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May 05, 2005

Ajai Raj on his Arrest

By Byron LaMasters

After an email exchange with Ajai Raj I received an official statement regarding his arrest. You can read it in the extended entry. Regarding the post on Urban Grounds, Raj writes:

"The quote they use from that Party Campus article is a fiction. I embellished those stories to make them more interesting- I am not nor have I ever been a drug dealer, but it's more fun to read that way, I think. (I had Party Campus remove just in case something like this happened, but too late I suppose)"

Raj has written an open letter which I have posted in the extended entry.

AJAI RAJ

04/05/05

Open Letter to Anyone Who Gives a Shit About Justice

I’m writing this in response to the spectacle that occurred in the LBJ Library on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005, when Ann Coulter, a diabolical, ignorant, but nevertheless charismatic right-wing pundit, came to speak at UT. Ms. Coulter- yes, Ms, I’d personally think such a vocal female conservative would be making Bubba a meatloaf instead of addressing a politically-minded collegiate audience, but whatever- is the author of relentlessly mendacious anti-liberal books, such as Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right and Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. She’s famous for having an ass that stores so many lies it makes clown-car designers envious. Like her or not (and if you do, I’m surprised you can read) she’s a Big Fucking Deal.

The title of the front-page story covering Ms. Coulter’s in the Texan was “Arrest Made at Coulter Speech”. You could also have caught it on CBS or in the Austin-American Statesman. The general idea is that some jackass made a scene, and Ann Coulter was also there.

I am Ajai Raj, and I am a jackass.

In his article, which I enjoyed and commend him for, Mr. Sampath quoted the former president of the Student Events Center, the organization which arranged the event. He wrote:

"The person had been disruptive the entire event," said Matt Hardigree, former Student Events Center president. "He took the opportunity to say something lewd and offensive and then made masturbatory gestures as he exited."

And what do I have to say in rebuttal? Not a goddamn thing.

Matt Hardigree got it spot-on! From the beginning I was yelling obscenities along with my friends, roaring at Ms. Coulter’s right-wing bullshit festival the way no one else had the balls to. Mr. Sampath writes in his article that (and this is my take) the protestors were told to be good all along. They were told to sit in the back and hold their signs and leave quietly. No wonder hippies get such a bad rap nowadays; protestors today might as well be ornaments on the Rightmobile. When I want someone to know I’m pissed off, I’m going to throw down and give them a good shit-ruining. I wanted to show Ms. Coulter that people are down if she wants to hold a circle-jerk, but we’re not gonna do it her way. Not me, at least.

So yes, the Q&A session came around, and it was pathetic. Her slack-jawed fans got up and licked her face so she could pat them on the head- one schmuck offered to be her bodyguard, and she smiled, doubtlessly making a mental note that she wouldn’t touch his nether regions if she were King Midas; liberal protestors posed well-intentioned but woefully timid questions and got shot down in a hail of ignorant shitfire from the She-Dragon. Standing in line awaiting my turn, I watched her send a moderate Republican, who had questioned the sheer incendiary magnitude of her rhetoric, walk away in tears when she tore him apart for daring to question her.

So yes, I saw my “opportunity to say something lewd and offensive.” And I took it.

She had just said something about gay marriage, the typical rightwing bullshit spiel that is still convincing people that the Bible is really the Constitution. Knowing that taking the time to say something insightful, specific, or even slightly critical would get me a lame comeback and a ticket back to my seat, I realized that the only way to win this battle was to fight fire with fire. Or bullshit with bullshit. So, as reported in yesterday’s Texan, I fired:

"You say that you believe in the sanctity of marriage," said Ajai Raj, an English sophomore. "How do you feel about marriages where the man does nothing but fuck his wife up the ass?"

And the crowd fell silent. Ms. Coulter stood stunned atop her stage, unprepared for a jackass to say something so utterly crude and to the point. Her pompous and mean air is enough to stump questioners into timidity, I wasn’t about to let her stop me. The audience members looked at me with raw disbelief; later, even friends who know me well admitted that they’d been surprised at how vulgar I’d been. The others in line for Q&A, mostly liberals, looked at me like I’d set their cause back forty years.

