back to article Florida uni cops taser shouty student

A Florida university student who overran his allotted time while quizzing John Kerry on matters of national import at a forum graced by the Democrat senator for Massachusetts received a solid tasering for his trouble, quickly followed by the now-obligatory YouTube martydom: As you can see, Andrew Meyer, 21, was pretty …

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Anonymous Coward

one question

was he wearing an afro at the time and whilst being tazered did he yell "Sea KING!" ?

lol, free exchange of ideas.

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ha you vill follow zee rulez

Well if he didn't follow the debating rules then that's OK, examples need to be set and they need to be clear!! If there were no rules, then WOW Free speech rocks

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Anonymous Coward

Using tasers on the innocent is gross abuse

Its high time there were some controls on the indiscriminate abuse of tasers in this manner.

Everybody, from the person that fired the taser upwards to the University top man needs to be accused, tried and imprisoned foor their part in allowing an incompetent person to be in charge of a taser and inflicting grievous bodily harm in wholly inappropriate circumstances.

There has to be control, and tasers should absolutely ONLY be in use if the person on the receiving end is armed or somebody is in very immediate danger of physical harm from the person they are firing at.

This is absolutely not one of those circumstances and the perpetrators need to be severely punished.

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Buy shares in Taser!

It's the Labour Party conference next week and the last thing the Cabinet wants are inconvenient questions from the delegates. Organisers can now relax in the certain knowledge that a spot of light tasering will stop anyone introducing democracy into the proceedings.

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That's not funny!

I am appalled at the tonuge in cheek tone of your article - I watched the YouTube link, excpecting to be entertained, and actually saw something gut wrenchingly horrific!

It is chilling to think that cops can just take down someone like that, who's doing nothing more than having a go at a politician (verbally). And then for that politician to just say "oh, I'm sure the police had a reason".

10 out of 10 for Meyer, 0 out of 10 for The Register.

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Anonymous Coward

20mm cannon vs human flesh

"I watched the YouTube link, excpecting to be entertained, and actually saw something gut wrenchingly horrific!"

Well, Youtube's full of that kind of stuff - if you know where to look. I've got a DVD with some stuff I burned, if you want a copy. But what did you think about the video of the man being tasered?

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Anonymous Coward

done nothing wrong?

make sure you are non-conductive and you have nothing to fear...

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Bronze badge

"visibly shocked..."?

...no doubt...

(...unless you meant "risibly shocked"...)

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Ahh Rentacops.

Rentacops standing in the way of freedom of speech. God Bless America!

Mind you, he was ranting a bit wasn't he. That'll teach him to cut the waffle and get to the point.

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Disgraceful

> "We're absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that a free exchange of ideas can occur."

Excuse me? What a hypocrite.

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But then again?

But then again , I did not hear either the Miranda as required by law when a person is being restrained and or arrested by any police officer or legal law enforcement person , being read out or even hear one word from either those on the podium or the audience say stop this brutality now , whilst these uniformed low rent college cop wankers and wowsers were getting their jollies from zapping the poor unfortunate victim several times !

It just goes to show that both the current Congressmen or Senators as elected , for either the Republicans or Democrat Parties have no respect for the US Constitution , it's amendments , and the Supreme Court Rulings when it comes down to the wire !

Oh well , I hope the regents at Florida U have deep enough pockets , to cover the cost if the forth coming legal action arising from this incident !

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Sums up the Yanks

Shoot first - ask questions later.

Amusing that he did swear while holding forth, but all he said when tasered (or is that tazered(tm)?) is "Ow...Ow...Ow..."

Although on the plus side they are kinder to foreigners:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57662

Here is an open letter on recommendation of taser use:

http://www.cprc.org/docs/aclu.pdf

Scary reading.

-Slay

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Anonymous Coward

Obey the law

Look, when the man was told his time was up and that he had to yield the floor then his time was up and he had to yield the floor...that he chose to disobey that legitimate request subjected him to being ejected from the room. Right or wrong, he was told to leave by a person in authority for that venue...he was out of order.

That he refused to comply with that request and physically resisted the people in authority put him in the wrong, period. And what a dramatic performance it was!

