Did BPD go too far putting the racists in a cone of silence?

Dan Kennedy acknowledges the cops had a tough job on the Common, but wonders if they might have taken some liberties with the 1st Amendment, by, for example, banning the press from the bandstand:

Let’s not kid ourselves. There was real potential for violence far beyond the skirmishes that actually took place. The Boston Police did a good job of protecting public safety. But free speech took a back seat on Saturday, and I imagine we’re going to be hearing more about that in the days to come.



Free tagging: 


How much did it cost the

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How much did it cost the residents of Boston to pay for a handful of Nazis to speak on Boston Conmon? How about we send the bill to the Nazis and
their supporters.

Translation: how much did it

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Translation: how much did it cost the City of Boston to protect a group, however disgusting their message was, exercising their 1st amendment right from a group trying to stop that right because they don't like the message?

Hey, here's a Nazi...

OK, a problem...he's wearing a MAGA hat (or was...) and a flag. Um, not a nazi flag exactly. So, to equate MAGA hats with nazi-ism is a stretch and total bullshit. Jes' sayin'.
Well, is he a Jew or a nazi? Really can't be both, unless you're Soros...maybe he's just a kid that thinks the Constitution really works?

Ok, your personal attacks... sorry, no good. Attack the argument, not me personally, OK? Try to keep it civil, know nothings/everythings...



No snarky comment directed at me personally? You're slipping...

Repeat after me

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"I am not the center of the universe. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the center of the universe."

Not as much

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As the peace demonstrators that were arrested for throwing rocks and bottles at our fine BPD.
Oh and resisting arrest.

Free speech

If you label something "hate speech" people feel justified in shutting it down. Free speech includes speech you don't like,that's the whole point.

I am going to record a keyboard macro

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that just typed out "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences." If you announce your intention to show up and say shitty things about people, you should expect pushback. Meanwhile, I found myself standing in a crowd of probably a thousand people near the exit where they came out in paddy wagons, and was a little worried by the crowd shouting "make them walk!" I can say with 100% certainty that if the counterprotesters had gotten close to the protesters, violence would have ensued. I'm not thrilled with BPD's conduct yesterday, but cordoning off the racists so they were out of range of the angrily-thrown bottle was the smartest thing they did.


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freedom of speech does mean that you can say what you think, even if others disagree, without being worried about being harmed for doing so. It does mean freedom from consequences. The whole point of free speech is that those who don't agree with the majority are still able to make their voices heard. Something the left doesn't allow.

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.

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That's the (relevant portion of) the First Amendment: Congress (and by extension state and local governments) can't ban free speech. That's it, the limit of protection of free speech in America. There's no ban on consequences imposed by non-governmental bodies.

Yes there is a ban on certain consequences.

"There's no ban on consequences imposed by non-governmental bodies."

You can't punch someone in the face if you don't like what they are saying.

If your employer fires you because he or she doesn't like what you say, that's a consequence which can't be banned.


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It's very possible I'm missing the point, but IMO the difference is that you can't legally punch someone in the face, and you are subject to arrest and prosecution. But it's not a requirement of the government to protect you as a preventative measure, if there's a risk that could happen.


Yes the police are required to protect and serve the citizenry from violence, if they stand by and watch a mob attack someone who is speaking we would have anarchy.

I agree. The left has suddenly gotten kinda funny on this issue.

Friendly reminder: assault and battery is still illegal. "Sticks and stones", etc. The main crisis of our nation right now is that an incompetent, amoral, rich weasel bigot was "elected" by a minority of troubled, frightened, ignorant and bigoted voters. But this crisis does not require an abandonment of our centuries-long commitment to free speech as a solution. Wrong solution to the wrong crisis.

Please tell me about free speech

"Thanks for the picture
By anon² on Sat, 08/19/2017 - 3:24pm
It'll make ID'ing these fuck easier.
Freedom of speech is freedom from government. Not freedom from consequences you stupid shithead.

The main crisis now is that a million people in Massachusetts are 'racists' and 'Nazis' because they voted for Trump.

Yet, you threaten to doxx people...sure, OK, do it...and what of the consequences? Hell, there were vague threats on here about 'now we know how you think'...Hey, watch your head, Robspierre...lest the lefties turn on you. (This is not aimed at you specifically, it's aimed at the whole self-righteous UH crowd)...

What color is the sky in your world, Patricia?

