Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yes, this is America

So I can’t even remember the last time I disagreed with my friends at the Springfield Republican, but today they kind of blew it with an editorial on Ray Luc Levasseur’s censored Umass appearance.

On the one hand they “were ready to defend his right to speak at UMass. This is America, after all.” But on the other hand they’re “glad that Levasseur, a convicted terrorist, won’t be able to lead a three-ring circus that would mock freedom of speech.”

Say what? How is simply exercising your American right (yes even someone on Parole has rights) under the First Amendment making a mockery of free speech? And who is responsible for the “three-ring circus”?

The Boston Herald and conservative talk radio whipped up the masses in a classic yellow journalism campaign that would have made William Randolph Hearst proud.

I do not condone violence to achieve change (and apparently neither does Lavasseur anymore); as President Lincoln so succinctly stated: “The ballot is stronger than the bullet”. As flight 93 headed towards Washington DC on a suicide mission the passengers took a vote before attempting to retake the plane.

To advocate freedom of speech but applaud its denial strikes me as hypocritical.
This from The Boston Globe:
Not everyone who suffered in the Freedom Front’s wake agrees with stifling Levasseur’s voice. Edmund Narine, who lost a leg in the 1976 courthouse bombing, said despite a desire to protest a Levasseur appearance, free speech trumps his anger.
Levasseur “should be prosecuted again, and if I have to return and testify again, I would,’’ he said yesterday in a phone interview from Kampala, Uganda, where he is visiting family. “At the same time if he wants to talk about it, and I don’t know what he’s going to tell the kids, but I think he should be given the opportunity to speak.’’
“I think the public can learn from someone who’s carried out these sorts of heinous acts,’’ said Narine, 72, who is a writer in Mission Hill. “It’s important for us to hear why they did it, what motivated them. . . . It’s good for all of us to hear that, especially professionals, because it might help them to take preventive action in the future.’’
Levasseur said he was humbled by Narine’s support.
“I think that’s a tremendous thing for him to do. And I appreciate it given what he’s been through,’’ said Levasseur, noting that he never intended to hurt innocent civilians.
The Springfield Republican Speaks

Worcester Telegram & Gazette Columnist gets it right

UMass President Jack Wilson (before the Body Snatchers got him)

Even the Umass Daily Collegian gets it!


Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, did you add Lavasseur as a friend in your facebook account?

Anonymous said...

Lavasseur can talk on any street corner he wants. (I hope it's in Maine and not in Amherst.)

He has no right to speak in a state institution at our expense. There's a difference between freedom and obligation to underwrite.

Anyone interested in what he has to say can read his writings.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you the guy who advocated for a private 7/4 parade in Amherst so that the Nazi and other undesirable groups could be excluded?

You might want to explain the contradiction or everyone will think you're a hypocrite.

LarryK4 said...

Yes I did (and it worked: the KKK did not march).

If this event had originally been scheduled at Amherst College by some students or the Sociology Department and then Tony Marx or the Trustees canceled it, I would not say boo.

Because they are a private institution.

Anonymous said...

Good answer Kelley, good answer.


LarryK4 said...

Well certainly the US Supreme Court thinks so, as they voted 9-0 that a private entity can control a message any way they damn well please.

My laptop never recovered (as I slammed the screen down to close it for a hasty exit) from that Select Board meeting where the Town Mangler announced he was not going to issue a Parade permit to the July 4 group who had done it for the past seven years and was in fact going to have the town "take over".

Once the local ACLU got involved, he surrendered faster than the French Army.

S.P. Sullivan said...

The Collegian editorial board thanks you for the compliment, Larry, underhanded as it may be.

To clarify, though, we're The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. If we were the UMass Daily Collegian we'd get your tax dollars and wouldn't have to work so hard to make a profit.

LarryK4 said...

Come on now, "backhanded" is the correct term.

But I thought you got a no-interest loan from the SGA (well, not you personally)?

Oh well, although now a Umass Student (or maybe I should say University of Massachusetts @ Amherst) for the first time in 25 years, I do not read you all the closely.

Still, no excuse for the citation error. Like I hint to my Journalism Prof: "I'll try to do better."

Really, I will.

Anonymous said...

...waiting for Ed to chime in and confirm/confuse anything UMass related.

LarryK4 said...

