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Jumping To Conclusions: Alaska State Fair Video Controversy Ignores Important Details
On August 26, the following video was posted on YouTube:
Entitled "LaRouche Supporter Assaulted by Alaska State Fair Security," the video and subsequent analysis ignore several key facts. On Breitbart.TV, the video carried this description:
As odious as some political messages are, one doubts the founding fathers' vision of free speech and assembly is exemplified by the actions of the private security guards in this video. The first three minutes show the attempts that were made to peacefully expel the man with the sign showing President Obama with a Hitler mustache.
Comments generally decried the Security Officers' actions:
The cop should be fired and the security and state police should be sued. The people should have intervened. Notice the trooper got the hell out of there after he thought about his actions.
Yea, and whats with that stupid cop? He does need to be fired. What a mess.
Phk these security guards! This is unacceptable! I cannot believe this happened to a U.S. citizen! I hope he sues the HELL out of the security company! Everyone's a Monday morning quarterback. But, if I were there, I would have taken his sign and found 40 other men to hold it with me just to defy those bastards. You don't do this to Americans.
I seem to recall many signs depicting Bush as Hiltler; why were none of those protesters arrested? The reason is that the first amendmendment is only a right for the left wing.
With regards to the last comment, the author is clearly not up to speed on political organizations. LarouchePAC is a far-left outlet that falls into the camp of "Obama isn't going far enough." Case in point, their stance on health care:
Where does the standard for Universal American Healthcare come from? Franklin Roosevelt's Hill-Burton standard. The current "health reform" proposal of President Barack Obama comes no where close to the breakthrough healthcare policy that Roosevelt established in the 1940's, ....
If this were public property with "public access," as the man in the video repeatedly shouts, then perhaps he would have a case. It's not, so he doesn't. The Alaska State Fair, despite having a public-sounding name, is managed by Alaska State Fair, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation. A significant part of its funding comes from private sponsors, who are given advertising space and booths. That's why the "advertising clause" in the video is so important. As LarouchePAC is not a sponsor of this private, admission-controlled event, they do not have the right to advertise on the premises. Intentionally or not, the man in the video is in violation of the Fair's conduct policy. Instead of listening to the security officers, he becomes belligerent and shouts at them.
Not only is the event organized by a private company, it takes place on private property. As stated by Alaska State Fair, Inc.:
Because the fairgrounds is on private property, we reserve the right to remove someone from the premises who is creating a disruption or may pose a threat to the safety of others.
Our Constitution does afford citizens the right to free speech. But freedom of speech is not freedom to violate the property rights of others as this man was doing. By his logic, I should be able to put campaign signs on anyone's lawn without obtaining the property owner's consent. In the real world, I could be arrested for doing so.
Finally, requiring tickets for entry is the antithesis of "public access." At this point, the Larouche supporters last chance hope for a legal argument crumbles. By purchasing a ticket, and entering the fairgrounds, he has consented to the policies of the property owner. Those policies include a ban on unpaid advertising. If LarouchePAC wants a presence at the Alaska State Fair, then they need to purchase a booth like all the other sponsors.
It's easy to jump to conclusions and bash the security officers and state trooper. In reality, they asked nicely first; they checked with their superiors; and ultimately, they did their job by enforcing the Fair's policy. When the Larouche supporter became violent instead of leaving peacefully, he became guilty of trespassing. As such, the security officers were within their legal authority to restrain him as they waited for police to arrive and complete his arrest.