Does free speech allow you to shout down others?

Talga Vasternich

Diabloii.Net Member
Does free speech allow you to shout down others?

WorldNetDaily - October 5 said:
Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist was attacked by angry, violent protesters last night who stormed the stage during his speech at Columbia University in New York City, forcing an abrupt end to the event.
An African-American member of the Minuteman board who spoke prior to Gilchrist was taunted with the "n-word," according to WND columnist Jerome Corsi.
Corsi had been scheduled to follow Gilchrist with a speech of his own, but after university security personnel whisked the Minuteman leader offstage, the New York Young Republican Club meeting was shut down.
A video of the chaos at Roone Arledge Auditorium, shot by Columbia University Television, can be seen here.
Gilchrist told WND the "violent outburst is yet another indication that those who support illegal immigration are happy to use communist tactics in their intolerant determination to prevent the Minutemen from exercising their First Amendment rights."
A protester who spoke anonymously to the independent student newspaper Columbia Spectator said the stage takeover was planned.
"I don't feel like we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. ... The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration."
Prior to the event, a group of protestors estimated by New York police to number around 200 assembled with placards and a loudspeaker to denounce Gilchrist and the Minutemen.
Slogans on the placards included, "Workers of the world unite! Same struggle, same fight!," and "Minutemen, Nazis, KKK! Racists, fascists, go away!"
About 20 protesters managed to momentarily take control of the stage during Gilchrist's speech, with loud shouts and fists thrust in anger. Security fought to restrain them and managed to rush Gilchrist backstage before he could be assaulted, according to Corsi.
http://www.minutemanproject.com/default.asp?contentID=192

What do you think? Were the protesters practicing free speech or were they preventing it?
 

SaroDarksbane

Diabloii.Net Site Pal
Depends on a lot of factors.

1. Protesting the gathering is different than storming the stage and disrupting the event by forcing the speaker off. (I.e. You can protest outside an abortion clinic, but you can't prevent people from going in and out).

2. It also depends on where the event was. If the disruptors' actions were not allowed or sanctioned by whoever owned and operated the stage (in this case the University), then that is also illegal. (I.e. You can protest outside the court buidling and it's free speech, but protesting in my backyard is trespassing.)

Either way, their behavior was pretty disgusting. My favorite part: "The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration."

Hypocrisy . . . overwhelming.
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Wait a minute, who called that black guy a ******? If it was the protesters, why did they call the minutemen racists?
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, on the general question of whether shouting down others is free speech or not (ignoring the particulars of this incident), you're essentially asking if people have a right to protest a protest...
 

S Z

Diabloii.Net Member
I don't generally agree with such aggressive counter-protests, but I was under the impression that a legal free speech violation could only be perpetrated by a government agency. Thus, they are not guilty of obstructing the free speech rights of others, but may well have violated the Universities rules through this disruption.

I'm no lawyer or legal scholar, so I may well be (and probably am) totally incorrect. :wink2:
 

SaroDarksbane

Diabloii.Net Site Pal
S Z said:
I don't generally agree with such aggressive counter-protests, but I was under the impression that a legal free speech violation could only be perpetrated by a government agency. Thus, they are not guilty of obstructing the free speech rights of others, but may well have violated the Universities rules through this disruption.

I'm no lawyer or legal scholar, so I may well be (and probably am) totally incorrect. :wink2:
That's what I was trying to get at. =)

Although the University is funded through public money, so maybe the situation is more hazy than I give it credit for.
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
I think private entities can't restrict free speech either, I remember some case law being quoted about shopping malls being unable to restrict protests inside their premises or something (I imagine the stores themselves would be a different matter). Don't know if the same applies to individuals, maybe not.
 

Amra

Diabloii.Net Member
It seems to me the protesters were wrong.

A protester who spoke anonymously to the independent student newspaper Columbia Spectator said the stage takeover was planned.
"I don't feel like we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. ...
'nuff said. I guess for them it's okay to resort to strong arm tactics when you don't want someone else's message to get out.
 

jimmyboy

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, we're talking about Columbia University, a private university rather than a public school. It's difficult to claim free speech on someone else's private property. The moment you're on private property, the your right to free speech ends.

Makes sense. It's unreasonable for me to camp in your backyard and tell you how much I dislike your family.

So it's really up to Columbia University to decide what speech it wants on it's own property.
 

thejdawg2

Diabloii.Net Member
It was a poor means (strongarm physical force) to acheive a positive end.

Whether or not th ends justifies the means. Well, I guess that depends on what side you're on, and how strongly you feel.
 

Talga Vasternich

Diabloii.Net Member
thejdawg2 said:
It was a poor means (strongarm physical force) to acheive a positive end.

Whether or not th ends justifies the means. Well, I guess that depends on what side you're on, and how strongly you feel.
I'm awfully curious what "positive end" it is you're talking about.
 
The protesters did the best possible thing for the Minutemen. They showed the pro-illegal immigrant side to be the true racists, hatemongers and violent SOBs. Need I mention the protesters were also all libs? Typical
 

Thelioness

Diabloii.Net Member
As Dross stated, storming the stage is not free speech nor is trying to assult a speaker.

Perhaps these oh so educated people were thinking of their right to assemble, but even then they got it wrong.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
 

Moosashi

Diabloii.Net Member
thejdawg2 said:
Whether or not th ends justifies the means. Well, I guess that depends on what side you're on, and how strongly you feel.
Yeah, if you're a hypocrite.
 

Ariadne

Diabloii.Net Member
"If you can't say things nicely, than shut up" is what my mother always told me.

Of course if you don't agree with something you must voice your opinion, and strongly too, but if you need to fall back on insults, you undermine your whole protest, making it look cheap and poor.
 
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