In a laughable incident caught on video and then massively overdramatized, a truther was cited for illegally distributing commercial materials in downtown San Antonio by a group of bicycle cops whose silly outfits added to the ridiculousness of a scene which plays rather like the segment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where an irate and feces-spattered peasant begins ranting insanely that King Arthur is oppressing him when he just asks him for directions.
In the video members of the truther fringe group We Are Change of San Antonio are stopped by bicycle police while distributing copies of two Alex Jones conspiracy videos and one is given a ticket for illegally distributing commercial solicitations in a public place without a permit. Their defense is to claim that they were being oppressed and even “assaulted” by the police and denied their free speech rights because the DVDs they were giving out are protected political speech.
I’m looking forward to seeing this argument tested in court, as Alex Jones videos are clearly works of fiction, rather than meaningful political statements. Because they exist solely to enrich Alex Jones they are also obviously commercial samples rather than protected speech. Now, I admit that I don’t think that San Antonio should have the right to restrict commercial speech or ticket someone for giving out free samples of a commercial product, even if it’s promoting Jones’ particular snake-oil medicine show. However, under the statute as written there’s a very solid argument that these deluded fanatics were just shilling for a commercial enterprise and not really exercising free speech as defined under the statute.
What’s particularly clear from the video is that it’s time for these nutjobs to find a more productive way to spend their time.