Debate vs. Heckling
Further to your November 15, 2011 article, “Police arrest pensioner, heckler at PPP meeting”, I would wish to express my views to the public who would have argued that the individual was just expressing his sentiments.
Forget who the speaker was for the moment. Constant heckling from persons in the crowd could not be an “expression” but rather an attempt to silence the speech of another. Such behavior is simply rude, impolite and uncivil.
I prefer measures other than heckling. These would include the right to challenge and debate the speaker. The event would have to be organized in a way that this can happen. People should keep in mind that “booing” and other forms of heckling do not prove that the speaker is wrong.
Debate and rebuttal is the way to go. Heckling is not just disruption of a speaker; it’s disruption of rights of those who showed up to hear the speaker. It’s amazing that anyone can confuse disrupting free speech with freedom of speech. If hecklers can prevent an audience from hearing speech, they’ll next claim the right to jam media transmissions that they don’t want others to hear.