Freedom/Privacy

Arrest due to Interpretation

By Rori Black

CU Boulder student, Max Karson, was arrested April 19th after he mentioned that he understood the motivations of school shooters. Other students interpreted that this was a threat of future violence and called the authorities.

He was arrested on “on suspicion of interfering with staff, faculty or students of an educational institution.” For voicing an opinion. For practicing his first amendment rights. If everyone else get to assume his motives, I’m going to assume that he was actually adding to a one-sided, non-productive vilifying of Cho that didn’t address deeper problems such as mental illness and domestic violence.

He was released on $1000.00 bail on the 20th with the admonition of the court not to “press the limits of certain envelopes.” Which envelopes might those be, your honor?

If one can get detained or arrested because a jumpy country interprets your words and actions as threats, we might just have well instituted TIPS, Terrorism Information and Prevention System, wherein citizens could rat on the general public as threats to Homeland Security.

You may remember when six Muslims were removed from a US Airways flight after their pre-boarding prayer. “In a statement to police, a US Airways gate agent wrote that three of the men prayed in Arabic at the gate. ‘I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,’ the gate agent said.” Not LOUD! Anything but loud. Maybe Christians on old tent revivals should tone it down a little, as well?

When did America adopt the policies of the Stasi?

Overreaction does not begin with “suspicious” adults. Unruly six year old girls can be hauled off in handcuffs after a temper tantrum. No, this isn’t The Onion:

Avon Park police chief Frank Mercurio tells Krugman, “The student became violent. She was yelling, screaming — just being uncontrollable. Defiant. “But after Herbert responded, “But she was 6,” Mercurio’s reply came faster than a speeding bullet: “Do you think this is the first 6-year-old we’ve arrested?'”

Mercurio adds, “Believe me when I tell you, a 6-year-old can inflict injury to you just as much as any other person.” … I asked the chief if anyone had been hurt. “Yes,” he said. At least one woman reported “some redness.”

“You can’t handcuff them on their wrists because their wrists are too small, so you have to handcuff them up by their biceps.”

Oy vey!

So watch what you say or do, some do-gooder with Flight 93 fantasies might overpower you or have you arrested. Make sure you don’t press certain, undefined envelopes.

5 replies »

  1. This troubles me. I’m obviously a huge supporter of all things free speech, but goddammit, every other day some asshole does something that makes it easier for those who love freedom less than I do to encroach on it further. I mean, if you’ve read half of what I have about our VT shooter, you have to have wondered how this kid was allowed to wander loose. The signs were EVERYWHERE.

    So the kid at CU acts in a way that pokes aggressively at the “can’t take chances” nerve. And if you’re a campus official, are you interested in taking the chance of him going all copycat?

    [sigh] These kinds of challenges are going to increase – bet on it. And pray we die before the generation in college now gets control of the ballot box. Start by understanding that most Americans think the 1st Amendment grants us too much freedom (http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=2621) and trust me when I say that the Millennial Generation numbers are worse than the average…

  2. but goddammit, every other day some asshole does something that makes it easier for those who love freedom less than I do to encroach on it further.

    Let’s pretend we know what happened in that classroom. Devil’s advocate, say…

    I know that my friends and I have often talked about Harris and Kleebold in a way that would sound like we were “supportive” of them. We experienced the hell of being the outsiders, and the rage of being bullied.

    What if he was merely pointing out that there are times that you feel that you are at the end of your rope and can’t take it any more? What if he was merely empathizing with their situation PRIOR to turning the corner to “school shooter”?

    If I was arrested every time I said “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill him”, it would be a daily occurrence. Am I going to kill someone? Probably not, I don’t know what shoes one wears for a murder.

    All I’m saying is, what if he’s not some attention/shock seeking asshole and was merely trying to help people understand what it’s like to be “that guy” and these people went Code Red on him?

    The future scares me.

  3. Rori, I hear you. And by the way, not too long ago you were sitting across the table from a woman who was a member of the bullied class at Columbine (before the shootings). She

  4. Sam,

    I take back my comment that he was only trying to present the other side of the argument to advance the conversation. He’s an attention whore.

    Knowing that… but like the Imus brouhaha, when does free speech enter the domain of the obscene/objectionable/dangerous?

    Maybe scaring the pants off of people with your record of incessant ramblings about violent acts == “Fire” in a movie theatre?

    Sounds more to me like the guy needs some attention and therapy (and maybe a fist in the gob for the girlfriend comment).

    It will be interesting to see if, as this progresses, the ACLU gets involved.

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