Did I give a shit? No. If I had a message, it’s that the whole thing was a joke- hell, our whole political scene today is a fucking joke. Everyone’s out to either pat themselves on the back for being right or whine about how they’re being wronged without ever lifting a finger to fight for it.

So rather than dignify anyone else, I “made masturbatory gestures” as I exited. Again, bingo! I danced a jig and set my hand a-jerkin’ at crotch-level, sneering for the crowd and letting them know I was ready to roll. I yelled to my friends that we were gonna split and made for the door.

Two cops approached me. I figured they were going to tell me I had to leave, so I said “You can’t fire me, because I quit!”

“You’re under arrest.”

It was my turn to be shocked. I tried to ask them what for; saying “fuck her in the ass”” at a college isn’t a crime, last time I checked. They apparently mistook my inquiries for aggression, and grabbed me roughly and slammed me into the door. Within seconds the backmost two or three rows was surging forward, following the scene as the cops dragged me out the door. They yelled and chanted; my friends were more outraged than I’d ever seen any of them before. As they pushed me into the car, I heard my good friend Jeffrey Stockwell scream, “THIS ISN’T A JUSTICE SYSTEM! YOU CALL THIS PROTECTING AND SERVING?!” The crowd took up a chant at the UTPD officers: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

Shame is fucking right. When I asked the cops why they thought I needed cuffing, they told me that they didn’t even see anything that happened, they were just doing as told.

As a good friend pointed out to me, it’s a scary thought that people who are given weapons and the authority to forcibly detain people can act without knowledge of a situation.

I’m writing this at 7:15 A.M. Wednesday, having recouped over a few cigarettes and some coffee after being released from jail around 3 A.M. I had a party waiting for me- twenty or so friends and supporters, who showered me with gifts such as a card, sodas, cigarettes, food, and a Blondie CD (go figure). Several civil rights-interested associations approached me, offering pro bono legal representation and showing their support.

I have no regrets. Was I jackass? Yes. Oh Christ, yes. But here’s the question people ought to ask themselves. Did I deserve to be arrested? Did the cops need to rough me up for saying bad words at what was at least masquerading as an open dialogue? Do the people of Texas- hell, of America- feel that “potty mouth” belongs on the list of punishable crimes along with “aggravated assault” and “armed robbery”?

As stated in the Texan article, I am charged with Disorderly Conduct, which is a Class C Misdemeanor. Other Class C Misdemeanors include DWIs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and speeding tickets. Without getting into the justification for all of those, were my naughty words and crude hand motions as imposing a danger?

This isn’t about politics anymore, however it might have come about. Either you think it’s an absurd outrage or you think swearing is a crime. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are Republicans, for Christ’s sake. Raise your hand if you watch South Park.

This is about drawing a line in the sand. It made me proud to see people standing up and calling bullshit when bullshit needed to be called. All politics aside, people ought to ask themselves, how far should our representatives of “justice” be allowed to go? Do the American people believe in censorship rights for the rich and famous?

I know I didn’t slay the insidious evil that is Ann Coulter, but I did give her pause. She can easily go to another college or hoedown or whatever and spew her tired rhetoric without worrying about me. But I’m not the only one who feels this way. Other people will call her on her shit.

And hey, Ann, don’t come back to UT. We’re better than your bullshit here. And I can think of at least one jackass here who can dish it out better than you.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at May 5, 2005 01:56 PM | TrackBack


Comments

What part of the arrest story is Raj claiming to be an embellishment?

The part where he agreed to be a narc? Or the part that he was even arrested for possesion? Was he arrested for anything? Because if he wasn't even arrested, then it goes beyond embellishment and becomes straight fiction.

If indeed Raj was never arrested for possesion, then I'll immediatley retract any mention or implication of the arrest and subsequent plea agreement.

