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The supreme irony.
February 25, 2011 6:57 AM   Subscribe

During a speech at George Washington University by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which she condemned governments that arrest protesters and don’t allow free speech, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was arrested and beaten by security for standing silently with his back turned during her remarks.
posted by - (117 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I might not agree with his silence, but I will defend to the death his right not to say anything.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [23 favorites]


So I guess his silent protest was right before he was yelling stuff as he was being dragged out?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:06 AM on February 25, 2011


beaten

Well, they put two sets of handcuffs on me roughly...They throw me-–well they didn’t throw me, they placed me in a patrol car—I try not to exagerate here—and I was taken up to one of the police headquarters in D.C.

TYRANNY
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:08 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, his "beating" and "silence" both seem blown out of proportion. The comments on the YouTube kill me: the same people who were probably screaming for police to shoot protesters at Bush rallies.

The old coot does make his point sometimes.
"When asked whether Julian Assange was a journalist, he replied "Yeah, actually, with all due respect, I think you (the mainstream media) should be following his example.",[13] to the CNN reporter."
posted by umberto at 7:13 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The dignity of political office in a democracy must not be insulted! That would be an offence to our democratic values.

But this is America - can't he just sue someone?
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 7:14 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I guess his silent protest was right before he was yelling stuff as he was being dragged out?

That seems to be the case.

TYRANNY

Well he was arrested for standing silently with his back to the Secretary of State. Unless of course that is now illegal I don't see how one can interpret it as anything else. Tyranny lite of course but still tyranny.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:17 AM on February 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Well, his "beating" and "silence" both seem blown out of proportion.

What do you think should be the calm, measured response to someone facing away from the Secretary of State?
posted by DU at 7:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where is the Secretary now?
I don't want to be facing away from her.
posted by MtDewd at 7:21 AM on February 25, 2011 [26 favorites]


I can't see the video- is he standing in the midst of a crowd of people who are all sitting down?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:21 AM on February 25, 2011


Well, his "beating" and "silence" both seem blown out of proportion.

You're right he didn't even get tased. He should feel lucky, cut his losses, and just shut the hell up right?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Was he arrested for standing with his back to her or was he arrested for causing a ruckus when they tried to remove him? Don't get me wrong; it was still an over-reaction on their part, and badly handled. I just thought we should be precise here.
posted by zerbinetta at 7:27 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there another article worth reading about the incident that might not already have an agenda in place? Ending with "I guess its freedom of speech and expression unless your speech and expression is against the establishment." makes it read less like a news story and more like an editorial.

Looking through Google News all I'm finding are other sources I'm already skeptical of or have never heard of. I'm not looking for the mainstream media stamp of approval - just something that makes me a bit more confident that a key detail or two weren't left out to guide the narrative towards a particular agenda.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:28 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You aren't paying me nearly enough to watch a 45 minute video of Hillary Clinton giving a speech -- is there a section of it that shows the actual incident?
posted by Forktine at 7:30 AM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Even though I'm looking for a more reliable source doesn't mean I don't believe it didn't happen. Security overreacting to political dissent is nothing new and sadly doesn't surprise me. It just seems to me like something is missing in the coverage of this incident.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


is there a section of it that shows the actual incident?

This will give you a little more bang for your buck.
posted by robself at 7:35 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Security overreacting to political dissent is nothing new

I don't know how you get from facing the wrong way to being dragged out and handcuffed. To over-react, there has to be something to react to... It's almost hyperbole to even call this dissent. I know he was making a political point, but 'dissent' makes it sound like he's some kind of Marxist rebel. The guy was just facing the wrong way.
posted by londonmark at 7:38 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I will not be ignored...
posted by Joe Beese at 7:39 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's being escorted to a Freedom Zone where he can express his opinions to himself. It's the realization of the dream of having a Government of the Government, by the Government, and for the Government.

Don't wake up, sheeple. At this point, you deserve what's coming.
posted by notion at 7:42 AM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Was he heckling before being dragged out, or during? Not that it really makes much of a difference, but I can vaguely understand why they might try to remove someone making a lot of noise during a public speech.
posted by londonmark at 7:42 AM on February 25, 2011


No, he was just facing the wrong way. You don't hear anything until the Freedom Police haul him away.
posted by notion at 7:46 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Was he heckling before being dragged out, or during?

No he was standing silently until he was dragged out by security. Watch the video robself linked to.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:46 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]



This yt will give you a little more bang for your buck.


Thanks. In his interview the guy made a big point about how the person wrestling him out was in plain clothes, but in the video one of the people making the arrest was in police uniform. I sympathize with the guy -- there are classier ways to deal with a quiet protest like that, especially in a speech about these issues -- but it's a stretch to do from what happened to "beaten."

Full disclosure: I had an encounter (though less vigorous) with security at a speech by Hillary Clinton about a decade ago because I accidentally walked toward the wrong exit. They don't joke around with security at these kinds of events, and given all the wackos with big hate-ons for various politicians, they probably are smart to react this way.

I have really mixed feelings. On the one hand, from a security standpoint, I agree. But from a freedom of speech standpoint, and a general sense of disgust at the ways that "security" has been used to marginalize dissent of all kinds, I wish better solutions could be found.

