Let’s just say that this isn’t going to make Burger King’s rainbow Whopper highlight reel in terms of public relations. A woman wearing her work uniform threatened, attacked, and berated pro-life demonstrators who didn’t appear to be anywhere near a BK outlet in Columbus, Ohio. She started off by loudly insisting that a baby at the 12-week gestational mark has no distinguishing features whatsoever — yelling incoherently about “clump of cells” at one point to the bemused but disciplined young man — and then started kicking signs and shoving protesters, all on camera (warning: language NSFW):
It’s not difficult to catalog the number of potential legal issues that Victoria Duran creates for herself here, or for that matter credibility issues. It’s amusing in one respect to see someone so passionately engaged in exposing her ignorance of human biology while attempting to lecture someone else about it, as well as her ignorance on basic American civics. I’m sure that a few die-hard supporters of Planned Parenthood would applaud the “no uterus, no right to talk about it!” Duran declaration, but as the police must have informed her at the end of this spree, that’s far from the case here in the US.
Duran’s charmless ignorance extends to the law, too, as this update from the local ABC/Fox affiliate demonstrates:
“The first amendment protects them from government interference it doesn’t protect them from people basically telling them they’re idiots.”
“But you assaulted them.”
“Assault? I wouldn’t necessarily say shoving them aside and telling them to keep the camera out of my face as assault.”
“You think it’s okay to push people?”
“I believe that I had the right to tell them the did not have my consent to film me,” said Duran.
Created Equal says Duran is charged with assault and criminal damaging.
Duran wouldn’t talk about her legal troubles but said she has no regrets.
If you wouldn’t say that “shoving them aside” is assault, well, you’re going to need a lawyer who understands that this isn’t just assault but also battery. Assault is making a threat of violence, and battery is carrying it out. Duran had the right to tell the demonstrators that they’re idiots — that is a First Amendment right — but Created Equal has the right to free speech on public property. They also have the right to film in the public square, especially for a newsworthy event such as assault and battery. Assault on the demonstrators and destruction of their property is not protected speech, but crimes just as it would be in any other context. And admitting to the charges on the TV news makes it pretty clear exactly who the idiot is in this case.
Two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts’ protective buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the free speech rights of protesters, four other buffer zones around the country have already disappeared or been challenged in court.
The City Council of Portland, Maine, repealed its 39-foot buffer zone around a women’s health clinic this week, and the cities of Burlington, Vermont, and Madison, Wisconsin, have stopped enforcing their buffer zones. In Burlington, people had been legally prohibited from protesting within 35 feet of the clinic, and Madison had a “floating” buffer zone that prohibited protesters from coming within eight feet of a patient entering or exiting an abortion clinic.
Maybe the buffer has been around the wrong people all along.