Community Columns

September 21, 2013

BEGGS: It All Depends on What the Meaning of “Free” Is

Modesto is once again in the national news, only this time it isn’t for topping the auto theft list. It’s for a YouTube video showing Modesto Junior College student Rob Van Tuinen being prevented from giving away free copies of the Constitution on Sept. 17. The irony of stopping him on the very holiday which celebrates the enumeration of our freedoms, including freedom of speech, apparently escaped both the security officer who intercepted Van Tuinen about 10 minutes into his freebie giveaway and administrator Christine Serrano, who took refuge in a binder of rules, clinging to her mantra of “... time, place and manner ...” Van Tuinen is the president of a new chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, an organization that claims on its website to be “the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses.” (Disclaimer: Van Tuinen is a student in one of my husband’s classes at MJC, but my husband did not know of a plan to distribute materials.)

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