And if I were someone who was there to actually watch the speech, I'd have been really irritated if they let some dude stand right in front of me, facing backwards, for the entire speech. So there's that, too.
posted by Forktine at 7:50 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


This will give you a little more bang for your buck.

it's apparent to me that he didn't say a word until he was being manhandled by security

i guess that makes him a "heckler"

if they're not going to tolerate decorum and civility from protesters, maybe protesters shouldn't bother with that

you may as well be hung for a wolf as for a dog
posted by pyramid termite at 7:50 AM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


The smart and proper government response would have been to ignore the guy peacefully standing in silence with his back turned to the Secretary of State while continuing to prop up brutal dictators and giving lip service to peace and democracy and throwing your military weight around the world.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:52 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


SILENCED ALL MY L—wait.
posted by Zozo at 7:52 AM on February 25, 2011


Reminds me of a very similar incident in the UK a few years back when an 82 year old peace activist was ejected by security for shouting "nonsense" during a foreign secretary's speech. He was also arrested and charged (briefly) under the Terrorism Act (our version of the Patriot Act, I guess).
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 7:54 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and continuing to sell policy to the highest bidder as well.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:54 AM on February 25, 2011


Is it asking too much of reporters to actually report? The linked articles and others I've been able to find have quotes from McGovern, but nothing from the security guard who ejected him, the police who arrested him, or witnesses from the audience who might be able to testify as to whether McGovern was creating a disturbance or whether the security guard seemed to be using excessive force. There's also nothing to indicate whether he was actually charged with any crime.

It's certainly possible that the security guard was completely out of line, but it would be nice to have a little bit of actual investigation to determine the facts.

BTW, as others have pointed out, putting handcuffs on someone is not the same as beating them.
posted by tdismukes at 7:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


He was standing with his back turned to her. That is a sign of disrespect. It is speech. Heckling shouldn't be something frowned on by politicans - they should know how to handle that.
Her icy demeanour and ability to let it play out without reaction is what I loathe about politics (and the media in general) today. It seems like interaction isn't nearly as important as maintaining control over the populace. She was like the goddamned Country Bears Jamboree and it isn't just her - she just happened to be the executive-level war & diplomacy buerocrat to allow a citizen to be roughly manhandled on camera that day.
And if security thought he was a real threat then maybe they should have checked him at the door for weapons.
Seems like a lot of tactics to silence his silence.
posted by ten year lurk at 7:57 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What other possible outcome could he have expected?
posted by jeffmik at 7:59 AM on February 25, 2011


there are classier ways to deal with a quiet protest like that

I'd have been really irritated if they let some dude stand right in front of me, facing backwards, for the entire speech. So there's that, too.

That really isn't an excuse. How can the country that allows horrible, hateful rednecks to picket funerals drag silent protestors out of a speech on human rights?
posted by londonmark at 8:01 AM on February 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


Really, jeffmilk?
posted by azarbayejani at 8:02 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is she, the queen? What is this, 17th century France?

What the fuck?!
posted by paisley henosis at 8:04 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


So he was standing in a seated presentation setting where presumably everyone else was sitting. While also facing the other way. Was he in the last row, or was he seated in the middle blocking other people? Or was he standing in the aisle? A sole person standing in an aisle amongst a seated crowd would definitely get the attention of security when a high ranking government official is speaking. Especially when he appears to be so close. This is isn't a large outdoor event with with lots of movement - it appears to be a smaller, contained setting where it's easier for a single person to cause a disruption. Did security approach him and ask him to sit down or step out so they could talk to him, or did they just grab him and handcuff him? His stance was obviously intended to provoke, and maybe his intention was to be hauled out in cuffs.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:04 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


but it's a stretch to do from what happened to "beaten."

He got arrested so hard his wrists were bleeding. He had bruises all the way up and down his arms. I've been arrested twice, and I've never started bleeding from my fucking wrists because of it. I think calling it a beating is entirely appropriate here.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:05 AM on February 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


His stance was obviously intended to provoke,

The dude got arrested for standing wrong. Why are you looking for a loophole to defend the security guard?

Also, on the way out, he said "so this is america?"
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Her icy demeanour and ability to let it play out without reaction is what I loathe about politics

One of the most disturbing elements in the "Don't taze me bro!" videos is John Kerry droning on over the screaming.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


What other possible outcome could he have expected?

That the U.S. Secretary of State is tough enough, with enough intestinal fortitude to finish a speech with one old man standing with his back to her as a call of bullshit without calling for badges & bracelets.

Yeah, I'd like to expect that from a democratic republic. Pissant, tin-pot dictators arrest silent protesters. Fascists demand respect for authority before free speech by citizens.

In short, he could have expected better in America. But that was before we began our slide down the back-side of global empire. The standards seem to be... evolving.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


beaten

Well, they put two sets of handcuffs on me roughly...They throw me-–well they didn’t throw me, they placed me in a patrol car—I try not to exagerate here—and I was taken up to one of the police headquarters in D.C.


That was clever, Potomac Avenue, because your comment really does work better when you leave out the substance of McGovern's remarks and replace it with that ellipsis. Let's see how it reads when you consider the full quote:

Well, they put two sets of handcuffs on me roughly. They were the iron or steel handcuffs. They dug into my wrists. You can see some of the stuff right here. They put them behind my back of course and I started—bleeding profusely over my pants. We have the pants, they are full of blood.

How did you decide that "bleeding profusely" stuff was extra detail that wasn't relevant?
posted by layceepee at 8:10 AM on February 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


azarbayejani, I'm not saying he deserved it but honestly, what would you expect to happen if you did this sort of thing in any country while such a speech/event was taking place?

Of course, every non-violent confrontation doesn't get spread virally via youtube but its not like this is without precedent.
posted by jeffmik at 8:17 AM on February 25, 2011


What if Hillary Clinton would have stopped the security guards from dragging him away by interrupting her speech and saying "Leave him alone, he's not hurting anyone and he has the right to protest." That would have been an America to be proud of.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:18 AM on February 25, 2011 [38 favorites]


Yup. But that didn't happen. We don't live in an America I can be proud of.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


McGovern's injuries seem to have been mostly caused because he was struggling and resisting though.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:19 AM on February 25, 2011


I'm not sure at all how Hilary is supposed to be to blame for this. This looks like security acting on their own. She doesn't stop her speech and say "remove that man." This looks to me like the same trigger-happy sort of security state that hassles tourist photographers for no reason.

