instinct of the fight or flight reflex, is automatic.

And protestors that do their best to appear menacing and engage in physical confrontation cannot expect their targets will be "conservative" and react in a way they think gives them maximum safety in the situation. No different than a drunk in a bar that is menacing people for fun. I hed-kicked and dropped a kid in bar who was in my friend's face about 10 years ago at a party. I heard when he woke up he was absolutely dumfounded that someone actually hit him because he was only "messing with someones head" and had NO INTENTION of actually attacking. Too bad. I couldn't tell the difference.

If you display physical intimidation to a stranger, be you a socialist female fanatic at a decent school, a dweeb from the same, or a barroom drunk, and have no inclination for a fight - beware - you just caused a situation where self-defense is justified, regardless of your "real intentions".

Hey said...

Anyone engaged in a riot (such as this) should be jailed for life. They have demonstrated an inability to live up to the basics of citizenship and should no longer be part of the polity. Such a policy would have jailed mnost of the 60s flower children permanently and served the country very well.

The major problem with Kent state is that they should have dealt with the violent leftists (who fire bombed a university building) much, much more harshly. Read the riot act and shoot all who continue, for A!

Ernst Blofeld said...

I wouldn't mind seeing the protestors get smacked upside the head because they shut down a speech by physical intimindation, and there would be a certain amount of rough justice in them getting some physical payback. Maybe it would encourage them to behave next time, or to at least realize that in the real world there can be real consequences to acting as if you are about to beat someone down. Unfortunately a good smacking upside the head would probably also have been counter-productive from the standpoint of the security people there.

I am genuinely puzzled by the role of demonstrations in the US today. What, exactly, are they intended to accomplish? In, say, 1980 they could shout down a speaker and the speaker wouldn't always have another outlet. These days the speaker also usually has a web site, so they're not exactly preventing the ideas from being heard. The role of demonstrations seems to have migrated to being about the protestors, not the protestee.

altoids1306 said...

Anyone engaged in a riot (such as this) should be jailed for life.

I assume you're joking. I understand the sentiment, but I think a far more appriopriate punishment would be to give a written apology, which they would have to recite at a news conference, and agree to host a Minuteman speaker at their expense. Failure to comply would result in explusion from school.

Physical confinement isn't as effective as crushing their pride.

chickenlittle said...

I know I'm terribly late to this discussion. Can any of Ann's readers recall or provide details of a similar (not so violent) incident on the Madison campus involving Eldridge Cleaver ca. 1981-3? I was a student at the time and recall his being shouted down by the left for some transgression or other