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You can't just walk around saying whatever you like and expect no consequences. Sheesh, kids learn this early.

Old ladies will scold you. Angry younger people will punch you. That's the way it works.

I'm a straight white guy so hate speech isn't really directed at me but I'd have no qualms punching one of those Nazis or Klansmen right in the nose.
Seems like the proper response.

If I were in a group targeted by them? Hold me back.

And that is childish.

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And that is childish. Punching will solve nothing. I learned that on the streets by the time I was 18.

Punching does solve problems sometimes

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I try not to but I make exceptions. Came out to my car at night a few years ago and there was a drunk/junkie passed out in the passenger seat with my rifled belongings everywhere. I didn't even punch him for that. Tried to drag him out and he started licking and spitting and trying to bite me.
Two punches to the head solved that problem.

Entertain an alternate narrative where decent everyday Germans started punching and violently opposing nascent Nazis back in the 30's. Make you think.

It doesn't mean freedom from

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It doesn't mean freedom from consequences, it means freedom from specific government-related consequences. If I decide not to hire you because of your (constitutionally-protected) views and expressions of them, I haven't violated your right to free speech. If your neighborhood shuns you and you don't get invited to the block party, you aren't a victim of censorship.

Tell that to their employers

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freedom of speech does mean that you can say what you think, even if others disagree, without being worried about being harmed for doing so. It does mean freedom from consequences.

Really? Tell that to an employer that they must employ a noxious Nazi who got his mug all over national news screaming "BLOOD AND SOIL! JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US!" Tell that employer that they must continue to employ this noxious Nazi.

The whole point of free speech is that those who don't agree with the majority are still able to make their voices heard. Something the left doesn't allow.

In each of those sentences (or rather, one sentence and a sentence fragment), you show yourself to be either a fool or a liar. Going for the trifecta?

"Paddy Wagon"

That's hate speech to me. It's a pet peeve of mine but it is a slur against the Irish.

Would you please mind using Police Wagon in the future please? Thank you.


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Honestly never even stopped to consider the origin of the term. I'll refrain in the future, thanks

Something doesn't compute

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" I can say with 100% certainty that if the counterprotesters had gotten close to the protesters, violence would have ensued. "

Yet these were the counter-protesters carrying signs that said "Love Wins", "Overcome Hate With Love" and, as seen on another thread right on this site, "No More Hurting People". Something doesn't compute. And, while we're at it, what's with all the vulgar signs and crude slogans the counter-protesters were brandishing? I'm no prude and have been known to use some salty language myself, and I am strongly anti-neo-nazi and anti fascist, but I am hard pressed to align myself with this bunch of classless counter-protesters.

So the counter-protestors

So the counter-protestors were carrying signs that said "Love Wins" or "Overcome Hate With Love" or "No More Hurting People" AND the counter-protestors were brandishing "vulgar signs and crude slogans." Neat trick how they can do both at the same time! (Maybe the signs had opposing messages on each side and the message you saw depended on where you stood?) And if a handful of counter-protestors got rough or violent, that somehow impugns the integrity and peaceful behavior of over 20,000 other counter-protestors. What a bunch of hypocrites they must be! Whether you're left or right, at least make some effort at intellectual honesty.

Weakest Link

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"And if a handful of counter-protestors got rough or violent, that somehow impugns the integrity and peaceful behavior of over 20,000 other counter-protestors. "

A movement is only as strong as it's weakest link.

Well then we could also say

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Well then we could also say that about the free speech group too. Maybe some aren't racist but actually believe in free speech yet they are being clumped and called Nazi's. Works both ways.

We're all individuals.

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We're all individuals.

If one counter-protester shows up with a "No More Hurting People" sign, that doesn't physically prevent another counter-protester from hitting someone.

And there can be more than two opinions in a disagreement.

paddy wagon? Seriously

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paddy wagon? Seriously

"where they came out in paddy wagons"

You're not as "woke" as you think. LOL!

Oh, that's ok...

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It's a racist term that is associated with white people, so the left has approved its use.

Was wondering about that

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Surprised to see no press near the bandstand and more surprised we didn't hear about "the cone of silence" pre-event.

The big media is not exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to things like this.

The media

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seemed to be ginning for violence, based on the headlines I was seeing on various media outlets as the protests were starting up. At one point, I saw an AP headline claiming that "Rallies in Boston Became Violent," even though the only incident they had to support that claim was one person out of 20,000 being shoved, at that point in the rally.