I also think there are better ways of voicing protest than what this guy was doing. Further, it seems clear he resisted the arrest, so any injuries he sustained are likely due to his own struggling.
posted by dnash at 8:21 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


jeffmik: azarbayejani, I'm not saying he deserved it but honestly, what would you expect to happen if you did this sort of thing in any country while such a speech/event was taking place?

In a non-police state? I would expect to be able to peacefully demonstrate my political opinions without physical reprisal.

Too much to ask?
posted by paisley henosis at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I made a bet with a cow-orker last night. Shook on the terms and everything.

I bet $10 that by the stroke of midnight (Pacific) Dec 31, 2011, >0 unarmed, peaceful Americans publicly protesting something will be shot and killed, Kent State style, by uniformed American law enforcement. My buddy bet I will be wrong.

I live in Oakland. 8 years ago Team Vader here opened up on anti-war protesters with not-supposed-to-be-lethal ammo, and the zone of fire just happened to be wide enough to hit the longshoremen who just happened to work at the port where the protest was held.

That was well before the teabaggers started crying for live ammo.

I desperately want to not win this bet. But I think my NYE tips are safe. And that makes me sad.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


McGovern's injuries seem to have been mostly caused because he was struggling and resisting though.

I also think there are better ways of voicing protest than what this guy was doing. Further, it seems clear he resisted the arrest, so any injuries he sustained are likely due to his own struggling.

So? Cops do this shit all the time without making people bleed. This was pretty clearly excessive force, and I hope he sues the security company.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


azarbayejani, I'm not saying he deserved it but honestly, what would you expect to happen if you did this sort of thing in any country while such a speech/event was taking place?

Well, having been in the hall when someone did this to Wen Jiabao at Cambridge (seperately from the shoe guy), what happened is that the proctors looked slightly embarrassed, Jiabbao attempted not to acknowledge it but flushed somewhat, and the Chinese bodyguards looked *really* pissy.

I don't think it's too much to ask in a democracy for the same to happen in this case (although Hillary can avoid the flush if she wishes).
posted by jaduncan at 8:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


beat Verb
Strike (a person or an animal) repeatedly and violently so as to hurt or injure them, usually with an implement such as a club or whip


Forcibly restrained, manhandled, pinioned, or mistreated would all have been acceptable.
posted by zamboni at 8:24 AM on February 25, 2011


we were obviously watching two different videos, Ten Year Lurk!

"Her icy demeanour and ability to let it play out without reaction is what I loathe about politics (and the media in general) today. It seems like interaction isn't nearly as important as maintaining control over the populace. She was like the goddamned Country Bears Jamboree and it isn't just her - she just happened to be the executive-level war & diplomacy buerocrat to allow a citizen to be roughly manhandled on camera that day"

in the video I watched it was clear that she was amused and was taking it in her stride when the security appear to have overreacted.
posted by Wilder at 8:27 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doubleplusgood!
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:27 AM on February 25, 2011


Her icy demeanour is to control the message. Or at least try to control it. It is not her responsibility to interupt her presentation for what appears to be, from her vantage point, a disruptive or possibly dangerous audience member being removed by security. If it was a larger or more violent incident, I would expect her to react, but not what was seen in that video. She's not there to draw attention to McGovern's cause.

I'm not sure what she was supposed to do differently. Were you hoping for a grimace or a look shock? Should she have stopped speaking and ask security what was going on? While I appreciate the concept, and it would briefly make me warm and fuzzy, in the day-today world it's not practical for this situation. People are pulled from these type of events for everything from not having proper credentials to being a security risk. Or in this case, apparently just showing dissent. If every politician and public speaker stopped what their doing every time this happens, especially since they most likely aren't aware of what's going on until it's escalated, it would only serve those disrupting the event.

That said, if McGovern was truly just standing there with his back to her and posed no apparent security risk, I would have liked to see them have the courage to let him continue. But if they did that, the only people that would have known about his opposing view would be those that were in the room, and that's not very newsworthy.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:27 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This was pretty clearly excessive force,

I don't think that's clear at all.

Frankly, the guy sounds like he has motivation to make the incident appear as bad as possible. We don't know that they didn't start out by quietly asking him to leave. And when you start resisting an arrest, that just makes the officers use more force. This is why non-violent protesters back in the 60s were trained to "go limp" when the time came to be arrested. If this guy had done that, he probably wouldn't have gotten injured.
posted by dnash at 8:30 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we just get some confirmation here: all the guy did was turn his back on Hillary during a speech, and for this he was handcuffed and escorted out?

Is that a correct summary of what happened?

If that is so, anyone making any excuse for this kind of behavior on the part of security needs to be locked up themselves. If in fact this man was peaceably, quietly protesting by turning his back then we are indeed entering dark times in this country.

She's not the Goddamned Queen of England nor are we in 18th century France.

For shame, America. Shame.
posted by tgrundke at 8:34 AM on February 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Is that a correct summary of what happened?
yes.
posted by - at 8:39 AM on February 25, 2011


He was handcuffed before he was escorted out? (Hard to see on the video.)
posted by zerbinetta at 8:41 AM on February 25, 2011


That video doesn't answer the question - it doesn't show where McGovern was before he was approached by security, what he was doing, how he was approached, how long he interacted with security, what his actions were prior to being apprehended. All it show is the very last few seconds. How long was it from the start of the incident to when he was escorted out? Did security rush him and cuff him in a matter of seconds without any explanation or discussion? There still isn't confirmation on any of this.

I'm with tgrundke that if he was arrested for simply standing silently in protest then it was outright wrong for him to be arrested. And the cynic in me thinks that is the case (although I'm sure it's done by veiling it as resisting arrest or causing a disturbance). But the cynic in me also senses that McGovern is most likely a media savvy provocateur that knew the what the outcome would be and even steered it in that direction.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:53 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


OMG! They beat him into distortion!

