Olneck takes issue with the way Linda Chavez — the CEO founder — characterized the incident that took place at the CEO press conference announcing the reports. (We talked about the Chavez op-ed here, yesterday.)
Ms. Chavez takes at face value, and further publicizes, the Doubletree's manager's description of what occurred at the hotel. The press release issued by the Doubletree described the large group of student protesters as a "mob" that "became increasingly physically violent when forcing themselves into the meeting room where the press conference had already ended." And, it alleged that "staff were then rushed by a mob of protesters, throwing employees to the ground."Pushed through them?! So, you're saying you know they did not fall to the ground or simply that you did not see anything more than that they were "pushed through"? And that's not violent because... why? You can go into a private business place, decide you get to go where you want to go, and push through the employees that try to guard a door and that's not violent? And it's not a "mob" because... why? You described a mob!
I attended the press conference, and was in the main lobby of the hotel afterward. There was no "mob" that was "physically violent." There was an organized group of protesters whose loud chanting forced an end to the press conference, and which attempted to enter the conference room after the doors were open. Two hotel employees attempted to physically prevent the group from entering the room, and the group pushed through them.
Members of the group attempted to confront Mr. Clegg, and made his exit difficult.Deliberately depriving someone of his ability to leave a place is a crime. You don't think it's physically violent? Go to that link: It's a felony in Wisconsin. Thanks for the description of what you saw, but your account reinforces the press report that Chavez relied on. You may deny the characterizations "mob" and "physically violent," but you, an eyewitness, describe the details, stating facts that would lead me to characterize it as a physically violent mob.
Some followed him as he headed toward what I presume was the elevator bank. While this experience was clearly unfamiliar and unnerving to Doubletree staff, for the manager and Ms. Chavez to depict what occurred as the actions of a "mob" is an egregious slur on the students. While the protest may well have broken decorum, its well-motivated participants do not deserve to be characterized as a "mob."Incredible! Or perhaps not so incredible here in Madison, Wisconsin where people seem to have acquired the idea that the usual rules don't apply if you're propelled by righteous anger against a demonized a political opponent. You're "well-motivated" so what would otherwise be crimes become mere breaches of "decorum."
Is this the Madison mind-set? Is this what passes for liberalism around here? It seems to me that a true liberal would never say that what is a crime (or a tort) depends on one's political orientation. Picture a press conference by a beloved advocate of civil rights stormed by a group of racist skinheads, Professor Olneck. Make all the actions exactly the same, but change the political viewpoints. Would you then use the words "mob" and "physically violent"?