Free Speech and Harassment

CN hate speech, bat to the head

His mouth needs more tape.

Dean Saxton got hit upside the head with a baseball this week, and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow. He’s a self styled preacher, which is to say no more a real one than I am. He’s not ordained and hasn’t attended seminary. He’s just a douche who likes to shout out his bigotry.

Beginning in 2013 when he was a junior at University Arizona, Saxton started holding up a sign reading “You deserve rape” while yelling abuse at female students. The University decided that he was not violating the student code of conduct and was exercising his first amendment right to free speech.

When he was no longer a student, shielded by permissive administrators, Saxton turned his hate speech to Muslims. He and some white supremacist buddies took to regularly standing out front of a Tempe, Arizona mosque, ripping pages from a copy of the Qur’an and shouting racial obscenities. Police told the mosque members this was right.

This year Saxton revived his “deserve” sign, and started standing across the street from Apollo High School, hurling his sexist abuses at schoolchildren through a megaphone. Parents and students complained, but police again refused to remove him. On the day he was struck, Saxton was laughing at a parent who wanted him to stop. That’s when he got a bat to the head.

Tabitha Brubaker attended Apollo High last year and lives in the area. She struck him hard, once. He’s alive. Police arrested Brubaker for felony assault and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. You can contribute to the $10,000 cost of her bail here:

As I’ve seen this story shared on social media, I’ve seen some people -all men – say that it was wrong of Brubaker to hit Saxton with a bat. Inevitably these men cite free speech, or rather what they think free speech means. They assume Saxton has the right to verbally harass and threaten schoolgirls, minors. They probably think catcalling is in the Constitution too.

Saxton was protected by this thinking, for years. His university and the police have coddled his imaginary right to hate speech for years. Despite the incalculable harm he has done to university students, to Muslims trying to enter their house of worship, to minor children just trying to survive high school, Saxton has always been put first.

His fake right to say hateful, bigoted, violent, threatening things to disrespected and unprotected populations has been elevated over their real rights. Like the freedom to practice religion peacefully on private property, or the right to an education regardless of sex. Actual rights enshrined in the Constitution have been sacrificed to keep an angry white man mollified.

Freedom of speech only means the freedom to say (certain) negative things against the government. Sedition is not covered. “Fire!” in a crowded theater isn’t covered. Hate speech is not covered. The freedom of speech is not a defense of Saxton because he didn’t have the right to tell university or high school students they deserve rape. He didn’t have the right to intimidate Muslims at their house of worship.

Dean Saxton got a bat to the head, after years of committing regular targeted acts of violence against women, girls, and Muslims. “You deserve rape” is not a statement: it’s a threat. Prowling in front of a mosque entrance with armed white supremacists is not a conversation. It’s intimidation. It’s terrorism. Saxton has been terrorizing people for years.

One fought back, for her rights and the rights of others. Where police and other authority figures refused to act, she did. I don’t wanna hear that violence is never the answer. This was defense of self and others. This was justified.

One thought on “Free Speech and Harassment

  1. I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier or maybe it did, just not as bad. I wonder if the blow made Saxton think twice about his behavior or whether he set out to be a martyr right from the start. If Saxton did have a martyr complex then that suggests he was saying things in the hope that somebody WOULD hit him. Then he could flaunt his wounds to show how much he suffers for his work. That is if he is still in the mood to flaunt with the pain of his injury. If somebody wants so badly to be hit and appear as the victim, there are a lot of people they could provoke into hitting them. Then that person risks being penalized for assault. Who is the bigger victim in that?


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