I support the freedom of the press, but in this singular and specific case, the mainstream press was salivating with glee at the idea of another riot to garner more pageviews. The police were right in identifying them as likely to inflame this particular situation.

Perhaps some media outlets should set aside some time for self-reflection on the role of professionalism: if you've gotten the reputation for being the guys who show up to a fire with a gas can, you should evaluate if you've done anything to deserve that reputation.

The dumbest moment in the

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The dumbest moment in the coverage I saw was someone from Channel 4 talking to the woman with the pet pig that was in the Globe last Thursday advocating for the ban on farmyard-level pets to be lifted- If anyone still read the paper/ did research- they likely wouldn't have let her on as her answer to are you here for the protest was pretty much "Nah- I'm down here every weekend"

Excellent question. Sounds

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Excellent question. Sounds like at least a pool reporter could've been let close enough.

That freedom of speech and of assembly are important enough to give this group the protection to assemble and speak, but to stifle any chance most of the population had to hear it or read it and make up their minds about it is disturbing.

It's barely been 24 hours and I've read all sorts of summaries, interpretations, emphases, slants, selective descriptions, and outright distortions of what happened. It does damage when a simple account of what was/wasn't said is not available to us.

Grandstanding Gaffin

So basically Dan Kennedy (whoever he is) is implying police gave the conservative group (aka Nazis as you have been slandering) preferred treatment. And you posting this clearly shows that you agree. So now you are trying to stir the pot some more. Adam, you are not a journalist. You are an activist....


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Then he'd be totally within his rights to ban both your accounts and let the grown ups talk in the comment section without you yokels Gilligan-ing it up in here.

Yeah, sure...

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It's his blog, so he can do what he wants. But I do find it interesting that you want to silence those you disagreee with. I thought you lefties were all about free speech? What am I saying...? Of course you're not.

ummm, no.

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ummm, no.

He's pointing out that there's a real and compelling question as to whether protecting the permit group's right to speech (and assembly) in such a manner that it effectively meant that nobody could hear that free speech unfiltered and make up their minds for themselves about it is actually a disservice to all of us.

Preferred treatment?

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They weren't able to be heard. The press was not able to note what was said. In the end, they would have been better served meeting on someone's farm and not telling anyone else.

Marty was on TV this morning.

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Marty was on TV this morning. He said the protestors were given every right to bring the proper audio equipment to be heard, it was written in their permit. They chose not to bring it, not being heard is on them.

Well, yeah

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But if the BPD were giving the "free speech" crowd preferential treatment, they would have provided a proper PA system. They didn't, because they were not given preferential treatment.


Since when is the police department responsible for providing any event with a sound system?

Someone's missing something

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Read what Republican said. He thinks that the group got preferential treatment. I disagree. After sighing, here's a summary of what I said. Rather than getting treated well, their "rally" was unheard by anyone. Someone noted that they should have brought a bigger sound system, to which I replied that if the group was getting preferential treatment, a decent PA system would have been provided to them.

But yes yes, it is not the responsibility of the Boston Police Department to provide audio equipment to people at political protests.

At the same time

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If the cordon had been put up 20 feet from the podium rather then 300, you can be sure the news broadcasts wouldn't have been able to hear it either. I saw vuvuzuelas, bullhorns, and an entire brass marching band out in the crowd. There was no way the Nazis were going to get their message out to the assembled masses; BPD just did what they could to minimize the chance of violence.

I was curious who Dan Kennedy

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I was curious who Dan Kennedy is as well---so I clicked the link provided in the UHub post to find out. For the curious this information was there: (The following is Dan Kennedy's description of himself) "I am an associate professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, specializing in digital media and alternative business models for news. I contribute media and political commentaries to WGBHNews.org and The Huffington Post and articles about media topics to the Nieman Journalism Lab. From 2007-2011 I wrote a weekly online column for The Guardian and was a finalist for a Syracuse University Mirror Award in media commentary in both 2008 and 2009."
I don't see where Dan Kennedy or UHub implied the police gave the conservative group preferred treatment. The question Dan raised was if the police went too far because by keeping the press separated from the rally-holders if that meant the voice/speech of the speakers was prevented from reaching the press. In effect reducing their ability to share their message.
Also doesn't seem like Dan or Adam take sides on this--just present the ideas for consideration and discussion.

