Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quickies: The New Censorship

     Technically – i.e., according to the formal definition – censorship requires that the political authority be involved, specifically to punish unapproved speech with the force of the State. Therefore, technically the First Amendment to the Constitution forbids censorship, as it forbids the making of laws that would allow American governments to penalize speech.

     Well, that’s the theory, at least:

     A Breitbart meetup in Arizona ended with a restaurant cutting off the microphone before a police helicopter strangely descended upon the gathering ordering attendees to disperse.

     In an effort to provide offline fellowship to a community of passionately engaged readers, Breitbart News recently introduced Breitbart local “Meet Ups.” The second event, held in Phoenix on Wednesday night, featured Breitbart’s Brandon Darby discussing border issues and AWR Hawkins discussing gun rights. Between 150-200 people flooded the patio on a cool night at K O’Donnell’s to discuss matters of liberty and network with other like-minded conservatives....

     Just as [Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon] Darby finished his remarks and opened the stage for Q&A, the microphone was suddenly cut off and the audio of the Mets/Cubs game began to blare over the PA system. The attendees began to realize that instead of a technical issue, the management at K O’Donnell’s had purposefully cut off the microphone. Once again, PC culture was trying to silence a peaceful group of people concerned about the direction of the country.

     No longer welcome, the large Breitbart crowd began paying their bills and congregating just outside the establishment. Before most of the crowd could conclude their business with the venue, both Phoenix and Scottsdale police departments arrived on the scene and a police helicopter began circling overhead shining a spotlight on the crowd. A PA system on the chopper began to demand that the crowd disperse.

     What brought this about? According to an attendee:

     The event started out fine. After things got going, apparently one of the non Breitbart customers got offended over the content of the program and complained to the management. The manager claimed they were attacked and threatened by someone in our group, so they called the police claiming 200 unruly patrons.

     There you have it: Persons in the restaurant who didn’t like hearing conservatives talk about gun rights and illegal immigration succeeded in getting the event shut down by the police, with the collaboration of the restaurant’s manager. Not only did this offend against the freedom of speech and the right to assemble, it deprived the restaurant of the revenues it would have accrued had the event been permitted to continue.

     The significance of this event will not be lost on conservatives, would-be censors, or restaurant owners. Perhaps the owners of K O’Donnell should think about getting a new manager.

1 comment:

Reg T said...

It also sounds as if this group got "SWATed" - the cops could have responded to an "unruly crowd" with tear gas and shields, prepared (and even eager, perhaps?) to ruse riot control procedures. Charges should have been made against the restaurant for filing a false report. Don't know about Phoenix, but in California it was a felony, the last time I worked there in law enforcement.