Sorry to make light of the excessively rough handling of someone who appeared to only be standing in the middle of the isle, but won't anyone think of the aspect ratios?

/derail

On watching the clip posted by -, it looks like he suddenly went down the isle and stood facing away from the podium in the middle of what Clinton was saying, which from a security standpoint, could throw up red flags.

He is a skinny old man who was wearing a t-shirt that would limit the likelihood his chance to hide explosives, and I'm sure there was security that screened people to some degree before they entered the room. But suddenly advancing on a political figure who is not widely loved and supported, especially while she was live on TV - I can see how security would jump on the guy. I'm not saying it was the best way to handle the situation, but it's not completely unexpected.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I liked the headline on the CNN clip someone posted in comments, "Secretary of State Interrupted by Protester." But she wasn't interrupted, she just kept talking and talking.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:59 AM on February 25, 2011


OMG I too am facing an arbitrary direction!
posted by LordSludge at 9:03 AM on February 25, 2011


Those street demonstrators in Tripoli must have known that some of them would get mown down by automatic rifle fire.

What other possible outcome could they have expected?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:04 AM on February 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Another nail in the coffin and a bit further down the slippery slope.
He was protesting the ongoing wars, the treatment of Bradley Manning and the militarism of U.S. foreign policy. He did not shout at the Secretary of State or interrupt her speech. He merely stood in silence.
Note this is the same Ray McGovern who questioned Rumsfeld and when they attempted to remove him it was Rumsfeld who indicated he should stay.
That the Secretary of State of what is supposedly one of the world's leading democracies, herself a key member of the Democratic party blithely ignores the manhandling of a 71 year old silent protester demonstrating his free right in itself speaks volumes.
Orwell was correct.
posted by adamvasco at 9:05 AM on February 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


No he was standing silently until he was dragged out by security. Watch the video robself linked to.

You mean the one that doesn't actually show the protester before he had been grabbed by security?
posted by aught at 9:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread is a good example of one of the major side-effects of the co-optation and castration of the 4th estate. We're spending our time trying to figure out what the fuck actually happened here, and any energy that might have gone into formulating a response of some sort has been dissipated in petty fact-squabbling. If we had a functioning, independent media, and if there were any actual news reports on this episode available, the debate would be taking place at the level of principle, not at the level of second-guessing the unknown.
posted by facetious at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


Ray McGovern was not unknown to Mrs Clinton:
In the summer of 2002, as the Senate was preparing to conduct hearings about alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and the possibility of war, former Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq and U.S. Marine Major Scott Ritter came down to Washington from his home in upstate New York to share his first-hand knowledge with as many senators as possible.

To those who let him in the door, he showed that the "intelligence" adduced to support U.S. claims that Iraq still had WMD was fatally flawed. This was the same "intelligence" that Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller later branded "unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent."

Sen. Hillary Clinton would not let Ritter in her door. Despite his unique insights as a U.N. inspector and his status as a constituent, Sen. Clinton gave him the royal run-around. Her message was clear: "Don't bother me with the facts." She had already made up her mind. I had a direct line into her inner circle at the time, and was assured that several of my op-eds and other commentaries skeptical of George W. Bush's planned invasion were given personally to Clinton, but no matter.

Sen. Clinton reportedly was not among the handful of legislators who took the trouble to read the National Intelligence Estimate on WMD in Iraq that was issued on Oct. 1, 2002, just 10 days before the she voted to authorize war. In short, she chose not to perform the due diligence required prior to making a decision having life-or-death consequences for thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. She knew whom she needed to cater to, and what she felt she had to do.
posted by adamvasco at 9:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've met Ray McGovern. Real nice guy, much more joyful than you'd expect for your standard pacifist. When you see him speak, you also realize that working for the CIA really affected and disturbed him. He's a pretty powerful witness.

Standing silently is pretty much his thing. For several years now, he's been going to Catholic masses and standing quietly (though usually facing the correct direction) as a show of support for women's ordination.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


>The standards seem to be... evolving.

I think you mean devolving.

So we have some who say: "WTF?"
Others who say: "That's to be expected."
And still others who say: "He got what was coming to him."/"This is an ok thing to have transpire in a liberal democracy."

Interesting. I wonder how the people espousing the third point of view interpret the first amendment? As far as I am aware there are several exceptions to the freedom of speech:

1) defamation, 2) causing panic, 3) fighting words, 4) incitement to crime, 5) sedition,
6) obscenity, 7) offense, and 8) establishment of religion.(source)

I don't see how Mr. McGovern's actions fall under any of these exceptions. Unfortunately in this day and age the pretense of security seems to be reason enough to throw the first amendment out the window. At this point I would normally quote Ben Franklin on the matter but at this point it seems kind of cliche. You know the something something freedom for security something something deserve neither one.

You mean the one that doesn't actually show the protester before he had been grabbed by security?

Yes the one with audio which clearly demonstrates that he was not vocally disrupting the speech until he was being hauled out.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:25 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


l33tpolicywonk: Standing silently is pretty much his thing. For several years now, he's been going to Catholic masses and standing quietly (though usually facing the correct direction) as a show of support for women's ordination.

How does he relay the message that his silent standing is in support for women's ordination? Is it something that he addresses when people come up to him and ask "why were standing during mass?" or is it a follow up to a public statement? This is a serious question, because my initial reaction to this story was that his standing in protest is only effective if an event occurs around it that draws attention to him and gives him a media access point to make his statement.

I assume he was not expecting Hillary to stop her speech and aks "Sir, why are you standing with your back to me? Do you have something to add?". Although that would very cool if those types of moments could be played out in this modern era of over-controlled political soundbites.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:34 AM on February 25, 2011


Out of the many things that bother me about this is, if he was just standing there silently when security rushed in, why wouldn't Clinton take the high road? How hard would it be for her to say, from the podium, "Gentlemen, leave that man alone, he's not bothering anyone," and then go on with the rest of her speech?