I agree. I follow Dan

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I agree. I follow Dan Kennedy because I find his points interesting. I don't always agree with his viewpoints, but he is fair. Especially when it comes to the First Amendment and the media.


I clicked your user name to see if you had a website, a blog, or if you had made blog entries here that Adam had not seen fit to promote to the main page.

Given that you are not using your opportunities to spread your message, I wonder why the hell you keep posting the same post over and over about ADAM IS BIASED WHAHHHHH.

No substance or argument, no information or data or well considered opinion pieces demonstrating any real flaws in anything - just shitposts every single time.

I've been thinking about that

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I've been thinking about that since I first read the Kennedy piece. That - and the "protest pens" back at the time of the Democratic National Convention in Boston that were "somewhat" separated from the Convention site.

This was far more restrictive than the DNC pen, though

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The "free speech" pen under the Central Artery wasn't really enforced - people could and did wander the streets across from the Garden. This, though, was basically a tiny island surrounded by a giant moat of grass and by security fences and lots of cops.

What's the checks&balances on letter&spirit of the law here?

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I appreciate that immense work and expense was put into safety for this event, and that it succeeded with no significant physical harm being done.

I think it's safe to say that some tragedies that were very likely this time (beatings, stabbings, shootings) were averted, and the very real possibility of something like a copycat car attack also didn't happen.

It's good to know we can handle situations like this.

But there's a general question: what non-safety people are in a position to say to the safety planning people, "Sorry, I hate to have to say this, but that one safety thing can't be done that way, because of this American law/principles reason..."?

Is it the job of the AG's or DA's office, to be monitoring and advising how demonstrators are to be accommodated?

Is it the job of in-house counsel of the City?

Is it all on the ACLU, news media, and random citizens?

Or do we have to wait for lawsuits from those with standing, after the fact?

Really good questions

I believe that there was consultation with the groups themselves when creating the permits, which might involve lawyers.

Beyond that? I don't know ... and we probably should know given that this resulted in the second massive turnout of people in the streets in about seven months.

Evans really did blow the

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Evans really did blow the high ground when he made the comment "if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing ’cause their message isn’t what we want to hear."

Corralling the rally for public safety: perfectly OK. Corralling it to suppress their message: very far from OK. His statement definitely raised some eyebrows at the ACLU. Perhaps not to the point they would take any action.

I think this will get some

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I think this will get some part of Trump's base that is perturbed by his lack of focus on "jobs, jobs, jobs!" to vote for him again in 2020. I believe Trump is reading them correctly and expects he will be rewarded with their continued support. At least, they will continue their support if he keeps doing things along this line of reasoning and supporting nativism or racism or hate speech or whatever you wish to call it. I'm not disputing that those are morally reprehensible positions that we as a society should have moved beyond but they exist in segments of the population and those segments do vote.

Look at the partisan divide over approval on Trump's response to the events at Charlotteville and who is to blame. Note that the polls were conducted in part before and after his follow-up comments on Tuesday that both sides were to blame but note that the general trend remains that a significant portion of Republicans approve and agree with his message.


The bottom line is that a large enough part of this country sees the events here in Boston as a bunch of liberal, better-educated-than-you-superior-acting, coastal elites with moral outrage shouting down people who on some level speak to them that their lot in life is not their fault and "others" can be blamed for it.

Is that true? It's disputable but that won't change how they feel, nor how they vote. You won't change people's minds or votes by calling them racists and Nazis when they feel they aren't. Immigrants bad, Jews bad, gay people bad, etc. You pick the message that was being propagated in Charlotteville. The message from the coasts has been that Trump voters are "bad" and now they're all a morally reprehensible lot equivalent to Nazis, white supremacists, etc. as well. That makes Trump's re-election in 2020 more likely because it'll be a continued thumb in the eyes of the people on the coasts who look down on Trump and them.

Bannon is right if the message in the next 3 years as part of the resistance to Trump is entirely based on cultural and moral equality while some part of the Trump mechanism drums up jobs propaganda, the mid-term and 2020 elections will shift the country even farther to the right.

Excellent Point Dan

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The constitution is not a spigot you cannot turn it on or off because you don't like the message.

