Friday, October 21, 2011

If YAF Claims They Were Threatened at OccupySTL,They Owe Us a Full Video

There's a post up at Big Government claiming that OccupySTL sent email and voicemail "threats" to the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) of Principia College after YAF visited the Occupy camp in Kiener Plaza this past Sunday. Obviously, threats are serious business and I hope the school and police investigate as thoroughly as possible and figure out if they can file charges in this case if indeed it is confirmed as a threat. However, it's important to note that anyone can send emails or leave voice messages, and so far (despite the screetching at Big Government), there is no real evidence that the messages came from someone at OccupySTL. And given that the right wing has been desparately trying to discredit the Occupy movement from the begining, and the Loesch's tea party in particular has a history of inventing stories of violence, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.

Anyway, just to review the timeline, a spokesperson for YAF was invited to call in to Dana Loesch's show last Thursday and announced they would be doing a protest of the Occupy group at Kiener Plaza. Other than that, there was virtually no promotion of the YAF action. Then, on Sunday, YAF (about 5 people, not all of whom were "young") went to the OccupySTL location with professional video equipment.

Rather than engaging in a "protest" where they held their signs for the public, YAF went to the center of Kiener Plaza and engaged in an argument with OccupySTL participants, filming the whole time. I was there at the beginning and it seemed like your average debate; not especially productive since both sides were to some extent talking past each other but certainly not overly agressive or confrontational. However, this is how it was described on Big Government:
Last Sunday a local chapter of YAF affiliated with Principia College organized a small and peaceful counter presence to the ongoing Occupy St. Louis demonstration at Keiner Plaza in downtown. According to the organizer, Mattson Wilcoxen, the group of mostly collegians and minors was met with violent language, intimidation, and death threats.
As noted above, this absolutely was not what I observed. I started recording but then quit because it was so uneventful; however, here's a good example of what the conversation was like:

The Occupy St. Louis Facebook page has a 10 minute clip of a discussion with one of the YAF members that shows the same thing.

Given that Big Government is quoting YAF as saying that they were threatened at the rally and that participants used "hostile language," and given we know they were recording the entire time, YAF has an obligation to provide full video of their encounter so that people can judge for themselves how each side was acting. This is the burden they impose on themselves by making the serious allegation that what looked like a normal debate was actually "hostile" and "threatening."

I should also note that the post at Big Government despicably tries to link the alleged threats to MORE, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. The right-wing conspiracies theories about the group are funny in the abstract, but when they start making direct accusations about specific people based on zero evidence, it enters into a very nasty place, especially considering the mental stability of some of Breitbart and Loesch's followers. They can hate on MORE's politics all they want, but making ridiculous, unfounded allegations of "death threats" crosses the line of decency.

YAF and Big Government should make public the full video from the event. That way, we can see just how seriously they actually take the allegations of "threats" and "violence" they routinely make.


  1. I was there. I heard most of this debate, and that's exactly what it was, a simple debate. Both sides were cordial. There was absolutely no "violent language" or "intimidation." Those assertions are ridiculous. I agree, provide the full video, boys.

  2. Here is what I don't understand, if a serious threat was received why wasn't the FBI immediately called in? I would think they would have more resources to track down the sender of the messages..

    As to the get together in Kiener Plaza, your right. Where is the entire video?

    oh, and by the way, directly from big gubermint on this issue...

    "When I was MUCH younger I was often confronted with liberal violence, it didn't work since I quickly learned that their violent streak ended at the end of their nose and a couple of good punches would would turn even the most violent ones quite peaceful. Not that I condone violence bur there is a group of liberals that just don't understand anything else, They quite often let their Lion's mouth get ahead of their Canary's ass. The only sure fire cure is to make very sure their mouth can't talk and their ass is on the ground. It's amazing how nice and peaceful and quiet a sleeping liberal becomes, even when he stops bleeding.t "

    "that's where you're wrong, fool. we've got guns and ammo and when the left comes to take our property they're gonna be in for a surprise. "

    "The irony cannot be lost on us that these people who hate individual freedom, including personal firearms ownership would be sending death threats to those who like, and most likely make use of their right to bear arms. "

  3. I was there too. It was a peaceful exchange.

  4. Missouri has been racist, sexist and divided since the beginning. Forget your individual issues and fight for peace and the advancement of humankind. Fight for science, technology and renewable energy.