If those in authority violated his Constitutional Rights by ejecting him wrongfully, then leave peacefully and sue UF and get rich. That he created such a tense specticle, and drew such a forceful response from police, was completely the doing of that young man. He should have followed their orders, then called his lawyer. Square off with a police officer anywhere, not just at UF, and what do you suppose will happen...do we want our police in this country to cower, back away and leave the loud, aggitated arrestee alone?

Since when is it acceptable to resist arrest? He was being thrown out, plain and simple. If he wanted to debate the right or wrong of it, that was definitely not the place.

And as for the taser, would we perfer that he had beaten into submission by fists and clubs? Use of force in an arrest isn't pretty...but the taser is less harmful (to everyone involved) and brings a combative person under control quickly. No pun intended, but it is a shocking thing to witness so it's no wonder that the people in that room would be upset.

That guy caused this big scene, which was exactly his intent when taking the mic!

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Anonymous Coward

he's chronic and deserved it

of course, a length of garden hose filled with sand liberally used about the head and shoulders would have been a better incentive for that young man to behave better in public...

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Anonymous Coward

Ironic

Someone once told me the American's don't get irony.

John Kerry concedes and election he should have won.

Meyer tells him the above.

Meyer gets tasered for fuck all.

Kerry says "the police must have had a reason."

This is some sad state of affairs. At least in Iran you can be sure of reasons for things like this. I'd like to see the court of human rights investigate. I love the way that nobody in the audience gives a rats-arse about what's going on too.

God Bless America...

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Anonymous Coward

YouTube≠Reality

As a current student at this uni and a regular Reg reader I must say I was disappointed about this incident. I'm sure that all parties involved have regrets about how things happened. The questioner was out of line on several counts and his disrespect for the speaker as well as those trying to restore order caused them to escalate their methods. It was clear to the questioner he would be tased if he didn't follow the rules of the forum and continued to be disruptive to the proceedings - he went on shouting and he got zapped. Freedom of speech is not a license to ignore decorum and do what you want to the detriment of others. The audience applauded when the police pulled the speaker away from the microphone.

Although I am not a fan of Sen. Kerry, he did the correct thing by attempting to answer the question of the tasee, who had already eroded his own credibility. BTW, YouTube and electricity from a taser is a pretty tenuous link to IT reporting - back to the real stories Reg.

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Taser those rentacops!

I'm all for the taser in principle - a (mostly) non-lethal way of dealing with DANGEROUS opponents.

I have no problem with cops tasering a drugged up aggressor who poses a direct threat to them or others.

I don't even have problems with the cops tasering any dickhead stupid enough to refuse to keep their hands in sight when ordered to do so - the cops deserve to be able to defend themselves from the risk of a cowardly attack using a concealed weapon.

What I do not agree with is tasers being used to torture a person who has already been subdued and cuffed as demonstrated in that video clip.

It was sickening. The "campus cops" in that clip had already wrestled the guy to the floor for being "armed" with a smart mouth and a propensity to ramble. There was no need to "disarm" him by repeatedly tasering him into submission.

That whole bunch of rentacop pigs should be hogtied and repeatedly tasered.

The taser is supposed to be a tool to protect cops and the public from [potential] danger - an alternative tool to a 9mm Glock or whatever other sidearm your police force prefers - it's not a tool for shutting up lippy people who're already lying on the floor in cuffs.

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Silver badge

WTF...Debate "rules" are Not Law

It's absolutely insane that people tout the "law" when referring to a university debate!!! Debates are all about rants, exceeding your alloted time, and generally pissing someone off. By it's very nature, free speech is going to cross lines from time to time, but the appropriate response is to exercise the right to speak your mind and respond, not electrocute someone.

Regardless of his past, the speaker in question broke PRIVATE rules, he did not break the law, the person that zapped him should be prosecuted criminally, and the uni prosecuted in civil court.

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Anonymous Coward

@Obey the law

"And as for the taser, would we perfer that he had beaten into submission by fists and clubs? Use of force in an arrest isn't pretty...but the taser is less harmful (to everyone involved)..."

Just enter the words 'taser deaths' into any search engine and look at any of the pages that come up. It becomes apparent very quickly that multiple electrocutions with a taser aren't pretty, either. Tasers can and do cause the damage that can be just as severe and traumatic as clubs.

The gold standard is that they cannot taser or club him unless he physically assaults an officer or threatens an officer with a weapon (e.g. brandishing a knife or some such). If he is merely resisting their physical prompts for him to accompany the officers out, then they are limited to using judo-like holds to handcuff him and walk him out of the room. If they are not skilled enough to do that, then they have no business even being security guards, let alone campus police officers.

