by Lanny Carruthers:
What do the statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Richard Spencer’s speech at Auburn University, the expelled student from the University of Alabama and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe have in common? Let’s examine that commonality.
Without a tangible act of racism, racism becomes a purely emotional feeling. The fact that someone’s emotional feeling leads them to believe “something” is racist and that “something” leads to a feeling of difference in capability or superiority of a race doesn’t define that “something” as racist. It actually exposes a person’s lack of self-confidence that they are an equal in status, race and capability. In no way am I trying to say that an emotional feeling doesn’t hurt a person psychologically.
In the case of the University of Alabama student that just got expelled, the university is facing possible legal exposure for violating the free speech rights of its former student. Sure her comments were horrible, no question. But without a tangible act that someone (i.e., the University of Alabama) can prove that she committed discrimination against a person, her comments constitute free speech, no matter whether you and I agree that they were horrible. Her comments did not advocate violence or bodily harm toward anyone. The university has a law school full of attorneys, and I fear the university will need them. What’s going to be interesting to see is whether a UA law school grad represents the university and a UA law school grad/trial lawyer represents the girl suing the university.
For that reason Richard Spencer was allowed to speak at Auburn following a federal judge’s ruling mentioned in the Washington Post that prohibited Auburn from canceling his speech.
Police were quoted in the student paper, “Based on an assessment of possible civil unrest and criminal activity during a requested event, it is the opinion of the Auburn Police Division that allowing Mr. Richard Spencer to proceed with his appearance at Foy Hall on April 22, would pose a real threat to public safety.”
Cameron Padgett, identified in court documents as an Atlanta-area resident, paid $700 to rent the 400-seat Foy Auditorium at Auburn for Spencer to speak. Padgett sued Auburn, which as a public institution must adhere to the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees. The lawsuit stated: “Various minority advocacy groups of Jews, blacks and immigrants and left-wing/liberal groups demanded that no forum be afforded for the expression of views that contradict their own and which they find unhelpful for their identity group agendas and political agendas.”
Spencer previously advocated for an all-white country, in a 2013 speech, “We need an ethno-state, so that our people can ‘come home again,’ can live amongst family and feel safe and secure.”
U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in Montgomery, Alabama, barred Auburn from blocking Spencer, stating there was no evidence that he advocates violence. “Discrimination on the basis of message content cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment,” he wrote in the ruling.
The inanimate statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, has stood since its dedication in 1924 peacefully without murdering, maiming or lynching anyone for the last 94 years. The inanimate statue of Lt. Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis, Tennessee, installed in 1998, has stood since its installation peacefully without murdering, maiming or lynching anyone for the past 20 years.
The statues should be afforded protection just as the free speech right(s) of those who worked to fund, build and erect the statues in the first place, to honor these two war heroes as Judge Watkins ruled in the Auburn Speech Event of Richard Spencer. Nowhere in historical descriptions of the dedication of the statues, writings, inscribements upon or otherwise is violence found to be expressed or implied. I hate to draw the conclusion between the statues and Spencer, but the legal precedent requires such conclusion for the sake of the monuments and the honoring of the two men in particular. Of concern is the Tennessee state law prohibiting the reference of Forrest’s statue and grave site.
And to think the Governor of Virginia directly threatened to assault and/or punch the President of the United States so that “you’d have to pick him up off the floor,” and has not been charged at the time of this article. Federal law according to 18 U.S. Code § 871 – Threats against President and successors to the Presidency, states the following: ‘(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Message to Attorney General Jeff Seesions: Please print this off as your justification to issue an arrest warrant for Terrance Richard McAuliffe. Subject known to be the former Governor of Virginia, white male, approximately 60 years of age who recently resided in or near the City of Richmond, Virginia. Also attached below is video evidence expressing the willful threat against President Donald J. Trump and the intent to inflict bodily harm to the President of the United States according to 18 U.S. Code § 871. Because free speech may protect speech or views we do not like, it does not protect one from professing violence and/or bodily harm. Especially if it’s against the President of the United States.