The kid who got tazed at least was getting rowdy. This guy, not so much.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:49 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck me. Have we been invaded by HBGary's infamous sockpuppet army ?

I'm not devaluing the right to an alternative view but I am very surprised to see such ambivalent "meh" on a liberal leaning forum.

It really does remind me of the infamous quote:

"Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

He might be talking about war but it still seems mighty relevant to me.

You should be ashamed. We should all be ashamed, even those who are outraged (which includes me), for letting the world get into this state !
posted by Boslowski at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Real nice guy, much more joyful than you'd expect for your standard pacifist.

What... what does that mean?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


analysts, always standing around.
posted by clavdivs at 10:07 AM on February 25, 2011


Yeah, I'm not all 'bout it 'bout it with the way some of the TYRANNY SHEEPLE comments are going, and this is relatively minor on the fucked-up scale (this is exactly like being mowed down by rifle fire, thanks), but he should have been allowed to protest, and because he wasn't, Clinton should apologize. Even if she wouldn't have done anything differently, apologize and talk to the guy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't know if it is relevant, but Clinton is under the protection of the Secret Service.
posted by JackFlash at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2011


if they're not going to tolerate decorum and civility from protesters, maybe protesters shouldn't bother with that

Isn't it more a question of where and when he was protesting. It's one thing to protest in a civil manner outside of a building where a speaker you disagree with is speaking, it's another to be in the room.
posted by Fizz at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2011


Tyranny: arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.

I think it was an arbitrary, although probably not unrestrained (same time not well restrained) exercise of power. Definitely not a despotic abuse of authority (but also a clear abuse of authority on the side of the security guards, just not the Sec of State).

I don't see why we don't expect our politicians to react to and engage in discourse with the public, especially in cases like this. Is it because there are too many crazies? If there was more political engagement and an atmosphere of discussion instead of being lectured to, then there is a greater liklihood the crazies would be filtered out naturally as not contributing to the greater good. Even if they aren't the net benefit of discourse would trump the occassional Truther, Birther, UFO nut job. And maybe they'd be tolerated less.
posted by ten year lurk at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll tell you one thing for sure: if I ever find that I'll be near where she is speaking in the future I'll make sure to wear a tshirt that says "Hi Ms Clinton" on the back, and let her see it.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's one thing to protest in a civil manner outside of a building where a speaker you disagree with is speaking, it's another to be in the room.

Yes! No politician should be directly forced to deal with acts of protest from those they govern.
posted by jaduncan at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


How does he relay the message that his silent standing is in support for women's ordination?

Well, originally, they asked him after Mass and he told them. If he's still doing it nearly 20 years later, most people in his parish probably know why at this point!
posted by Jahaza at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a few seconds of video without the context of what led up to that moment (other than a one-sided account from the man arrested). Speculation... go!
posted by Menthol at 10:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a few seconds of video without the context of what led up to that moment (other than a one-sided account from the man arrested). Speculation... go!

Security guard: Sir, you'll either have to sit down or leave the building.
McGovern: ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!
posted by perhapses at 10:37 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I condemn governments that arrest protesters..."
"FREE TIBET!"
"As I was saying, free speech is vital to..."
"FREE MUMIA!"
"...democracy and human rig..."
"FREE BRADLEY MANNING!"
"Hey, you three guys?"
"WHAT?"
"WHAT?"
"WHAT?"
"I'm trying to talk here."
"THIS IS MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT!"
"Umm, yeah. I have one of those, too."
"YOU'RE HARASSING US!"
"No, I'm not."
"GREEN ECONOMY NOW!"
"WHO LET YOU IN?"
"YEAH! WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FREEING THE PEOPLE OF TIBET!"
"NO, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MUMIA!"
"BRADLEY MANNING IS STILL IN JAIL!"
"Fuck it, I'm outta here."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


CoolPapaBell - I'm not sure if those are your words or if they're from something else, but to give life to your dialogue I imagined the scene using the voices of Yosemite Sam, HAL 9000, Wild Man Fischer, and Graham Chapman impersonating a woman. It really hit home.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


>Note this is the same Ray McGovern who questioned Rumsfeld and when they attempted to remove him it was Rumsfeld who indicated he should stay. That the Secretary of State of what is supposedly one of the world's leading democracies, herself a key member of the Democratic party blithely ignores the manhandling of a 71 year old silent protester demonstrating his free right in itself speaks volumes.

Wow ain't that some shit. What kind of fucked up world do we live in where Donald Rumsfeld has more class than Hilary Clinton?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:06 AM on February 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure if those are your words or if they're from something else

Mine, all mine. And to me, they sound like the voices in my head.

Shut up, dude.
What?
Don't write that. It makes us sound crazy.
Oh. Sorry.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It looks from the video that he was standing in the aisle, but very near the front, likely blocking someone's view of the speaker. If I'm at a speech and someone stands up to protest the speech and as a result I can't see the speaker, I would hope the ushers would ask him to sit down, and if he refused, escort him out. Free speech does not give you the right to disrupt someone else's speech.

It does look like security used excessive force, for which they should be held accountable, but here I end up just needing to repeat what facetious said:

We're spending our time trying to figure out what the fuck actually happened here, and any energy that might have gone into formulating a response of some sort has been dissipated in petty fact-squabbling. If we had a functioning, independent media, and if there were any actual news reports on this episode available, the debate would be taking place at the level of principle, not at the level of second-guessing the unknown.
posted by straight at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The comments on the YouTube kill me: the same people who were probably screaming for police to shoot protesters at Bush rallies.

In related news: Rep. Paul Broun (R. - GA) Asked At Town Hall: 'Who Is Going To Shoot Obama?'
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on February 25, 2011


Argh imprecise headline... Rep Broun was asked that by an attendee; he didn't ask that. Well, not publicly at least :p
posted by jtron at 11:36 AM on February 25, 2011


"LOOK OUT, HE HAS A PAMPLET!"