Now, I cannot judge this particular case as I was not present when the incident happened, nor have I seen the youtube video (waiting for the kiddo's to go to bed, first). If he physically assaulted the officers, then just enough taser to put him on the floor is all they are justified to do; otherwise, they need more and better close quarters combat training.

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watching to much tv

"I did not hear either the Miranda as required by law when a person is being restrained and or arrested by any police officer or legal law enforcement person"

Watching to much TV. The police only have to read you your rights when question and you are not free to leave, or feel like you are not free to leave or if you dont answer thier questions you will go to jail.

See once they have you in custody and question you then they have to read you your rights.

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Regretful???

University President J. Bernard Machen [...] called the whole sorry affair "regretful"

How the blazes did someone with such a dismal grasp of the English language get to be president of a university?

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Anonymous Coward

@ObeyTheLaw

Err .. no, shan't .... I manage to break a couple of laws every day, luckily I have avoided a Taser-ing by living in the UK.

In this country I won't get taserd for speaking in a debate, though I might be removed for heckling (which is obviously wrong, if your speaking in public and can't take the flack get a new job).. Obviously there are some things you just can't say in America. I always knew you didnt have the right to scream fire in a theatre but apparently the thought police have a variety of other words they are not happy with.

Even in this country you are not read your rights until you are arrested. This assault though really can not be considered an arrest.

Long live the troublemakers !

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Anonymous Coward

Couldn't agree more

"I am appalled at the tonuge in cheek tone of your article - I watched the YouTube link, excpecting to be entertained, and actually saw something gut wrenchingly horrific!

It is chilling to think that cops can just take down someone like that, who's doing nothing more than having a go at a politician (verbally). And then for that politician to just say "oh, I'm sure the police had a reason".

10 out of 10 for Meyer, 0 out of 10 for The Register." - Marcos Scriven

This is NOT behaviour I would expect from police in a civilised (supposedly) country. This makes me want to buy a ticket to America, and go have a serious word with those cops. I think if I was there, I'd definitely have done something when they started tazering him. Its torture, plain and simple. A better move would have been to let the guy leave on his own, with police protecting Kerry. If the student moved toward the police protection, then he poses a threat, but if he leaves quietly there is no reason for arrest. Watching this made me want to slap the Tazer guy and say "What the HELL do you think you're doing?!"

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Anonymous Coward

"Beaten into submission"

Peace officers should be abe to restrain an unarmed man without recourse to beating or clubs. Arrest is not intended to be a punishment. Tasers are a non-lethal response to an attempt to escalate to lethal force. If he'd picked up a chair I'd expect them to get their batons out; if he'd drawn a knife or gun or other useful weapon, *then* Tasers are excusable, and far preferable to 9mm.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

"How the blazes did someone with such a dismal grasp of the English language get to be president of a university?"

Why, is there something wrong with what he said?

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/regretful

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America, America, Land of the Free!!

These stories truly trouble me, as more and more we see the freedoms that the USA is fighting wars for being denied to their own citizens. I feel sorry for this clown, I mean they have blown out of all proportion what could have been quietly and clamly dealt with. Subtly training may be in order!

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Anonymous Coward

Was he even tasered

From what I saw of the vid yesterday (linked from elsewhere), not much evidence beyond the language of his pretty much unchanging level of ranting. I'm no expert but I'd have thought had he really been tasered he'd have been at least slightly subdued. Publicity seeker.

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Anonymous Coward

Parliament

I'd like to see the speaker of the house of commons equipped with a taser - it would make the process much more interesting.

Either that, or laser death ray eyes.

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How odd.

In London (or many other fine towns and cities in the UK) one would expect bouncers or doormen to be able to eject this character in a matter of seconds, usually without any physical interaction at all - or if physical force was needed cleanly and rapidly.

So why is it that these 'police officers' were unable to do so, and had to resort to high voltage electric shocks? Remember the 'torture chambers' of Kosovo and Iraq - where the police would shock the prisoners? That was considered pure evi - anyone remember the scene from 3 Kings? Yet now considered de riguer for the US police.

Oh - and I gather tasers are coming to a UK constabulary near you very soon...

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Ian

Am I the only one who didn't see a problem?

