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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

"Blowjob." That's the obscenity Andrew Meyer uttered that resulted in him getting Tasered at a free-speech event.

The First Amendment is about the right to say things those in power don't want to hear. In Gainesville, it is about the right of a church to administer to the religious needs of a congregation that is largely homeless. At UF, it is about the right of an individual to say something unpopular at an Accent event.

At no time was Sen. John Kerry in any danger, and he seemed willing to answer Meyer's tirade. After being in politics as long as he has, Kerry was totally capable of dealing with the situation. Angry citizens go with the job. If being rude, arrogant and self-centered is now a crime, I know a number of leading citizens in this town who should also be in jail - probably including myself.

It is ironic that at the same time Meyer's arrest took place, UF was sponsoring a First Amendment seminar. While UF was discussing whether school-board budgets should be put on the Web, the real freedom of speech issues were playing out on another part of the campus.

In an editorial, The Gainesville Sun pointed out that instead of having one law enforcement agency investigating another, there should be open discourse about what happened and what the rules of engagement should be. Surely there are several steps between telling someone they are acting rude and wrestling that person to the ground and Tasering him.

In the interest of free speech: "Blowjob, blowjob, blowjob."

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