Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum!”

Aaron Paschal’s Comment of the Day is on a topic that comes up here often, the distinction between having a right to do something, and claiming it is right to do it. It also is relevant to the weekend post about objections at my ethics seminar to my referring to Harvey Weinstein as an asshole. The student Aaron describes in his comment also earned that sobriquet, and it is descriptive, not uncivil, to employ it. (Aaron uses the lesser term “jackass,” which I view as inadequate under the circumstances.)

Here’s Aaron’s Comment of the Day from the recent “Open Forum!” (I’ll be back at the end):

My wife took my son to his college registration day yesterday. The parents were separated out from the kids, and so she sat her laptop down by a balcony outside the Starbucks at the student center.

While she sat there working, a young college – I’ll call him a guy – walked up to her, complimented her laptop, then proceeded to climb on top of her table to scale the balcony wall and reach the Starbucks. She protested “can I help you?!?” As he stood, to which he only responded “nah, you’re just in my way”

Shortly after this, he placed his order and stood at the balcony rail over her head, and struck up a conversation with a friend on his cell phone about anal sex and the delightful anal rape videos he had watched online recently. A nearby man shortly had enough of this, as he was visiting with his 3 year old and 7 year old children, who were also listening to the conversation.

Upon being confronted, the young college student exploded in indignation, affirming that he had first amendment rights to say what he wanted in public, and how the others were racist against him due to the fact that he was gay. When asked to calm down, he began chanting “free speech” and “you don’t have a problem with your president talking about PUSSY, do you?”

The police were called, the diatribe was videotaped. The young… jackass was asked to leave, but not reprimanded in any way. He left smug and confident in the his pride for standing up for himself against the people trying to oppress him. Campus police admitted they had had problems with the same fellow in the past, but their hands were tied.

Our son’s response upon hearing of the ordeal was to shrug and say ” he had first amendment rights to say what he wants.” My wife was fairly traumatized, in disbelief that she was so victimized by someone claiming to be a victim. She is unsure whether to post the video online, or file a police report, but is unsatisfied with the resolution so far. She says the worst part was how oblivious he was that he might be doing something wrong, and how eager he was to lash out at his “oppressors.” I’m not sure what to say to her, either.

Frightening. This is our up and coming society.

I’m back. The tell here is the Trump comment, which is both a rationalization and a terrible analogy. Trump’s vulgar comments in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape were not public, and thus this jerk’s deflection showed a deficit in logic as well as manners.

For what it’s worth, I’d post the video. His defiance justifies webshaming. This is not just one bad moment, it is someone who doesn’t know what unethical conduct is, and thus certain to make more people miserable until he learns some basic truths.

Wait…did he really say that because he was gay it was racist to confront him? The term racist is expanding so fast I can’t keep up with it!


18 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum!”

  1. I think what that student doesn’t understand is that while there are very extensive rights recognized by the United States, these rights also come with responsibility. Yes, you can yell fuck outside a playground. But you shouldn’t. It isn’t nice, and could be seen as being a public disturbance to boot. Personal responsibility is extremely important, especially in a country like America, with its extensive guarantees of personal liberties. And that’s what has me worried the most about where the Democrat Party seems to be going. All their policies seem to be driven to taking as much responsibility away from the individual as possible. What is wrong with people being able to succeed or fail on their own merit?

  2. Well, this is just the cost of living in a free society, I guess.

    Back in the 1970’s, we had something similar happen that I saw, except the idiot didn’t assert gayness, which wasn’t the badge of honor it is today. He just claimed he had the right to speak profanely in the presence of a guy and his girlfriend.

    He got a bloody nose along with his freedom of speech. The campus police came. Nobody was arrested. Both parties were warned about fighting on campus.

    Those were the days…

    • People are shocked to find that it really hasn’t changed all that much. I wouldn’t recommend trying it, but the consequence of bloodying someone’s nose is often nothing. If no weapon is used and no serious injury occurs, it usually doesn’t raise to the level of assault and is considered simple battery.
      DA’s often don’t want to take a case of prosecuting someone who does a limited physical response to someone being an asshole. They are dealing with an overload of far more serious cases to waste their time.

      • “I wouldn’t recommend trying it, but the consequence of bloodying someone’s nose is often nothing.”

        That may be true on the legal end of things with the police and the DA; however, that’s not likely true on the civil suit end of things. A lot of these social justice warriors are closely associated with organizations that have support with taxpayer dollars and they have ball busting ambulance chasing attorneys on retainer so some SJW snowflake can sue the pants off of those they get in direct conflict with and they will causing serious financial hardship. It’s legal and It’s using the legal system to achieve their ultimate goal of outright suppressing their opposition with fear of being sued.

        No matter how angry they make you, and they are definitely trying to make you angry enough to punch them, do not let them cause you to throw the first punch. Dish it out verbally if you feel you must, but they must be the one to throw the first punch.

        • And a lot of them are just idiots. That said, needle them back and they may be stupid or triggered enough to throw the first punch, then feel free to introduce the jerk’s head to the sidewalk or his mouth to the curb (a la American History X).

  3. “the young college student exploded in indignation, affirming that he had first amendment rights to say what he wanted in public, and how the others were racist against him due to the fact that he was gay. When asked to calm down, he began chanting “free speech”…

    This is signature significance. This young man is a disrespectful imbecile and needs to be taught a few life changing lessons. Maybe a trip behind the woodshed every time he disrespects those around him in this manner will eventually correct his problem.

    I really wonder what this young man’s parents are like.

  4. I don’t think it’s worth it to post the video. I think it violates the golden rule and despite the fact he is an “asshole” the fact that is gay is just going to garner him support and play to his confirmation bias. In the long run, it might blow back more on the poster of the video. This is the world we live in. Idk… perhaps I’m too cynical.

    • The key is whether one has a ethical duty to reveal his identity when posting such a video. Would anonymous upload be ethical? Would providing it to a journalist/blogger who posts the video and vouches for its authenticity, but keeps the identify of the contributor confidential be sufficient?

      • It looks like the video equivalent of doxing to me. I’d generally be opposed to doing it on that basis. I wouldn’t want anyone posting video of me without my permission, so unless the miscreant was willing to give his okay to post it, I consider it a Golden Rule violation.

        This is one big reason why I never intentionally take pictures or video of people. I want to respect their right to live their lives without being exposed to all and sundry, especially in a case like this where there were no laws broken or even threatened, just some harsh language.

  5. As someone who works in higher education, the best thing to do is to talk to someone high up in student affairs at the school. If it’s not a large state school, include the school president as well. Send them the video and let them know it has impacted your decision to send your child to school there. Then suggest maybe the local media needs to see it as well. This will get attention.

    I’ve said it before, but higher ed is now just a business trying to please customers. This student is a customer, so is given latitude. But if the right people are made aware that he’s driving away future customers, it becomes more serious.

  6. Appreciate the nod, Jack, although I wish it were less appalling. She elected, perhaps wisely, to let the situation go. His behavior didn’t bother her as much as the realization that his addled brain existed somewhere with a completely different set of rules. Where being the ‘victim’ meant an automatic win, claiming to be oppressed shut everyone down in their tracks, and shouts of racism (no matter how mistakenly applied!) have the power to tie even the polices’ hands. It is a frightening, upside down narcissism that gets scarier when you notice we’re starting to elect people with the same martyrdom powertrip.

    However, your apt selection of the Pinocchio clip made me laugh! Your skill at matching the leading photo/clip to the post is one I routinely appreciate. Keep up the good fight!

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