The guy was acting like a nob and was quite clearly resisting the cops.

If the police ask you to stop doing something you stop doing it, if you instead fight them for a few minutes and then hence get tasered well, that's Darwinism at work. Serves the guy right, there's better ways to deal with situations than that, by acting the way he did he just proved he was an idiot deserving no place in an intelligent debate session.

If you feel the police have wronged you put forward an official complaint where you can get them in trouble, fight them and you'll only get yourself in trouble. No one has a free ticket to act like such an idiot and not suffer some for of repercussions.

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Dan

Let this be a lesson ...

.. To all you free thinkers. Should you get in a position to ask those in power embarrassing questions you can and will be forced into submission. Not following a party line and embarrassing both sides at the same time is totally unacceptable.

What is truly sad is the fact everyone just sat there and watched it happen.

1984 happened folks.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Thomas Jefferson

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Utterly unacceptable use of force

There was no need for that at all.

The guy asked three questions - ok, he rambled a bit, but that's hardly worth calling in the rent-a-cops for. He is then manhandled, which was uncalled for, and then dragged to the back of the room and TASERED several times.

I have talked people out of bar brawls, carried them out, and in some cases, cut through the BS and just waded in and stopped a situation. There was absolutely no need to restrain the guy in the first place. How a room full of people could sit like sheeple and watch this is incredible.

He should immediately press charges against the "officers" that assualted him.

Resisting arrest my arse. There was no need for an arrest in the first place, and those of you who sit there and try to justify the actions of the uni, and the campus cops really have no grasp of reality. The guy did nothing to deserve that treatment.

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Anonymous Coward

Tasers

Yes, the guy was in the wrong, and was acting like an idiot after he had been told to leave, but there it was completely unnecessary to taser him for it. The police should have used whatever force was necessary, not go overboard. There were about 5 of them and one of him, I'm sure they could have put some handcuffs on him between them and got him out.

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What's the problem?

I don't see the problem. The guy was being a jerk. He cut in front of everyone else "to ask a question." Fine. But when a police officer grabs you and says to come with them, if you start pulling away, attempting to flee, it's resisting arrest. You can argue whether or not you should be arrested later, but at that time, you're resisting. And just because you are a police officer doesn't mean you have to take abuse -- verbal or physical. They guy resisted, they tased him to control him. No problem.

And there was no violation of free speech. He wasn't asking a question. He was ranting.

Oh, and to comment on another poster, Miranda as NOT required by law when a person is being restrained and or arrested. Miranda IS required before questioning. They weren't questioning him.

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Anonymous Coward

@Christopher Emerson

Yes. There *is* something wrong with what he said.

Regretful is feeling regret.

Whilst the university president can be regretful, the incident can't.

Incidents don't have feelings. The incident may be "regrettable" but it can't be "regretful".

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it could have been worse

Shucks it could have been worse,at least the National Guard were not on security.Also their shirts were not Brown.

Happy Days

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Utterly Disgraceful....

I only gave it 2 stars.

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Harry Potter

Well thanks a bunch for the Deathly Hallows spoiler. Are there any books you're currently reading that I can ruin for you to return the favour?

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Anonymous Coward

Must be nice

to live in the land of the free....

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Damn cryptohippies!

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This has to do with a guy who jumped the line to ask a question, and didn't comply with the police taking him out.

If he'd shut up and didn't resist, he'd never get tasered. Let alone probably get his question answered.

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@it could have been worse

Indeed, it could. Am I the only one reading this who vividly recalls Kent State?

(You young'n's should Google "Kent State shootings" and read the wiki)

This recent Florida U. kerfuffel is another case of "stupidity meets excessive force." The young lad was abusing the privilege of being able to ask *a* question. He was not granted a forum to carry on a verbal harangue. When asked to cut it short, he copped an attitude.

Ah, but then the wannabe constabulary decided they had to "show their stuff." They decided to drag the chap away from the mic, tackle him to the ground and *once he was down* taser him!

Thank G-d these rent-a-goons ONLY had tasers!

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Anonymous Coward

The UK is next in line for tasering !

This is exactly what is going to happen in the UK soon as well. First the Govt and Police make all kinds of promises about how it will only be used on rare occasions, then next minute if you answer back to some stasi type officer who get tasered. What a shame the USA and this Country seem to be going away from democracy to police states and no one speaking out against it.