SS: "DIAPER-code 2..."

SS2: "MOVEMOVEMOVE"
posted by clavdivs at 11:37 AM on February 25, 2011


This thread is a good example of one of the major side-effects of the co-optation and castration of the 4th estate. We're spending our time trying to figure out what the fuck actually happened here, and any energy that might have gone into formulating a response of some sort has been dissipated in petty fact-squabbling. If we had a functioning, independent media, and if there were any actual news reports on this episode available, the debate would be taking place at the level of principle, not at the level of second-guessing the unknown.

Whereas I wholeheartedly agree with the desire expressed here, it did get me thinking.

If we assume that we once had an independant media (I accept that btw) that fulfilled the role of the 4th estate, then it follows that your complaint indicates that we have lost both the independant media and hence the 4th estate.

But, whenever that golden age was, 10, 20 30 or a 100 years ago it would not have been possible for any group of globally located disaggregated individuals to gather in a place to disseminate and in a detailed fashion attempt to understand, exactly what happened.

Furthermore they certainly would not have had access to live footage of the incident (maybe within the time of video recording - but I imagine we lost the 4th estate before that ?) that they could watch endlessly, if they so wish.

They couldn't quickly and independantly search for and find via free machinery (search engines) the full range of information available.

They would have had access to a small selection of sources over a small number of media, representing the views of a comparatively small number of people - chiefly the newspapers, radio and TV.

So, where is this leading ? There is no obligation for 4th estate functions to be executed by the press, independant or otherwise. Just because it has commonly been so, does not mean that is has to be so.

Which means that the internet and places such as this are today's 4th estate. Albeit, without the power that comes with the ability to capture a mass audience via singular media channels, with little competition (because media was not fragmented as it is today).

But there are so few of us that want to know ! The information is there in as decent a form (for mass consumption) as has ever been the case, but tiny percentages of people are bothering to read it.

None of this is making any assumption as to the veracity of the information that we have here.

This is not an "it must be true if its on the internet" thing, I'm just saying that its still our job to make a decision as to what we think happened, from the available data, exactly as we used to. Back in the golden age of independance, when different media outlets also had differring political views and were happy to use their power in such regard, you had to make a choice.

We, however, have much more information than ever before.

I too, like you, wish for a media that would make this easy for me. But I don't think its coming.

Sadly I think that this is the smaller brother of the real problem, which is that not enough people give a shit to truly enable the best chance for a new 4th estate to be effective, now that the technology has started to become widely available.
posted by Boslowski at 12:03 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slack-a-gogo: "How does he relay the message that his silent standing is in support for women's ordination? Is it something that he addresses when people come up to him and ask "why were standing during mass?""

The time I witnessed this personally, I was in a mass surrounded by fairly progressive Catholics who all knew why. The presiding priest gave him a shout out in the homily and mentioned why. In general, I think the idea is to tell people when they ask. He also regularly attends the same church or churches at home (not sure which) and I suspect many of those folks have learned by now.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


if they're not going to tolerate decorum and civility from protesters, maybe protesters shouldn't bother with that

you may as well be hung for a wolf as for a dog


That kindasorta scares the crap outta me, but I can't see fit to, er, protest your point (realsies).
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:28 PM on February 25, 2011


What if Hillary Clinton would have stopped the security guards from dragging him away by interrupting her speech and saying "Leave him alone, he's not hurting anyone and he has the right to protest." That would have been an America to be proud of.

Actually, it seems like she ought to have been prompted to tear up her speech.

The irony is making my eyes hurt. Bad.
Honestly, my first response is that it's too poetic to be real.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:35 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously. Set the clock to Sept. 2008, and imagine this scenario exactly, except it's McCain on stage at a campaign rally. Now, tell me if you're going to apologize for him.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:09 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


this is exactly like being mowed down by rifle fire, thanks

I see no difference other than scale.

If there were Tripoli-levels of protest in the streets of DC, if you think the cops would refuse an order to open fire, you have a higher opinion of them than I do.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:39 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't know if it is relevant, but Clinton is under the protection of the Secret Service.

Yeah, I just checked... that's not relevant.
posted by odinsdream at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


but 'dissent' makes it sound like he's some kind of Marxist rebel.

Really? Uh-oh.
posted by telstar at 8:31 PM on February 25, 2011


"I see no difference other than scale."

There's no difference between bacteria and people other than scale, as you define scale.

If there were Tripoli-levels of protest in the streets of DC, if you think the cops would refuse an order to open fire, you have a higher opinion of them than I do."

What do you mean by "Tripoli-levels"? Tripoli numbers? There were bigger protests against the Iraq War in numbers.

But that's a separate issue from whether a comparison between McGovern's arrest and firing on protesters is apt or bullshit.

McGovern's alive, McGovern's able to speak out, McGovern got the second best possible outcome out of his protest.

Really, your comments are the liberal version of conservatives chicken-hawking for the war, talking every bit of protest into Sobibor and every state over-reaction into Stalin's purges.

By comparing these things as if there is a meaningful connection, you cheapen the sacrifice of those who died under rifle fire and you distract from the legitimacy of McGovern's protest. It's rhetorical dishonesty in the service of an agenda, and, by your rhetorical logic, only different in scale from Hitler's lies about the Jews1.

1: Yes, I know, I'm referencing the Nazis as an example of needless hyperbole that's emotionally inflammatory. It's not just scale, is it?
posted by klangklangston at 11:20 PM on February 25, 2011


The problem here is not functioning, independent media but your cognitive dissonance. A lot of people here simply do not accept that Hillary Clinton can do worse than Wen Jiabao in a similar context.
posted by - at 3:57 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do you mean by "Tripoli-levels"?.

I mean thousands of people refusing orders to leave the streets of the capitol until their non-negotiable demand is met that the leader of the country leave office.