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 02:57 PM

Never mind. A quick Public Information Act request to the Travis Country Sheriff's office provided all the information I was looking for.

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 06:07 PM

What did they say?

Posted by: James Burnham at May 5, 2005 07:57 PM

How's that again?

Posted by: Tom Coleman at May 5, 2005 08:32 PM

Am I the only one that thinks Robbie is going a tad overboard on his anti-Raj schtick? Or is it simply a matter of him finding a subject that increases his website's traffic, so he's sticking with it to the point of ridiculousness?

Posted by: Yikes. at May 5, 2005 09:17 PM

The Travis Country Public Information Officer, Roger Wade, called me this afternoon to give me the details of my Puplic Information Acts request.

Young Raj did not embellish the details of his arrest over spring break.

I'm stopping by the County Clerk's office tomorrow afternoon for the physical report, and I hope to hear back from the DAs office tomorrow as well.

Once I have all the pieces of this interesting story put together I'll post the complete details on my blog (with a tack back to BOR, obviously, as it's an important source of information on this story).

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 09:17 PM

Robbie, I think you and maybe five others nationwide actually consider snooping into this kid's life part of an "interesting story."

But keep directing people to your site! Maybe you'll break 1k hits in one day! Then life would really rule!

Posted by: Yikes. at May 5, 2005 09:47 PM

If this kid didn't want people 'snooping' into his 'private' life, then he should quit breaking public laws.

Remember, it was Ajai who said that he was prepared for a fight...bullshit for bullshit, I think is how little Ajai put it. And now that the heat's on, I'm not about to back down and give the kid a pass on his history of asinine behavior.

And I’m just getting started with this kid. Did you see the look of absolute glee on his face as he was goose-stepping up the aisle after his remarks (he definitely didn’t dance a jig, as he states…it was a clear goose-step. Were you even there?)? Well, that’s the joy I’m getting out of watching this kid squirm as he realizes that he might be in over his head this time.

So, I know you'd like for me to back off your little friend...just like the Left wanted bloggers to back off of Eason Jordan and Dan Rather. But it ain't going to happen.

In case it's not clear to you Yikes, I'm motivated by much more than a spike in blog traffic.

Posted by: Robbie at May 5, 2005 10:07 PM

Sounds fine to me Robbie. When we originally posted the first story here, which was mostly just the Texan's article, quite a few on the web ended up writing about it (with Wonkette linked). Since other's are interested in the story we'll keep writing about it as well I assume.

I actually saw Raj today in front of Jester when we was being escorted back to campus by the police around 1 pm. His dusty green rollar suitcase was really not all that fashionable though...

Posted by: Karl-T at May 5, 2005 10:20 PM

Robbie, don't confuse my stance on your actions with any personal involvement with Raj. I've never met the guy. I just think your investigation and high level of revved-up-edness is dumb.

But that's obviously just my opinion. If you see fit to spend your personal time and gas money tracking down the pot arrest records of a loud-mouthed sophomore, go right on ahead. You show him who's boss!

Posted by: Yikes. at May 5, 2005 10:39 PM

Seems that "Robbie" has entered the crowded, frenzied right wing contest for the "Doug Neidermeyer Memorial Suck-Up-To-The-Authorities Award" at THE University.

Posted by: Tom Coleman at May 6, 2005 12:11 PM

YES !

Posted by: Jordan Kramer at May 6, 2005 06:54 PM

Oh how I wish people wouldn't lend Ann Coulter political legitimacy by taking her spew as actual commentary. Most of the problems that people have with Ann Coulter come when they elevate her status to pundit; she's not a pundit, she's an incendiary warmonger whose comments only serve to piss as many people off as possible.

Posted by: Kevin L. at May 7, 2005 12:32 PM

I contacted Ajai by email too, and I posted a lengthy interview about the Coulter incident here

Posted by: Jason Buckley at May 9, 2005 09:33 AM
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