Your First Amendment Rights Don't Trump Others
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Politics and Activism

Your First Amendment Rights Don't Trump Others

...or else there's no room for a healthy debate.

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Your First Amendment Rights Don't Trump Others
Southern Poverty Law Center

Charles Murray is a libertarian conservative political analyst and author. He's most known for his book, "Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980," in which he put great detail into the American welfare system.

On March 2nd, he was asked to speak in front of an audience at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont; like he had done numerous times before.

As he walked into the full lecture hall, he was met with a very different scenario.

Protestors lined every corner of the room, waving posters and chanting hate like, "hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy has to go." Murray recounts the rage and intensity painted on the faces of these undergrads, like they were just involved in a rowdy riot and he was clearly some type of evil.

Murray said all he could do was stand at the podium, but not say a word, and just hope the student's animosity would pass.

It wasn't until 20 minutes later that the school's president took control of the situation by making an announcement into the microphone that it was only fair to the students who were genuinely interested in hearing what Murray had to say, to still get their chance.

Murray and those few students were then relocated to a studio room down the hall, but the distractions didn't end there. The student's continued their chants outside of this room, and the yelling was being picked up through Murray's speaker. Although he felt uncomfortable in this moment, Murray still got the ok from the technician that his voice was not being drowned out by the protestor's.

So, Murray continued with an abbreviated version of his planned lecture, but it wasn't long till the rioters had set off the fire alarms, resulting in an end to this guest speaker event and a defeated Murray.

Murray had to be escorted out of the building by security and two faculty members because the crowd was too extreme. Through all the pushing and shoving it was then that one of the faculty members holding onto one of Murray's arms, had gotten her hair pulled by a student protestor.

And this is where I end my synopsis of the situation and ask my audience to think. Look back and think that all of this chaos came about because of the appearance of a simple guest speaker on a college campus who had no intention of harm.

It's despicable how these student protestor's opinions completely override Murray's and those few followers who showed up to hear him.

I thought this was America, the land where everyone in every situation has the freedom to speak.

I know this can be a complicated instance because some will say that these protestor's were exercising their first amendment and there's nothing wrong with that; but there is when someone is treated so poorly because of it.

Your first amendment rights do not trump others. It is not right to completely tear into someone for expressing their opinions because you don't agree with them, especially when they don't even take the time to hear the side they're negating.

The president of Middlebury released a statement saying that the school will be looking into the acts each student who attended the protest engaged in, and if need be, consequences will be put into place for those particular rioters, especially those who engaged in the physical abuse felt by a faculty member.

This is a great lesson for America to realize that a calm and civil conversation or debate can not come without appropriately hearing both parties.


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