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Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in Law, Politics | 0 comments

Congressman Assaults Student Activist

Big Government links to the video. And let’s be clear — this is assault and battery. The fact that Congressman Etheridge (D-NC) only struck at the camera is not relevant. Because the camera was being held by the student at the time, striking it is legally the same as striking the student. And certainly holding on to the student’s arm and locking an arm around the kid’s neck qualifies.

What a difference a party change makes. Two years ago, activists armed with video cameras ambushing Congressmen were lauded as heroes who were “speaking truth to power”. “Dissent is patriotic”, we were sagely informed, notwithstanding its often trivial and inane content. Any hint of criticism towards the activists was cited as evidence of impending repression trending towards an imminent police state.

Now, few can muster even a whimper of outrage when, instead of criticism, the Congressman actually strikes the student and seizes hold of him while the student repeatedly asks to be released. Most of the outlets who formerly trumpeted every hint of government arrogance and overreach are silent.

Congressman Etheridge should be arrested for assault and battery. Then he should resign or be expelled from the House. It’s that simple.

UPDATE: Congressman Etheridge has issued a statement apologizing for his assault on the unidentified student. The apology leaves unanswered two important questions: (1) would an apology be sufficient to excuse an assault by someone who was a everyday worker instead of a Congressman? (2) would such an apology be sufficient if Etheridge had been a member of the other political party?

I suspect the answer to (1) is an unambiguous “no” and the answer to (2) depends almost entirely on the party affiliation of the person answering.

I also suspect that Etheridge’s days in office will not extend past the next election.

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