(sur)reality

October 3, 2007

The following is cell-phone video showing a rather disturbing scene during a recent question and answer session with ex-presidential hopeful John Kerry at a University campus in the US.

Rather than give you my views on the matter, I ask just one question:  what would you have done if you were in that audience?

What will you do when you are (inevitably) in that audience?

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16 Responses to “(sur)reality”


  1. “what would you have done if you were in that audience?”

    I probably would have dropped the ignorant, rambling spaz (the student one) long before police had a chance to taser him. People that obnoxious, vapid, and sure of there (wholly unjustified) boundless superiority should be tasered daily on principle anyways.

    “What will you do when you are (inevitably) in that audience?”

    Behave like a respectful human being. Wait my turn to ask my question. And actually have something of merit to say before I force my way to the Mic.

  2. w0rmwood Says:

    “I probably would have dropped the ignorant, rambling spaz (the student one) before the police had a chance to taser him.”

    Not an unexpected response, and you’ll be pleased to know that most American youth agree with you. Indeed pop-culture seems to be completely ok with this situation because the guy in question was acting like an idiot.

    My problem is that, despite the guy being obnoxious, I do believe he had every right to ask his rambling/stupid question, and every right to remain in the audience afterwards.

    I would not invite this student to my house to have a meaningful discussion with, but I do not believe there was any reason to have him forcibly ejected, arrested, and tasered.


  3. “I do believe he had every right to ask his rambling/stupid question, and every right to remain in the audience afterwards.”

    No, he didn’t.
    A university is private property, they have the right eject any person they believe is behaving in disruptive/rude fashion. He asked multiple questions(after interrupting another student), was then asked to step down…refused…was asked to leave…refused then physically resisted. If you chose to act in uncivil manner you have to no right to complain when people tasked to maintain order respond in kind.

    What if every student decided to force there way to mic and ask rambling question, clawing and interupting at each other…should the organizers just sit there at let the event collapse into anarchy.

    This wasn’t some act of protest, this was a socially maladapted keener rudely, and disruptively, forcing his obnoxious presence on room full of people trying to have a civil discussion.

    He got tasered because he physically (and spastically) resisted people who’s job it is to maintain the order and physical safety of the other students in the room. I was a bouncer/cooler long enough to appreciate the tough position he put those security guards in.

  4. w0rmwood Says:

    some differences of opinion:

    1) Universities are not, generally speaking, private property. There has been some attempts to set them out as such, however the majority are publically funded institutions – generally with constitutions laying out their roles as public forums.

    2) The student, while i agree was a spaz, did not interupt anyone. He waited his turn, and then took the mike. He was obnoxious, and did the (rather common)rant rather than ask a question thing. In the numerous public QAs and lectures I have attended, there is always someone who does the rant thing… its just a function of the statistical percentage of jackholes in any audience.

    3) In terms of the removal, had someone asked him to leave, or given him any sort of an ultimatum (as a speaker chairing the event should have done) and then he refused to abide by the rules – well then i might have more sympathy for his removal by force. As it was, he was physically removed without so much as an explanation.

    Overall, had I been in the audience I would have been tempted to invite this guy to my house, and then beat the living tar out of him with a length of rubber hose. However, the police/campus security have no role in dealing with jackasses – unless they pose a threat to security.

    I agree that his behavior was rude. I also agree that the position those police/campus security folks were put in was a difficult one.

    However, I think it was the decision to physically eject this person that put those guards in that position. The decision to have this guy ejected so quickly, was an error.

    If you cant verbally handle one obnoxious and non-violent person ranting at a microphone without resorting to physical violence – you have no right to hold an open mic event.

  5. Solidsnake666 Says:

    I personally would have joined in… I’ll take a good taze over a Kerry Q&A anyday

  6. Rodney Says:

    What I don’t understand is that I hear Kerry say “It’s alright, let him finish” and the cops didn’t listen. That seems a bit weird to me. Maybe he only said it because he didn’t want people to come back at him. On the other side of the coin, this is very limited in scope. We have no idea what actions occured before the session began. Maybe a memo was sent out advising security to be on high alert for a wacko. Then this guy stood up and did his best wacko impression. As with most things, the whole story is very rarely known.

  7. Jive Says:

    That’s how democracy will die most likely.. somebody screaming but mostly everyone else laughing and clapping like idiots.