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Restraint

Having watched the video I noticed that the guy was tasered when on the ground and appeared to have at least one hand cuffed, plus 2 perhaps 3 people restraining him. I've done a bit of self defence training and the guy wasn't getting up with that kind of weight on him,then why did the rentacops need to use the taser if he was already restrained? The guy was mouthing off is all, nothing else, unless in the grand old US of A saying things that are not acceptable to those in authority is now a crime?

Also, people who are saying that the no one helped, did you not hear the girl screaming 'stop tasering him?' Of course people aren't going to wade in and start having a pop at someone who is wearing a uniform, especially in a university!

All in all this points to inadequate training on the behalf of the rentacops and perhaps a regretable lack of common sense from our friend Merril. I hope the guy (or girl) who did the tasering is disciplined and perhaps out of a job because they are obviously not fit to work in that type of environment.

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Appauling behavior

Okay, so he was being far from co-operative. But the cops wouldn't have needed to taser him at all if they were half-way competent in restraint techniques. I've been trained in them and used them in similar situations.

To be honest, though, i'd say they ought to have let him "have his say" and the whole strongarming would not have been necessary.

He'd only overstayed by a few seconds and the other chap appeared to be happy to answer the question. So why the stormtrooper routine. Simply turning his microphone off would have helped!

I usually side with the cops, but this was unjustified and badly executed.

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Anonymous Coward

Sad, and sadder

"What is truly sad is the fact everyone just sat there and watched it happen."

And what is even SADDER is that there are people here who actually think its perfectly reasonable to inflict grievous bodily harm to an unarmed person whose only "crime" is to SAY something that somebody else didn't like.

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Yes, the guy's behavior was appalling..

"Let him have his say?" How long does he get? He had the same time allotted to others and was merely ranting about Clinton getting impeached for sex acts. So do let him go for 30 minutes if he wants? Plus he busted in line ahead of everyone. So THIS guy gets to run the event now?

This guy was a jerk that was looking to stir up media attention. He had no intentions of sparking intellectual debate. Reports from witnesses show that the only time he struggled and screamed at the police is when the media was present (he was later quiet and cooperative in the halls until the media caught up where he started his act again).

Now, I will agree with one point that people have made: it's pretty poor training with that many security/police officers need to tase a guy that's already on the ground and half cuffed.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF is not to get?!

So there is this student, and admittedly he is a little over the top, who has legitimate questions to the Senator. He is removed from stage DESPITE said Senator not articulating any offense. He is heavily armed, with a BOOK. Hence, he is violently removed and, while already down and defenseless, well tasered. Now I come here and read people who fail to see what the problem is. If you would please excuse my French, it's BLOODY FUCKING OBVIOUS WHAT THE PROBLEM IS!

- being removed despite a US Senator stating "That's all right, let me answer his question."

- being denied his right to exercise free speech

- being TASERED WHILE UNARMED AND DEFENSELESS

Now the first two items may just "happen" in the course of "misbehaving", but the last item is cruel, unnecessary, and can be considered torture. The most gut-wrenching aspect is that in these circumstances the bystanders tend to just enjoy the show instead of helping a victim of public torture. The same behavior could be observed the last time El Reg reported on such an issue, when some pook fuck was tasered in a library for not being able to produce his ID. If you still fail to see the problem, consider seing a shrink, as you might suffer from a serious social impairment. I rarely welcome the ill tendency of Americans to sue everyone and their mommy over bullshit, but I duly hope some people lose their heads over this case. It is most disgusting and not worthy of any society considering itself civilized.

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Spoiler

You bastard!

I haven't read the new Harry Potter book yet!

Thanks for the spoiler. May you die of the pox and rot in hell, Mr. Haines.

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Anonymous Coward

Is taser as bad ...

... as being gunned down in The Tube? What was the crime that guy committed again?

(that's aimed at all the UK types who seem to be taking the "high road" here)

I'll take the taser to the repeated bullets to the body and head, thanks.

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Here Here

Colleges are big business and it is expensive to come up with the cash from the copious amounts of taxpayer money that gets shoveled toward them every year so they can have major political personalities speak at a school.

Colleges should be free to have anyone speaking out or up tazered whenever they like as that poor fool is only a student and not a citizen.

You would have thought they learned their lesson about fascism on campus from the 60s and 70s oh well here we go again.

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