Thursday, November 6, 2008

Westchester Guardian/In Our Opinion/Our Readers Respond.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In Our Opinion...

Freedom Of Speech Is Never A Part-Time Right

We were reminded, last week, by an editorial in the New York Times entitled, “Curbing Speech At Quinnipiac,” that Freedom of Speech can never be a part-time right. Quinnipiac University, of course, wellknown nationally for its political and social polling activities, would seem, to most observers, to be a place least likely to want to stifle free speech, and more specifically, Freedom of The Press.

Yet, as the Times reported, the school, about an hour’s drive east of Westchester, in Hamden, Connecticut, despite its dependence, not only upon
the First Amendment, but also upon the public’s good will and continued willingness to share sentiments, from time to time, regarding any number
of often-sensitive political and social issues, nevertheless, went to “unusual lengths this semester to try to curb the activities of student journalists.”

Apparently, the students who are running an online newspaper called Quad News, recently begun in response to the University’s “attempts to control the official student newspaper,” had so worried the school’s administration that it resorted to oppressive, dictatorial measures. For openers, the University set down a ‘gag order’ banning administrators, coaches and athletes from communicating with student reporters. Having failed to achieve their objective, they next threatened to ban from the campus the Society Of Professional Journalists, a media-promotional organization with chapters on some 200 college campuses across the country.

What could be more ludicrous and counter-productive than a university, a place where freedom of speech and expression, the marketplace of ideas
and intellectual progeny are supposed to be spawned and nurtured, going about stifling and discouraging that very process? Yet, how different,
though most would agree outrageous, were the actions of the administration of Quinnipiac’s microcosmic ‘democratic subdivision’ from those
which we encounter daily in the outer, so-called democracy in which We live?

The actions of Quinnipiac’s administration remind us only too poignantly, on the municipal level, of the City of Yonkers’ Amicone Administration, who, unhappy over The Guardian’s coverage of Yonkers Police Brutality, and the Department’s and Mayor’s failure to deal with and prevent it, went out and confiscated 56 of our distribution boxes, destroying several and hiding the rest.

We are reminded, as well, on the County level, of a District Attorney, Janet DiFiore, who, dissatisfied with The Guardian’s accurate exposure and
criticism of her Office’s extreme prosecutorial misconduct, decided not to remedy the injustices, but, rather, to slander and defame the newspaper’s
publisher and editor-in-chief, and to call upon ‘colleagues’ in state and federal law enforcement and prosecution to do the same.

We would remind our oppressors that Freedom of Speech is never a parttime right. And, democracy by force and coercion is no democracy at all.

Our Readers Respond....

Reader Responds To The Release From Prison, After 11 Years, Of Richard DiGuglielmo

Dear Editor:

I have enclosed a copy of a Letter To The Editor which was published in June 2006. Though it is brief, it summarizes my personal feelings which you have expressed so admirably about the referenced individual.

An individual who is in public office, an egomaniac, who wants to thrive and survive on the victims of a vast public relations endeavor was responsible for this miscarriage of justice. It is really sad that decent people, following their honest pursuits, are rarely heard about.

This letter is meant to congratulate you on your prolific depiction about what has transpired for far too long.

Steven B. Acunto

Editor’s Note: The following is from the reader’s Letter To The Editor to another publication more than two years ago:

“To The Editor:

It is infamous to think that a police officer with an outstanding record has sat in jail for almost ten years for killing a person who was obviously breaking the law by assaulting an old man with a baseball bat and by brazenly leaving his vehicle in a private parking lot, over and over again, though forewarned a number of times.

I would ask readers what would you do if you were not a police officer, if someone hit your mother or father with a baseball bat, and they sustained injuries from which they could have died? It is a case when public relations prevailed over justice. I leave it to, the readers, to answer. This was simply a case of a son protecting his father from assault, and, perhaps, if he were not a police officer, the punishment meted out would be much less severe.

Steven B. Acunto, Mount Vernon”

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