    There is absolutely no excuse for the force employed in removing that student. If he went over his time on the mic whoever was running the event totally dropped the ball in terms of dealing with him. There should have been a great deal more of “Please sit down and let Mr. Kerry answer your one question sir” before anything physical happened. And even if he started screaming at the top of his lungs and refused to sit down they had more than enough cops to handle him. When someone is already on the ground, handcuffed, and outnumbered 4 to 1 there is no need to tazer them.

    In short the so called democracies of the world are criminalizing activism. You aren’t allowed to ask hard questions or demand something different. You are supposed to eat the shit that Fox News spoon feeds you and shut up about it. Those cops figured he was an inch away from chanting ” Impeach Bush now!” therefore a protester, therefore tazer bait. Strong emotion in public really isn’t PC so had he delivered it all in a monotone he probably would have got a lot farther.

    In answer to your question wormwood I doubt I’d do anything if I was in that crowd as I am an abject coward but I’d at least have the decency to sit quietly, filled with self loathing, rather than laugh and applaud.


  8. I see this more as social Darwinism, than brutal oppression. A calm, charismatic dissenter could sway the crowd and make an impact with impassioned, articulate rhetoric…that wouldn’t have raised the fear was a deranged and dangerous spastic halfwit who needed to be restrained ( and who cried like a little bitch after being caught and mildly tasered).


  9. Man, if this guy becomes the new rallying point for noble resistance of tyranny I’m going to have to double my daily weeping for the state of our generation.

  10. brahnamin Says:

    i would have (will some day in the future) rolled my eyes and stayed the folk out of it.

    when dealing with cops (even the rental variety) you really have only two choices.

    calm submission – which might find you in jail but will probably still allow for bond

    or all out run like a sonofabitch – which, if it doesn’t see you free, will at least make them work for it. kiss your bond goodbye though.

    any pansy @ss sh!te in the middle is going to get you tazered and or rodney-kinged.

    with a little more effort this guy coulda made it gone, but he kept trying to talk and as has already been mentioned, he really wasn’t equipped for that.

  11. w0rmwood Says:

    I do totally agree with AJ’s assessment of the person in the video – social retard, who is rude, crass, and pathetic.

    I also agree that a better spoken person might have done better.

    However, the point is that I do not trust the powers that be to have the authority to do what was done.

    I also worry that its a slippery slope.

    Jackass today, conscientious objector tomorrow, anybody a week from now…

  12. baredfeetandteeth Says:

    The student was a twat, no doubt, but force was beyond excessive, the coppers clearly poorly trained and salivating for some action.

    As for what I would have done? It’s the futility of action in such a sitation that makes it most frustrating. Are you going to throw yourself into the fray, at best get tazed yourself, at word instigate a riot scenario? Cops like that get outnumbered and they drop the tasers and pull out the guns. So the rational option is to sit and abide it, maybe flip open a camera phone and document with good intentions…if you’re not afraid of getting attacked for that too. It’s a shit deal, no matter how you clice it (and however chromosomely challenged the victim)

  13. baredfeetandteeth Says:

    clice = slice…just for the record. My how I could go for a good clice of pie right about now.

  14. max Says:

    “That’s how democracy will die most likely.. somebody screaming but mostly everyone else laughing and clapping like idiots.”

    What Jive said.

    If poor public speaking skills warranted a taser, Bush would be a french fried treat. That is not what they tased him for however. They tased him for what he said, not for how he said it. Dissent is no longer tolerated in the States.

  15. baredfeetandteeth Says:

    also…at *worst a riot scene…christ, this is why I don’t write in the morning.

    and…what’s this Democracy you speak of? Give Constitutional Monarchism a go:P

  16. max Says:

    The U.S. is no longer a democracy. We have offland prisons in which incarceration is random and indefinite, release is arbitrary, and prisoners have no right to trial, legal counsel, or to face their accusors. We have a thug caste [hello Blackwater], a massive internal surveillance system in play spying on the citizens, citizens and citizens’ groups are harrassed and targeted, citizens are also stopped at random and shaken down for papers, something normally only depicted happening in Soviet Block countries and WWII Germany, the press has been bought, dissent is treated at best like an offense worthy of public tasing, at worst, as treason, the Constitution, originally established to protect the people from an overzealous government, is now being used to hammer out new laws to corral and control the people, the rules of law have been suspended at home and abroad —

    The U.S. government currently functions as a fascist oligarchy with little resemblance to a “democracy.” And has for a while now. Making it highly ironic we are exporting “democracy” at gunpoint to other countries, and ludicrous we are paying lip service to the concept at home at all.


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