The media had no interest in hearing the Free Speech crowd

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Long before Saturday, the Free Speech organizers denounced white supremacy, Nazis and other hate groups while saying their meeting would begin with a moment of silence for Heather Heyer. Despite that, the media labeled them racists and Nazis all week, fomenting the anger. So why would the media risk hearing what they actually had to say at the bandstand? If the speeches weren't racist or Nazi, it would ruin the story. Better for the media to complain about access the day after!

Likewise, news videos of the elderly woman with the U.S. flag being attacked and dragged through the Common, the Jewish man with the Israeli flag being profanely threatened and intimidated and the Boston Police Captain being pelted in the face with a bottle of urine have been mostly suppressed. Who knows what other video exists of the 33 arrests? We will never see it as there is nothing to see here.

My understanding is that the

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My understanding is that the media was prohibited from hearing the ralliers. They could not get to the bandstand.

If it was his Confederate flag ...

That's also free speech. Not sure if you are old enough to remember the court rulings, but this was settled decades ago.

Snatching a flag from someone and burning it is not covered by that ruling, but BYO is.

Mr...I told you before...

...never give legal advice. You're not real good at it. You're just plain wrong.

Try to follow along here.
1. It is illegal to light fires in the confines of the City of Boston without a permit issued by the Boston Fire Department.
2. The person pictured lit an object on fire. If he didn't have a burn permit then...
3. He broke the law. He committed a crime.

Lighting fires is not free speech. Lighting fires is arson. It doesn't matter wether you own the object in question.

I say throw him into a padd-prisoner transport vehicle.


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It is illegal to light fires in the confines of the City of Boston without a permit issued by the Boston Fire Department.

Someone ought to tell that to every single smoker, and every single person who owns a grill.

Lighting fires is arson

No it's not.

I'm right

Too bad old thread is old, because no one will see this rather important point.

It's all in the Boston Fire Prevention Code, Article XV 'Fires in the Open' section 15.01.
As far as outside fires go, you know those patio fire stove thingies sold in Home Depot? The wood burning ones? Illegal. Charcoal on a wood porch or deck attached to a house? Illegal. Charcoal or propane above the first level? Illegal.

Say you have a guy that hates Nazis so much that he really has to light a Nazi flag on fire. He won't get a permit, of course. Say he commits the deliberate and pre-meditated act of setting fire to that piece of cloth. Now, say instead of everyone having a gay old time the wind picks up and, unbeknownst to the Nazi hater, a small chunk of the burning object winds up in a mulch pile or against some old dry clapboards. Doesn't matter if it's his cloth, he found it or it's stolen. It's his act that caused the fire. If there's fatalities, things can go south in a hurry for the righteous soul.
How much trouble is he in? A lot.


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Read the SCOTUS decision - easy enough to find. Final word on the subject. Period.

Fires illegal? HAHHAHAHA. Everyone with a portable grill ...

Once again

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You pick and choose without reading the whole thing.

Also? Supreme court ruling "trumps" that.

Who cares?

I live in the United States of America. Not the Confederate States of America.

Who knows what other video

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Who knows what other video exists of the 33 arrests? We will never see it as there is nothing to see here.

The arrests around the intersection of Boylston/Tremont during & immediately after the departure of the permit group were live-broadcast and live-streamed by WHDH. They had ground camera and high angle. Many other photographers were visible in those shots.

I don't know how many of the arrests happened there, but images/record of those clearly do exist.

Always Question Nazis

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Who kept the media so far back? Have we seen the Nazis' permit for the bandstand? They were prepared with fake photos & videos that advanced their lies about the speakers & their signs. In fact a candidate for Senate/Nazi right here in Massachusetts posted a video from "inside" the gazebo that looked real, but was obviously fake to anyone who lives in Boston. The Nazis are more readily able to spread their lies because no one was able to tell the other side of the story. I know from my own experience and my friends' photos that the Nazis are lying about who they are, what they spoke about, and what signs they held. But more sources backing that up would be welcomed.

-Signed, someone who has personal reason to always, always, always resist Nazis

The exciting part

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...was that the organizers of the counterdemonstration pulled it together in just a few days.

Some people think that the counterdemonstration was about "shouting down" the so-called free speech advocates. It was not. As much as anything, it was about showing that you can't promote bigotry without a lot of people showing up in person to challenge you. Showing up matters, and in a nation run by the forces of bigotry that seeks to undermine all civilized institutions, it is ultimately the most important way to fight back.