Sep 252007
 
Authors: Nick Hemenway

We are now at F-day plus five.

No matter what side of the debate you took, the discussion circled around one thing – freedom of speech.

Contrary to what some may think, we conservatives do hold up more than just the Second Amendment. I fully support the Editorial Board’s legal right to say what they did.

However, what David McSwane and the rest of the board failed to remember is, although the First Amendment gives us the freedom of speech, it does not give us freedom from consequences.

Far too many Americans view our First Amendment rights from a false perspective.

In the late 1700s, our forefathers were in the process of separating themselves from British control.

Under British law, one could be arrested for criticizing the Queen, possibly leading to life in prison. In order to prevent this from happening, the First Amendment was ratified to the Constitution.

Since that day in 1791, people like Andrew Meyer at the University of Florida have tried to pervert the definition of free speech.

Most of us have seen the YouTube videos of the tazer incident, from several different angles. What you may not have seen was what happened when the cameras were not on.

According to police reports, Meyer rushed the microphone without regard to the rules of the forum, while yelling profanities that rivaled Friday’s Collegian.

After causing enough commotion, Sen. Kerry told him to calm down and that he would answer his question. Just before he started his next round of tirades, he asked his friends if they were ready to tape what he was about to do, as noted in the police report.

At the order of the event director, the police attempted to remove Meyer.

If Meyer had stopped his fit and obeyed the officers, nothing would have happened. Of course, then again, he knew remaining calm wouldn’t make him famous.

Meyer immediately went crazy and resisted arrest, which is a huge no-no.

By punching and kicking the officers, he might as well have said “Yo bro, you should taze me real good!”

The police report went on to explain how Meyer became compliant when the cameras went away, then went crazy again when the cameras reappeared later.

In the end, Andrew Meyer got exactly what he wanted – attention.

It is my personal belief that David McSwane had the same desire at the core of his decision to run the infamous editorial last Friday.

Why? Because this is the second time McSwane has been in the national spotlight.

Those of us from Colorado will remember in 2005, a seventeen-year-old high school kid made headlines when he went undercover to see how far Army recruiters would go to enlist a new soldier.

That kid pretended to be a high school dropout and to use marijuana, both which would have prohibited him from enlistment. When the recruiters encouraged and helped him cover up these problems, the kid went straight to the news reporters.

That “kid” is now the Editor in Chief of the Collegian.

The difference now is McSwane very well could lose his prestigious job because of the mess he created.

Even though the Editorial Board and I could probably not agree on what color the sky is, I do not think they are bad people.

The mistake they made was mistaking freedom of speech for immunity.

Our Constitution allows us to legally say anything we want, but as the Editorial Board has learned, there are sometimes far more serious consequences.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com

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