He already did over at The Massachusetts Daily Collegian website editorial.

Damn, I can't believe he reads them more closely than me (or is it I?)

Anonymous said...

"My laptop never recovered (as I slammed the screen down to close it for a hasty exit)"

Once again, you brought it upon yourself.

LarryK4 said...

Well, it was better than me taking out the Town Mangler, now wasn't it?

Some things are worth fighting for. The First Amendment is high on my list.

Not that Cowardly, Anon, Nitwits can appreciate that.

Couves said...

“I do not condone violence to achieve change (and apparently neither does Lavasseur anymore).”

Then why won’t Lavasseur denounce his own violent acts? He won’t. He does say that his writings of today are more effective than his violence of yesterday, but he won’t distance himself from what he did at all. I think he said that he did it out of “the goodness of my heart”. He was interviewed last night - listen for yourself:

LarryK4 said...

Then why did the guy who lost his leg to a Courthouse bomb associated with Lavasseur tell the Boston Globe (who can still do original reporting and called him up) that he should be allowed to speak, because the First Amendment trumps the petty right wing calls for retribution?

LarryK4 said...

And for all you know, if Lavasseur HAD BEEN ALLOWED TO SPEAK TONIGHT he would "denounce his own violent acts" (since the whole world would have been watching)

But we will never freaken know now will we?

S.P. Sullivan said...

Haha, backhanded is what I meant. We're even.

Anonymous said...

So have you invited Levasseur to your gym to speak? No? Then by your logic you are CENSORING him and thus are a bad person. Bad Larry!

Failure to provide someone with a megaphone isn't silencing them. Levasseur can call a press conference or stand on a streetcorner with a bullhorn whenever he likes. He does NOT have a RIGHT to speak at UMass, any more than he has a RIGHT to speak at your gym.

LarryK4 said...

Actually you Cowardly, Anon, Nitwit as of this very moment (forever time/date stamped by Google) I DO INVITE HIM TO SPEAK at my gym.

And once again (since obviously you are not paying attention): The difference is my gym or Amherst College is a private setting so we can do anything we damn well please.

Umass is a public institution. And for WHATEVER reason somebody at UMass issued the invite, and then GOVERNMENT stepped in to rescind it.

THAT IS CENSORSHIP! Clear and simple.

Couves said...

Lavasseur planned nothing of the sort - he made that clear in the interview. And if he had apologized at any of his previous college appearances, I bet we’d know about it. The interviewer gave him several opportunities to repudiate his past violence - he made it real easy for him, but Lavasseur was totally fine with his past.

You know, you really don’t need to make excuses for this terrorist if you’re just supporting his freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

"You know, you really don’t need to make excuses for this terrorist if you’re just supporting his freedom of speech."

Bingo. Larry seems to be getting a little too wrapped up in this guy.

Don't worry Larry, no 69 year old loser anarchic terrorist killer got anything on you old man.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the violence was justified. I found that scary.

LarryK4 said...

Why is that scary?

The Nitwits who flew commercial jets into the Twin Towers thought the violence was justified.

Wake up. It's a new world order. Knowledge is power. Figure out what makes them tick, so you can stop their freaken clock!

Anonymous said...

UMASS as a public institution has no obligation to host every speaker.

This is not a First Amendment Case.

You are still a hypocrite for taking measures to exclude neo-Nazis and then criticizing UMASS for choosing, within their rights, to tell Lavasseur to get bent.

LarryK4 said...

Umass--specifically the Library Special Collections Department (where my personal papers are on display)--asked him to speak.

He accepted. He even cleared it with his parole person. Then the shit hit the fan, and his invite was revoked under GOVERNMENT pressure.


Anonymous said...

"Then the shit hit the fan, and his invite was revoked under GOVERNMENT pressure."

What agents of government made a law that prohibited him from speaking? Not one. He was disinvited.

UMass has no obligation to invite and no prohibition against disinviting.

This is not a First amendment case.

It is anti-academic but it is not a First Amendment violation nor is it a First Amendment violation to run a private parade and invite or disinvite who you choose, which is what you did (HYPOCRITE.)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

LarryK4 said...

I believe Parole Officers are illustrious agents of our illustrious government.

Anonymous said...

Larry Kelley hypocrite MASTER?