Your use of the phrase "second best possible outcome" is interesting. To my mind, the best possible outcome would have been the Secretary of State resigning her office in disgrace, afterwards to be hounded by contemptuous countrymen whenever daring to show her face in public - and the second best possible outcome being that McGovern inspired everyone else in the audience to also avert their faces from the shameless naked evil before them.

It sounds to me like you're saying that McGovern should be grateful for not being murdered or lengthily imprisoned. In which case, I think we should aim higher.

[I fearfully await the verdict of "klang deems this bullshit", from which there is no appeal.]
posted by Joe Beese at 8:01 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is exactly why we need more government.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2011


There's no difference between bacteria and people other than scale, as you define scale.

I don't think comparing the evolution of life to the evolution of state tyranny is a very fair comparison. Cultural evolution occurs at a much quicker rate than biological evolution. From single selled organisms to homosapiens took hundreds of millions of years. From the Weimar republic to Hitler took a matter of months.

you cheapen the sacrifice of those who died under rifle fire

Every time someone points out fascist trends or characteristics of our own government this trope is used. Appeals to emotion are not a solid basis for an argument. No one is saying that Hilary Clinton is the same as Gaddafi or that McGovern is the same as the dead on the streets of Tripoli. What Joe has pointed out is that their actions are similar in the context of the state not being able to tolerate dissent.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:16 AM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I mean thousands of people refusing orders to leave the streets of the capitol until their non-negotiable demand is met that the leader of the country leave office."

In order to get to that point, so many other things would have to change, including eliminating our ability to even speak about the possibility here, online.

But I forgot that you don't see any difference between Washington and Tripoli, between Obama and Qadaffi. Because you've got such a revolutionary hard-on and such naked egotism that you want their struggle to be your struggle, because otherwise you have to admit that you're not even doing what McGovern is doing. You're not even putting a drop in the bucket, just shouting past the bucket's rim.

You can't admit your own privilege, admit that functionally, the United States is pretty good for most of its citizens, admit that this craving you have for describing your opponents as "shameless naked evil" is childish Manichean demagoguery that you use to place yourself into a heroic myth because you can't face your day-to-day impotence. Your rhetoric is the same as any fundamentalist's, just aimed at different targets.

And that's why it's still bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 AM on February 26, 2011


"I don't think comparing the evolution of life to the evolution of state tyranny is a very fair comparison. Cultural evolution occurs at a much quicker rate than biological evolution. From single selled organisms to homosapiens took hundreds of millions of years. From the Weimar republic to Hitler took a matter of months. "

First off, the comparison wasn't evolution, but rather number. Humans are a colony of single-celled organisms working in concert, but most people would recognize that "scale" is a facile point of comparison. Second off, the Weimar Republic was suffering active political violence from both Reds and Freikorps since 1920, battles in the streets where civilians were killed. That Hitler was able to seize power had been over a decade in the making, politically. The closest we've got is Minutemen killing immigrants, and even that's an exception that has been dealt with through the criminal justice system.

"Every time someone points out fascist trends or characteristics of our own government this trope is used. Appeals to emotion are not a solid basis for an argument. No one is saying that Hilary Clinton is the same as Gaddafi or that McGovern is the same as the dead on the streets of Tripoli. What Joe has pointed out is that their actions are similar in the context of the state not being able to tolerate dissent."

The comparison of McGovern to someone under rifle fire is an appeal to emotion. And if we look at that comparison in terms of "tolerating dissent," it falls apart too: McGovern was arrested, but released. I have no problem saying that it was wrong to arrest him, even though I think the circumstances are pretty understandable. But arresting him has hardly quashed his dissent — it's given him a much broader platform from which to speak. And Beese was attempting to argue against those who said that McGovern could reasonably have anticipated this response by glibly comparing it to those being shot. But that doesn't disprove that McGovern could have reasonably anticipated this, and by saying that the only difference is scale is inane — not only is scale not the only difference, but scale is actually pretty important here. Firing on protesters is a lot more disproportionate than arresting a guy, even arresting him roughly, and then releasing him.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that's why it's still bullshit.

Wow. You were able to cram a lot into that one short post. Appeal to emotion, ad hominem, and strawman. Impressive.

You can't admit your own privilege

Westerners no longer have to worry about this as Radiohead has already admitted this for us.

admit that functionally, the United States is pretty good for most of its citizens

But see that's not what McGovern was protesting was it. I think that it can be reasonably agreed, especially considering recent events, that while the U.S. may impose a soft tyranny on it's own citizens it most certainly imposes(sometimes by proxy) a hard tyranny on the middle east.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:17 AM on February 26, 2011


First off, the comparison wasn't evolution, but rather number. Humans are a colony of single-celled organisms working in concert, but most people would recognize that "scale" is a facile point of comparison.

I don't see what number has to do with anything. The question of scale is directly proportional to how advanced/evolved the tyranny is. Either way it was a bad analogy.

The comparison of McGovern to someone under rifle fire is an appeal to emotion.

I can't speak authoritatively for Joe, but I don't think that he's comparing McGovern to the Libyan protesters. He's comparing the actions of their respective power structures.

by saying that the only difference is scale is inane

No one has said that the only difference is scale.

Firing on protesters is a lot more disproportionate than arresting a guy, even arresting him roughly, and then releasing him.

The disproportion in response is linked to the disproportion in the capability of the different actors(McGovern or Libyans) to affect change.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:32 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"No one has said that the only difference is scale.

