Tuesday, June 03, 2008


In a letter to the Boulder Daily Gamera, concerned American citizen Benjamin Whitmer pushes the Churchillian interpretations of "self-defense" and "fundamental human rights" to defend Glenn Spagnuolo and Recrea!te68:
The controversy seems to stem from Re-create 68's refusal to disallow the right to self-defense to its members. Re-create 68's explanation of this refusal is clear. There will be people protesting with Re-create 68 arm-in-arm with their children and elders. In large part, these will be representatives of communities which have most suffered from the never-ending betrayal of the Democrats. To attempt to deny them the right to defend themselves is to deny a fundamental human right.

The refusal to allow anyone, including the state, to abrogate one's rights is not anti-Americanism; it's bedrock American principle, which should be shared by all people of good conscience, no matter their political bent. Those who condemn Mr. Spagnuolo and Re-create 68 for standing behind their inalienable rights are doing so because they're either historically illiterate, or pandering to push their own agenda. As no less a pacifist than Martin Luther King Jr. has pointed out, the principle of self-defense "has never been condemned, even by Gandhi."
God. Benjie elaborates in comments:
The members of Re-create 68 have every right to exercise their First Amendment rights with or without consent from the city of Denver or the police. The permits are irrelevant. Given the oaths they’ve taken, if the police attack people for exercising their Constitutional rights, they’re doing so in violation of the Constitution. At that point they’re acting no differently from any other band of thugs and criminals.
And then, of course, all bets are off. Read the other comments. Great band name: Glenster and the Droogs.

Update: Noticed in that old post R68's link to trash-anarchist group Crimethinc's rationalization for protest violence. It's worth quoting again here (the document's still linked at the !R68 website--pdf):
To say that it is violent to destroy the machinery of a slaughterhouse or to break windows belonging to the party that promotes war is to prioritize property over human or animal life. This objection subtly validates violence against living creatures by focusing all attenition [sic] on property rights and away from more fundamental issues.
More DNC: Slapstick Politics notes an incident which one hopes isn't an ominous sign for those planning to brave the DNC with mike and camera:

Heading out to take some video or snap a few photos around Denver and don't have press credentials? You may want to think again:

Normally, shooting a few seconds of video along Interstate 25 for a gas price story would be a typical day in the duties of a news crew.

But Monday, two 7NEWS staffers saw firsthand what security concerns can be like now, with the Democratic National Convention less than 100 days away.

"I think the deputy, whoever it was, did what she had to do," said Deputy Cocha Heyden with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

The incident took place at the Castle Pines exit on Monday.

The deputy asked who the two men were and what they were doing.

They answered that it was a gas price story for the news.

She wanted identification and later called the newsroom to confirm the men were legitimate.

"That's very suspicious. Why is someone out there filming something?" Heyden said.

No one was threatened or arrested and the whole matter lasted only seconds.

Hmmm. EP worries:
[C]ontacting anyone who is using a camera outdoors anywhere in the city to verify their identity and ascertain their reason for being there? Sounds a little too "Big Brother" for this blogger, but also completely unenforceable. Anyone familiar with recent protests knows that over half of the crowd usually carries a recording device of some sort, often with the result that police observers and protestors end up videotaping each other videotaping the other side. Everyone else with a camera snaps photos, and with the near ubiquity of cell phone cameras, close to the entire crowd will snap a picture at some point or another. Will we all be stopped and asked why we are filming?
That would be awkward.

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