Re: AMY MARIANI’s COLUMN Nov. 8
Ms. Mariani is right. Street preachers at USF do push the limits. I think these preachers – although I don’t personally view them as such – and their words have been incredibly insidious and disgusting.
Moreover, I think one would agree that the alleged actions of Mr. Kranert on Oct. 12 could be characterized at best as harassment and at worst as assault. However, while I think that her column had good intentions, the conclusion of her argument – that what Kranert says to people who pass by is insidious speech and thus is unconstitutional -seems to me to be at best laughable and at worst incredibly disturbing.
Her column, as I read it, seemed to talk about only half of the problem with these street preachers. She completely missed the problem brought by the constant crowds that seek to argue with and antagonize these preachers. What she missed was the utter lack of self-control that some fellow students seem to have with these preachers. Now, while I don’t believe in what these preachers preach, I also don’t believe in the tactics and responses that some students employ when talking, arguing, or even yelling at them. Although I can only speak for myself, I am disgusted not only by these preachers but also by students who seem to want to antagonize and provoke them. They do this by approaching them to reveal personal details about themselves such as their sexual orientation in order to get the clichéd response of “You’re going to hell!” or even physically attacking a preacher.
Yet what really frustrates me is when students who seem to believe in tolerance and acceptance of differing viewpoints go out of their way in order to prove some twisted point. These preachers claim to have the definitive moral truth about the world, and unfortunately, so do some fellow students who want only to egg them on. It is rather amusing – albeit in a depressing way – to see and hear these polar opposites, the street preachers and the crowd of unsupportive students, act in the same derogatory, undignified and simply disrespectful manner.
One would expect and hope that college students, the leaders of tomorrow, would behave better. Yet for some in this case, I regretfully write that that is just a hope.
Bruce James is a senior majoring in Political Science.