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Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Okay, I said before that if the hecklers were in a private venue, they had no right to disrupt it with there speech.

But if their actions were non-violent, only authorized personel (poice or security guards) have a right to remove them or interfere with them.

A physical attack upon such people by a bystander or ordinary citizen is a violation of their rights. It is a simple assault and battery. A person can make a citizen's arrest but still lacks the authority to detain.

To restrain by violence, a citizen has no right to do unless it is preventing further violence or atempted violence.

Franken was way out of line and out of control. Don't the liberals always tell us that people are more important than laws and rules and property? Franken decided that undoubtedly rude people have no rights at all.

Well, in fact, rude people do. I have no right to kill a man for an insult. Franken has no right to attack a man for rudeness.

Clearly Fanken is a guy who's always looking for a fight these days because his self-loathing and rage is so high. He simply looks for excuses to act out like his tying to bait Rich Lowry in a fight.

Mark, Franken certainly has a history of outrageous behavior, but whether he was out of control in this situation seems to depend entirely on which version of events you choose to believe. So far I count at least 3 different versions that have been told. In some of them Franken actually claims to have been "deputized" by Dean's people. (Which would be very odd if true.)

At this point, I simply don't know what to believe.

Let's just say that when Franken speaks, confusion reigns.

Franken has a longer account from the theater manager up on an Al Franken news site which I will post below. Read carefully and you will see some inconsistencies in the story.

1) In the initial news account Ramsey says he was TOLD by a news photographer that Franken got elbowed. In this account when asked to amplify he claims HE SAW IT HIMSELF.

2) Ramsey alleges that Franken was standing on a balcony 5 feet above the floor of the theater. Yet in this account we are told he got elbowed by the protester -

Just how tall was this protester? I know Franken isn't that tall, but surely his glasses would be at least 10 feet off the arena floor if he were just standing there minding his own business when he got elbowed. This heckler would have to be mighty tall or an incredible leaper to get his elbows that high.

3) 40 news crews present and NOBODY got the incident on video? Again seems odd... Interview: Getting the Full Story

Peter Ramsey is President, CEO and manager of The Palace Theater in Manchester, NH. Founded in 1915, The Palace has hosted hundreds of events from plays, to musical concerts, to political events of all ideologies. Mr. Ramsey was kind enough to talk with to give a fuller picture as to what happened in New Hampshire.
Thanks for the interview, Peter. Can you set up the situation for me at the Dean rally?

Well, there were about 40 TV cameras, and also the national press. Howard Dean had already spoken for 25 minutes and two microphones from Dean volunteers were in the aisles taking questions. He took about five questions with no problem, and then all of a sudden this young guy jumped up and started screaming. He would not be quiet and Dean said 'I'll get to your question, can you wait?' and he wouldn't stop. He was calling Dean names, that he was a fascist, a crook, very personal attacks. So two Dean staff members went over to him and asked him to be quiet, and he wouldn't be quiet, he was screaming outrageously.

It's a small theater, 900 seats, so they started to get him out. He was about three seats in, and they got him to the aisle way and at the same time, the whole crowd is yelling, 'Dean! Dean! Dean!' and Howard Dean is not saying anything. So they got to the aisle, and they were about 15 feet from the back row, where all the press was, and Franken was standing on the balcony, at the back of the theater on the balcony rail, which is about 5 feet high.

As he got to the back, the guy started flicking his arms and hit Franken. I saw that happen. He hit two or three others, he was pushing people and he pushed probably six people and with his elbows he probably hit two or three, and Franken pushed him out the door with probably four or five other men. The guy was fighting the whole way. As this happened, another guy jumped up – obviously a friend – and started screaming and pushing and shoving. Franken went to the second one along with two or three other men, and the first ran up to the balcony, and I followed the first one and he jumped up on the balcony rail and I told him I was going to have him arrested. And then he stopped and I took him out the sidedoor. I was told later by some press guys that Franken and two or three other security guys actually had to push the second one out the fire escape. So that was it. It was very simple. Honestly, as I saw it, Al Franken reacted to being struck pretty violently.

Additionally, you told the Union-Leader that a news photographer had told you Franken had been struck.

Yeah, again there were about 40 news crews in the back, along with Franken, and George Stephanopoulos was there and Peter Jennings was there and the whole crew was there. I saw the guy strike Franken and I saw Franken help push the guy to the side. The guy was totally out of control, and what made me mad afterwards was when they got to the alley the two guys high-fived. The guy upstairs stopped when he realized there were no cameras out there.

The emails that I've been getting, and the way that some people are talking about this story, is that this was a peaceful demonstration, and that Al Franken suppressed a heckler's freedom of speech.

No, no. This guy should have been arrested. He pushed me and no one from the Dean campaign handled him improperly until he started flicking his arms around and pushing. You have to remember that the Dean people did not go to him until it was clear he was not going to be quiet. To make this absolutely clear, and I saw it happen, and I'm president of the Palace Theater, which means I'm the manager: Al Franken did nothing wrong, in fact he helped.

You described Al as a hero in the Union Leader. Can you expand on that?

Oh, because he had the courage to respond to somebody who was disrupting a public event. In America, we respect one another's opinions and even though we may not agree with you, I respect you and give you the option to speak. Clearly, this guy was not going to be quiet and afterwards it was proven to me that he and this other guy were planning to do this, they were waiting for the opportune moment and they were there to disrupt the event. I was told later, this is hearsay, that they were Lyndon LaRouche supporters and if you know anything about New Hampshire, every four years Lyndon LaRouche shows up with ten or twelve brainwashed supporters and all they do is cause is problems. And all different candidates, not just Howard Dean.

Did you have previous experiences with Al?

No, that's not true, I had never met him, I had met Peter Jennings and all the candidates personally and you have to remember, the Palace Theater had all the candidates in here in two weeks. We had rallies for General Clark with a thousand people, we had Howard Dean with a thousand people, we had John Kerry and John Edwards and not one rally was disrupted like this. It was clearly planned. Al Franken had the courage to stand up to this guy after he was struck illegally. No, Al Franken did nothing wrong.

Some people are claiming that it was Al who was the aggressor and should be booked for assault. What do you make of that?

That's absurd. If I talked to him today, I'd thank him for helping.

I'm the president of the Palace Theater trust, which is a public venue in Manchester, and we have 900 seats, and it became clear to me that we had a disruptive patron, and I went over to the patron to be quiet or I'll have him arrested and all of a sudden he started pushing and shoving, and in the midst of that he hit someone who reacted back. And frankly, I had to warn the guy ten times.

That's interesting Jerry. I must say that I don't see any way to square this version with Russert's.

However, i would ask that in the future you only post excerpts of stories from other sites, rather than the whole story.

Fair use and all that.

Fair enough. My apologies. If I post anything else of a similar nature I'll just put up the link to it.

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