'In this book, it says five million votes were supressed. Didn't you want to be President?' Asks 21-Year-Old Prior to be Dragged Off by Security
'Kerry, true to character, stood immobile,' Notes the New York Times Best-Selling Author in Response...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2007, 1:10pm PT  

Fortunately, it happened at a John Kerry event. So we'll likely hear a whole lot about this incident. Had it happened at a Republican event, Fox "News" and the rest of the news channels that receive their assignments from them would have made this a one-day story at best.

The blurry-ish video version of the incident seen at right shows the entire statement and questions asked by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. He was waving the recently released paperback version of investigative journalist Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse and recommended the book to Kerry before asking him about his early concession to the 2004 Presidential Election.

"He says you won the 2004 Election, isn't that amazing?" proclaimed Meyer, referring to Palast's claims in the book. The 21-year-old student continued on to speak about "multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio on the day of the election" and "electronic voting machines in Volusia County, Florida, that counted backwards."

"So amidst all of these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day?" he asked as security guards surrounded him. "How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? In this book, it says there were five million votes that were suppressed. Didn't you want to be President?!"

Kerry is heard earlier in Meyer's statement acknowledging that he has the book and that he's "already read it." Though we've seen the incident now on all of the cable news channels, several times, we've not seen any of them show the actual statement and questions being asked by Meyer.

"We warned you: ‘Armed Madhouse’ is a dangerous book," writes the sardonic New York Times best-selling author (and occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Contributor), in an article posted to his website earlier today.

Before being dragged off, Meyer was able to get out additional questions about impeachment of George W. Bush and whether or not Kerry was a member of Yale University's Skull and Bones Society.

"Kerry, true to character, stood immobile," writes Palast.

"The Washington Post reported only that Meyers was holding a 'mysterious yellow book.' VERY mysterious," notes Palast, adding "I must admit I feel some appreciation for Meyers, especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book."

"If you let me go, I'll walk out of here," Meyer's can be heard pleading with the uniformed University security team on the short video after being dragged away from the microphone.

A female voice can be heard shouting "do it now!" Though it's unclear from the tape whether or not the comment is coming from one of the officers and whether or not it was meant as encouragement to use the Taser on Meyer, who can shortly thereafter be heard screaming as he was allegedly zapped by one or more of the officers.

RAW STORY's coverage reports that Kerry was unaware a Taser gun was used until after he'd left the building. Though the former Democratic Presidential Nominee is heard on tape attempting to speak to Meyer's question as the 21-year-old student is heard apparently screaming in pain --- just moments after he is heard pleading: "Don't taze me bro, I didn't do anything."

UPDATE, AND A COMMENT: Here's another camera angle on the incident, which also includes the opening questions...

I continue to be troubled that neither Kerry, nor the bulk of the people in the audience, appeared to take any action. Kudos to whoever was yelling near the end of the video above, "What are you doing?!"

Discussion of the incident over at DU has led several to say "Well, I don't think he should have been tasered, but he was clearing seeking publicity" or "being an ass" or "wasn't polite" or whatever.

I'm troubled that so many there seem to feel that though "he shouldn't have been tasered," it's okay that he was, because he was less than polite. Or something. If he didn't deserve to be Tasered, then that's the end of it. Period.

The lack of outrage at such behavior, and the passivity displayed by both Kerry and the audience, along with those who seem to think such an overly-violent reaction is just fine --- to what appears to be a non-threatening situation --- is very troubling. What it says about our society today has been reminding me all day of the old "When They Came for Me..." poem.

The First Amendment doesn't include a Politeness Clause as far as I'm aware.