"I see no difference other than scale."
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no problem saying that it was wrong to arrest him, even though I think the circumstances are pretty understandable
Klang; your little spat with Joe Beese aside; would you care to explain what you think are proper circumstances ? The man quietly stood up and turned his back; no one said "sit down arsehole, I can't see"; in fact no one said anything except the rather smug speaker who, as has been pointed out above, knew who the silent protester was.
Is this the sort of society you like living in? a society where even silence is not acceptable?
posted by adamvasco at 10:49 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Klang; your little spat with Joe Beese aside; would you care to explain what you think are proper circumstances ? The man quietly stood up and turned his back; no one said "sit down arsehole, I can't see"; in fact no one said anything except the rather smug speaker who, as has been pointed out above, knew who the silent protester was.
Is this the sort of society you like living in? a society where even silence is not acceptable?
"

Who with the what now?

I said that it was wrong to arrest him, even though I think it's understandable why it happened, i.e. that over-zealous security guards gave him the bum's rush because they were afraid he'd be disruptive or dangerous.

So, no, I guess I wouldn't care to answer a bunch of rhetorical questions implying a position I don't hold in order to appease someone who has pretty clearly misconstrued something pretty simple that I wrote, especially given that I've been pretty open about my stance from the get-go.
posted by klangklangston at 4:13 PM on February 26, 2011


So, no, I guess I wouldn't care to answer a bunch of rhetorical questions implying a position I don't hold in order

Which means that you don't want to live in a society where even silence is not acceptable, right ?

So why get your panties in a bunch when other people are essentially saying the same thing ?

I'm guessing that by understandable you mean that you understand your government doesn't really give a stuff any more about some of the basic rights that you as a citizen are supposed to have, and will not defend you when you exercise those rights (in fact, in this case they attacked instead of defending). Therefore, of course this kind thing will happen ?

Your statements, however, read as if you agree with the position your government now seems to adopt.

If this is not how you want your opinions to be read then you need to state them more clearly.
posted by Boslowski at 4:06 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


State them more clearly?

Yeah, I'm not all 'bout it 'bout it with the way some of the TYRANNY SHEEPLE comments are going, and this is relatively minor on the fucked-up scale (this is exactly like being mowed down by rifle fire, thanks), but he should have been allowed to protest, and because he wasn't, Clinton should apologize. Even if she wouldn't have done anything differently, apologize and talk to the guy.

Read them more clearly.

Luckily, McGovern lives in a country with numerous avenues for him to pursue, including pressing criminal charges or filing a civil suit against the security team.

"I'm guessing that by understandable you mean that you understand your government doesn't really give a stuff any more about some of the basic rights that you as a citizen are supposed to have, and will not defend you when you exercise those rights (in fact, in this case they attacked instead of defending). Therefore, of course this kind thing will happen ? "

Frankly, though, I don't agree with this statement. In general, the government does protect my rights, and your rights. There are notable exceptions, but saying that my government doesn't care at all about my rights isn't true. I'm also not so naive as to believe that my government is a single entity with easily anthropomorphizable intents and actions.

I've had my government protect my right to protest against anti-gay stores, I've had my government protect my right to protest for gay marriage, I've had my government step in and defend me from pro-war counter-protesters.

I've also been hassled by the very same department over the very same things, but in my last activism job, I had to deal with the cops being called pretty much every single day, and a good 80 percent of time, they were cool. When they weren't, I filed civil complaints.

I'm also aware that this same police department used violence against mostly peaceful protesters.

What I reject is the black and white view that's being presented here and the general attempts to hyperbolize McGovern's experience. It's unhelpful and pollutes reasonable discussion.

For example, I've been searching around, and I'm not even sure what McGovern's silent protest was in support of, because everyone's just latched onto the irony.
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not even sure what McGovern's silent protest was in support of, because everyone's just latched onto the irony
Try reading the thread
posted by adamvasco at 10:57 AM on February 27, 2011


I still haven't found an article about this that is more fact than opinion. Anyone else? No one says if he was charged with anything or if he pressed charges himself. I can't find a description of what happened to support the claim that he was "arrested for standing silently with his back to the Secretary of State." The video doesn't show security approaching him or what they did before he started yelling. And if he had left the room without yelling, no one has said whether or not he still would have ended up with handcuffs. The only one willing to speak about it has been McGovern.

Again, I'm definitely not saying that this was handled correctly. They should have just let him carry on with his protest. He wasn't hurting anyone. And they most definitely should not have handled him so roughly. I just think that statements like "he was arrested for standing silently" came a little too eagerly. And if, in fact, he was arrested for doing just that, I sure as hell would like to know.
posted by zerbinetta at 11:19 AM on February 27, 2011


Sun Valley Chronicle: McGovern was told he was being charged with disorderly conduct.
posted by adamvasco at 11:39 AM on February 27, 2011


Thanks, adamvasco. It didn't answer all my questions, but was helpful. I Googled his name and "disorderly conduct" and found this (and came to accept that my search skills were terrible):

Two UPD officers approached the man, asking him to leave twice. The man remained silent and did not respond to the UPD officer's request that he leave or be seated. The UPD officers at this point grabbed him by the arm, pulled him to the ground, and dragged him out of the auditorium. The man remained silent the whole time until just before being pulled through the auditorium doors when he screamed, "This is America?"

But according to McGovern, there was no warning before they dragged him out.

Ray explained that when he would stand in silent witness at the church, his daughter would be with him keeping an eye on things. This time there was no one to warn him that two large men were approaching him. Nor was there any warning issued by the men, according to McGovern, as they grabbed him and dragged him out of the room.
posted by zerbinetta at 12:21 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


" Read them more clearly. "

Well. You see I did read that bit, the bit you highlighted. But then I also read all the rest of what you wrote and the tone and content of some of that led me to the conclusion I presented, which is that your opinions are not clearly and consistently stated.

This is because, even though you do not agree with what happened to McGovern (I did know that when I wrote my comment) you still see fit to write posts that seem to be defending the situation that occurred as a reality of modern America, and one that you aren't even that outraged about.

These are conflicting sentiments and hence your position seems unclear.

Its as simple as that.
posted by Boslowski at 2:40 AM on March 8, 2011


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